Bib 681 Kanza is here.

Bib 681- Links at the bottom!

gravel, green and blue

gravel, green and blue

This week was busy…. starting off with Sunday.  Sunday was my final race before Dirty Kanza this weekend.  It was a 68 mile gravel race with similar conditions to Kansas (long rolling hills and miles and miles of gravel roads through farm fields with some grass tractor roads mixed in).  Although I felt like it would be fun and there were 30 or so VQ’ers doing it I was hesitating because it has been my M.O. to not do much on race week.  That is any race.  My reasoning is that if I haven’t been on my bike for a week then I’ll be itching to go come race day!   Anyway I was so indecisive that I decided to ask my coach for advice, realizing he had already said it would be ok for me to do or not do.  I knew he would have the words of wisdom to help me.  When I received his message I was hesitating to listen because I was actually afraid that he was going to say not to do it.  I guess that should have been an indication. So sure enough he said the right thing and I did it. It turned out to be a great decision.

The race started in DeKalb at 9am.  I had just had my bike tuned up and when I say tuned up I mean I spent $600 on new drive train, rotors and brake pads!  Some people don’t even spend that on a new bike!  Anyway, it should be all set for another couple of years and I will remember to change the chain every 500-600 miles vs letting the old worn chain wear down the teeth on my cassette and chain rings! Such a better idea to spend $40 a couple of times a year vs $600 every year!  So I was anxious to make sure everything was in working order.  As we turned the corner I noticed I was in the small ring as I shifted up the entire chain fell off!  So I had to pull over almost right away to get that set up again.  Not a good start.

The race was led out by a cop car for about 3 miles or so. So it was a nice easy warm up for me vs a balls to the wall start which I hate!

I stuck with some of the VQ crowd for a while who were all on cx bikes and we sort of played cat and mouse for a bit as they went ahead then I went ahead etc.  I think they were trying to stick together.  The roads were great and the scenery and weather was awesome.  Eventually I lost the VQ’ers.  At about mile 20 something really cool happened.  I started drafting off a guy on a fat bike.  It seemed that we also were playing cat and mouse for a while so rather than expending all that energy I decided just to hang with him.  The really cool thing was that without a word we just started drafting off of each other, taking turns pulling.  I drafted off of him and as I saw him struggle I pulled up ahead, then he went and so on and so forth.  It worked really well, just having that few minutes rest between pulls was so beneficial.  Unfortunately after about 10 miles he told me he was going to have to pull off for a bit and we thanked each other for working together.

Then we got to a 5-6 mile section which was more conducive to mountain biking.  It was more like a double track.  Needless to say I zipped ahead as people commented how lucky I was to have my mtn bike. As I turned on to the road I saw Eric. Eric is that crazy biker who just got T1 diabetes 2 years ago in his 50’s.  He had spent his entire life doing what he wanted and when without thinking of his health. He had been having a hard time dealing with the disease and I’ve been helping him whenever I can.  He was sitting on the ground and looked like he was in pain. So I stopped to make sure he was ok.  He wasn’t.  He was having trouble with his saddle and sitting on it.  He had no idea why.  I stayed with him as we decided what to do.   Someone had offered to give him a ride to DeKalb but the person didn’t have room for his bike.  The 41 mile checkpoint was just 6 miles away so we decided that he would try to ride to the checkpoint to get a ride there.  We checked our sugars mine was terrible.  I’d been having a terrible blood sugar day for no apparent reason.  His was ok. We took off and I soft peddled with him as he rode standing up for six miles.  We made it to the checkpoint and made sure that he could get a ride back.  With a lot of energy I took off and motored the rest of the way.  It was funny because this is where a lot of people who hadn’t been eating or drinking properly were bonking.  So I got to pass a lot of folks who had passed me.  One section got pretty rough with huge trough like divets.  They were so deep that I couldn’t turn my pedals.  We also went through a few mud sections and a water hazard and a section where we had to get off our bikes and walk over railroad tracks.. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t legal!  At one muddy section  a couple of guys on cx bikes  stopped abruptly in front of me which caused me to nearly fly headfirst into the bushes.  Luckily I escaped with just a flesh wound.



As I rode along the last few miles on the road I passed a guy that I had been riding with off and on through the course but he had taken off ahead of me.  I yelled out, you’re pretty fast for a mountain bike!! Hell yes!

It was a fantastic day, it was hot and dry and I felt pretty parched.   The only negative was that for no apparent reason my blood sugars were through the roof.  I ate and drink everything just like in previous rides, same insulin levels, everything.  But I could not get under 200, when I got off my bike at the end my body felt numb and I felt a little dizzy.  I tested and saw that I was 396!  The only thing I can think of was that the insulin was bad.  I had used the infusion set the day before and knew that it was working.



After the race we had a beer and some pulled pork courtesy of the race organizers and I hopped in the car to head home then out to a memorial weekend bbq.  It was a long day but glorious!

Monday we had people to our house for a bbq and I had to start packing for the drive to Kansas.  Tuesday and Wednesday I was away for a work conference in Oak Brook after the 90 minute drive on Tuesday I decided to stay the night and treated myself to a short run and a short swim in the outdoor pool.   Also, as luck would have it, Ray from Bodygears360 happened to be working 2 miles down the road on Wednesday so I got up early and had a pre-race dry needling session.

Thursday we packed up the car and took off for Kansas!  I am a notoriously disorganized packer vs Tom who carefully makes a list out. I am just not a list person. But I didn’t forget the honeybadger!!!



The car is full so hopefully that means we have everything.  As we are driving South I’m looking at all the green and the fields and thinking of myself riding through the fields on Saturday and thinking about my mind and getting myself ready to dig deep.  You can prepare mentally as much as you can but nothing is like being in the moment where you have sunk so low that you cannot possibly move an inch further. But I cleaned Rocky and I’m ready to roll!










I’ve been making some notes as I go of some quotes and things to help me through the day.  For more inspiration I packed the picture that Katie  had given me of her and I prior to her passing, I packed a picture of my mom and dad that they had given me for Christmas I also packed my Leadville medal and the special gift that Robbie and Mike had given me after the race.  I’m also going to have my niece and nephew text me or Tom throughout the day so I can get message from them.

My coach sent me this, which sends shivers up and down my spine.

Courage. We all Suffer. Keep Going.

Courage. We all Suffer. Keep Going.



I also saw this one on facebook today:

Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

And of course I always like:

Pain is temporary quitting if forever.

And my road ID quote:

Smile and Enjoy the ride.  I still have Katie as an emergency contact.

Last night I attended a talk with Rebecca Rusch – The Queen of Pain.  She is a 4 time Leadville 100 winner and has won the dirty Kanza 2 times. She said a few things which really resonated. She is such a wonderful woman to talk to.

  • She said she hates to race but she loves the finish line feeling which is so true.   There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishing a goal.
  • She said that we are so luckily because we get to spend the whole day on our bikes! No computer no cell phones no work to stress us out.
  • She also mentioned that we should speak about our goals.  I was happy about that because I do strive to inspire and talk about our goals.


I’m not really afraid of failing because I had the courage to try. I was also able to raise over $2,000 for the American Diabetes Association and wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who donated to the cause.   Tomorrow I will think of you all!!!  Here is the link for those of you who still want to donate for this great cause!

I’ve worked hard for this and when it gets rough out there and I’m in a deep dark place wanting to quit, when my legs don’t want to go any further I will think of Katie who soldiered on through such pain and agony even in the shadow of despair when there was less than a glimmer of hope.  She fought. I will not quit.

Katie Strong. Katie Love.


If you want to track me you can use this link.

If you want to track the race checkout this link.


About Gillian

I am a type 1 diabetic diagnosed at the age of 30. I run marathons, participate in bike races , ironman triathlons and everything in between.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bib 681 Kanza is here.

  1. Pingback: The Dirty | Endurance Diabetic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s