Tour de Lyon County

“Sept 3 I rode the Tour de Lyon County here in Emporia, KS. This was

105 miles of beautiful Kansas roads. This race started off different than any other I

had ridden in the past. I was dropped within a mile from most of the racers.

However, I had a goal in place of finishing in under 8 hours and recording my fastest

century, but there was no way I felt like racing 22+ mph out the gate. So I dropped

back and did my thing.

It then occurred to me that for some this was a relay race. TDLC also has a relay

class where you ride 35+ miles then hand off to someone else. So a lot of these

individuals were probably competing in the relay and they could ride harder, where

I had to save up for the full century.

The first leg was nice and cool, but extremely humid. I’ve found out in the past that

that combination can be problematic. Last time I raced on a cool humid day I ended

up with a baseball sized knot on my thigh. It felt cool, I didn’t drink enough and I

ended up taking a DNF. I wasn’t going to do that again. DNF’s were way to common

for me last year (basically every 100+ mile race) and I was doing all I could to not

have that be the case this year. So far I had finished LandRun, DK 200 & Sunflower

State Games this year, so I was confident I could finish this, I just wanted to make

sure I didn’t cramp up.

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Fluid were flowing and my pace was good. I rolled into the first checkpoint

averaging 15.8 mph. A little higher than I wanted, but I also knew that it was

probably the easiest leg of the day. As I started off the 2 nd leg it started with some

climbing, but that wasn’t much of a problem when I turned north and had the wind

at my back. There was a little south wind, no more then 8-10 mph, but enough to

give me an extra push. Before I knew it I was catching some of the others that were

riding the entire 105 miles. Most of them were suffering with cramps and we were

only 40-50 miles in. Let this be a lesson kids, when it is cool outside don’t forget to

hydrate, especially if it is humid. Some of these folks that were cramping were a lot

stronger riders then I. With the tailwind and my legs feeling good I was averaging

over 16 mph for the race as I hit 60 miles in. I thought for sure I would break 8

hours, the only question was by how much.

However, shortly after that was what became the speed killer for most of us that did

the full course. 10 miles of the Flint Hills Nature Trail. Rain earlier in the week

make the trail a soft, squishy mess. It wasn’t DK dirty or LandRun sloppy, but it was

just soft enough so that you would sink and while sinking the trail just reached up

and sucked all the strength from your legs. My legs which had felt so good up to this

point were just screaming for these 10 miles to be OVER!!! 7 miles into the nature

trail was Checkpoint #2. It was needed. Those 7 miles just about did me in. I

stretched and was helped out by some of our awesome local riders who were

helping SAG that day instead of race. I felt good leaving the checkpoint until I got

back on the nature trail. I HATE THE NATURE TRAIL.

The hate was compounded more when all the relay riders started pulling out of the

checkpoint and then passed me with a smile. Their legs were fresh like a crisp apple

just off the tree while my legs were like that apple that fell off the tree had been

picked over by vermin and was now a feast for maggots. I have had such wrong

feelings about another ride like I had when I saw their happy, pain free faces at mile

#2 of their day while I was in agony at mile 72. Thankfully their legs were fresh and

they left my in the dust so that I couldn’t voice my displeasure.

As I finally hit gravel again I turned south. The headwind didn’t seem to bad. I

pushed through it, but my speed had suffered terribly on the nature trail. I was now

averaging close to 14 mph. The third leg went smooth. I passed a few more

cramping riders who were doing the full course on the way it. I finished at 7 hours

and 31 minutes. Middle of the pack for those riding the full course. As always it was

great getting to the finish and having my family there. Their excitement to see me

finish makes enduring the tough times of a race totally worth it.

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#5 century is done with. 1 more century for the 2016 cup!!”

-Neil T.

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Jim

Cup O'Dirt Admin

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