The Road to Dirty Kanza 200 2020 – Part Six – Training in the Time of COVID-19: by Gravel Newbie, Caroline Worrall

I had planned to get this episode out last weekend (March 14th). I rode the Hell of the NorFla ride (although I skipped out while still in purgatory), so I thought that would be a nice lead-in. However, with the kids and my husband home and the 24-hour news about COVID-19, I just wasn’t motivated to sit down at the computer and write.

dirty kanza 200 training for newbies

Since the first cancellations of events, I have been nervous about Dirty Kanza. It was stressful enough, not getting in, then actually getting in, then scrambling for sleeping arrangements, I really didn’t want to think about the possibility of cancellation. I actually told my husband he was not to bring it up. It’s hard to imagine that the Dirty Pecan was just two weeks prior. COVID-19 seemed serious, but not life-disrupting. Certainly, it was not the topic of conversation and there was no thought that Dirty Pecan would be canceled.

dirty kanza 200 training for newbies
Early start for the 2020 Hell of the NorFla… with JOM of Gravel Cyclist

Within a week, everything changed. Although Hell of the NorFla was not canceled, the disease dominated our conversations on the ride. Sitting at Starbucks afterward felt slightly negligent and we all waved good-bye instead of customary hugs.

dirty kanza 200 training for newbies
Some early pavement during the 2020 Hell of the NorFla

By Monday, we were socially isolating with school being canceled for the foreseeable future for our two teens. All rides were alone or with a couple of people. Every event that I had entered in March and April had been canceled and the Dirty Kanza definitely seemed in jeopardy. On Tuesday, we received an email from DK Productions letting us know that they would make the decision by May 1st. I am still hopeful that the race will happen on May 30th or be postponed to another date when I can make it, but I am realistic.

dirty kanza 200 training for newbies

I am continuing to train for the race as if it will happen. If it does not, I may go to Monticello, Florida on May 30th and riding the Dirty Pecan 200-mile course self-supported. It has less elevation change (6,500’), but lots of challenging terrain, so it would be a good test of my fitness and equipment.

dirty kanza 200 training for newbies
A scene from the 2020 Hell of the NorFla

It has been a few weeks now of dealing with a crazy news cycle with new stories coming about every hour. I’m adjusting to working at home with my family and dog underfoot, and I realized yesterday that the notifications on my phone are no longer causing spikes in my anxiety. After listening to my son, who is a senior in high school, list all the things he will be missing from his senior art show to his prom to his graduation ceremony, I cannot be too disappointed to miss a race that I will get a chance to enter in future years.

dirty kanza 200 training for newbies
A scene from the 2020 Hell of the NorFla

So I will continue to plan for the race, test my equipment, ride my training plan, and write about my experiences. I look forward to hearing from you all what your training is like in the time of COVID-19. I am hoping that riding your bike brings you peace and solace in these crazy times and that you and your friends and family stay safe and healthy.


5 comments on “The Road to Dirty Kanza 200 2020 – Part Six – Training in the Time of COVID-19: by Gravel Newbie, Caroline Worrall

  1. Caroline
    I really enjoy your writing. Graham and I have been training for DK100 and were actually scheduled for the dk camp next week that has been cancelled. I too am continuing to train and we will probably do a dg(gainesville) 100 if DK is cancelled. Anyway prayers for all and keep the posts coming.

    1. Thanks! I’m sorry the camp was canceled. I’m hoping this thing burns out with the weather.

  2. I work @ a big box store(hardware) here in PA. They are trying to keep the customer’s safe while waiting in line but not the workers out on the floor from customer’s Pretty scary times. Not much training at my end as I am trying to get extra sleep to keep my immune system strong.

    1. That’s tough. I think that protecting people who are keeping us going is key. I’ll be thinking of you and hoping you get back to riding soon. Super smart to boost that sleep.

  3. Hi Caroline,

    I’m in the same boat with you. Trying to get ready for my first DK200 and I certainly never dreamed this is how it would be. Just hoping this stuff turns around soon and we actually can have the event.
    Love the Pactimo jersey, especially the Six Gap one. If you come up to Six Gap this year stop by the Pactimo tent and say hi. Best of luck with the rest of your training.

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