It was mid-December and thoughts of the Dirty Kanza 200 were occupying my thoughts. Sign up was in just a month and I knew that Chamois Butt'r would be hitting me up soon to see if I was going back... for a 7th time. After completing the ride last year I was handed a beautiful 1000 mile Goblet, it was cool getting to stand on stage and be the first woman to get it but... depression lurked in the background. I had no idea that finally getting something I had worked my ass off for would make me so unhappy in the days and months ahead.
Just days after informing my husband that we probably would not be going back to Kansas I get an email from Jim Cummins, Dirty Kanza founder and promoter extraordinaire, inviting me to be a part of the Dirty Dozen Lauf Team for DK'17. Seriously? I read the email twice and then looked up what a Lauf Grit fork was.
I waited a day and shared the email with my husband. He read it and said, "Do you even know what a Lauf Grit fork is"? I said yes and that I looked it up and wasn't sure if it was for me. He said Lael Wilcox uses one, so then I was intrigued. She is an incredible badass and rides very challenging terrain, if she is down maybe I should at least check it out. "You can always use it and sell it later", He added.
After sleeping on it another night I wrote Jim and told him I would be a part of the Dirty Dozen. We were a hand picked team and I was stoked to be on it.
Within a couple of weeks there was a package on my porch. I carefully took the fork from it's bag and checked it out. Judging by how light it is, carbon baby, my first thought was, "Can I break this"?
The mechanics at Big Shark had never seen anything like the Lauf Grit before. Everyone I showed it to laughed, a little nervous laugh. We had no idea what to think of this funky looking fork. I dropped my Warbird with Nathan and asked him to send me a photo when it was done. It was very hard for me to see 'my boy' in pieces. Several hours later I received the photo that assured me everything was going to be okay, my two wheeled fella was back together and ready to roll.
My '16 Warbird has been very good to me. We have completed DK #4 and #5 together and shared many smiles and over 1000's of gravel miles. I do not have a single complaint about this bike, it has performed flawlessly for two years now. I absolutely LOVE it ... why would I go and change something??? I don't normally fix things that are not broke. However, I have this crazy idea that this may be the piece I need in order to Beat the Sun.
Since Lauf came in to my life I have been asked, "What do you think of that fancy fork"? My gut reaction is to laugh and I do, every single time. It's kind of hard for me to put in to words. It's like I have a new bike... it's a different ride. I have ridden down hills, up hills, and through some chunky frozen gravel... all I can say is "teee hee".
Lauf and I have been giggling for the last few weeks. It's like we are in the dating phase and just getting to know each other. So far everything is good. He is laughing at all my jokes and I am stroking his ego. We have been on several 20 to 50 milers enjoying a mixed bag of gravel and varied weather conditions and we are still speaking and showing up for rides. Honestly, I really can't wrap my head around this one. It's going to take some time, probably many, many hours of intense investigation to really see if Lauf and I are meant to stay together.
I am up for the challenge if Lauf is. Longer rides ahead. Stay tuned....