The Knob Noster Knasty is a route stretching 69 miles from the shop to Knob Noster State Park. We camp out, then push back to the shop the next day. This year we pushed 117 miles over the two days. Riders navigated along the shoulders of 50 Highway, dodging road kill, and moving though momentum stealing rocks. There is little shade so the sun beams down, cooking the road beneath your feet and wheels. Cars and 18-wheelers fly by at 65 miles per hour in stretches.
Most of the four riders that attempted this push are Push Scouts and have been a part of the Indian Creek Trail Push Series that we have been doing on the first Sunday’s of the month. Yes, the distance was greater, but only by a about six miles from the longest push that they have completed. The biggest difference is that we could see the exits. On the Indian Creek Trail the ends and checkpoints are hidden amongst the trees. Relatively smooth trails, and little ups, and downs make it easier to take in the miles. The push is naturally cut up into small bits for your brain and body to process. Even though the push is constant there are breaks, you can pump sections of the trail, diving in and out of the curves and ups and downs make for a relatively pleasant push despite the amount of distance that can be covered. At points along 50 Highway you could see the road heading off into the distance. Sure enough there would be a sign. “5 Miles to Warrensburg” for example. You would look up and see the overpass that was the next checkpoint, five miles up the road.
As we progressed forward we discovered that it wasn’t just a simple jaunt to the overpass. There where hills in between. So you would get to the top of a mile long up hill push after dodging the sometimes invisible momentum killing rocks. At the top of this small peak, you would see that you had maybe another 3 peaks to climb and descend in between the overpass at the top of the 4th hill. No problem right? So we would descend down the current hill, but the rocks would once again warrant a constant push forward to keep your speed. So the rests of a downward slope really didn’t give you much rest. Constant vigilance led to adjustments in course along narrow shoulders, not a very efficient way to move to be for certain.
Take that, mile after mile, and the fatigue would set in. Mentally and physically. Calories and hydration was another lesson that was hard learned. For peak performance staying ahead of your calorie intake and your water intake was huge. If the rider packed hard to process calories you had less energy to use when it was needed, and at that point the crash was just being put off. Like gas sitting in your tank that your car won’t use because it isn’t ready yet, but your still driving, your tank is depleting faster than it is getting filled. You eventually run out.
Not everyone completed both days, but everyone learned something. Even the people who didn’t complete the challenge this year now know what to expect. They can go back to our monthly pushes with renewed vigor and confidence work on technique, develop a calorie plan that works for them, and succeed.
The Push Scouts motto rings true even in failure or setback. “Discovering you can”, isn’t about not failing. It is about learning that we can fail and still get back up. Pushes teach tenacity, mental fortitude, and dealing with set backs or not meeting your goals, then using that information to rationally move to the next challenge and succeed. One does not learn this with one and done, “Oh I completed it there is no challenge.” type of thinking. We have to fail, and if not we push ourselves until we do, then we get back up, pat ourselves on the back for giving it our all, and learn all that we can to keep moving forward.
As in all great endeavors these types of events aren’t possible without support. We had an expert trail support driver and team. Much love to my wife Samantha Burnham, and Katelin Jenkins for making sure we had what we needed, emergency evacuations, trail side pep talks, road updates, dinner organization, and keeping those high fives a rocking. We could not have done it without you guys. Much love to the Shralpers Union and of course Burning Spider Stoke Company for the calories, support, and keeping us in ideas that expand who we are, and challenge who we are to become.
You Stoked Yet?
Here is some more goodness on the Knob Noster Knasty as well.
Here are some screen grabs from the video as well.