This year Salsa is sending the Dirty 13.5 to participate in 2016's Dirty Kanza 200. Laura and Scott Haraldson are Dirty Nos. 3 and 4.
Salsa Cycles: What is your goal at this year’s DK200?
Laura Haraldson: Just to finish! It’s my first gravel race ever, and my first tandem experience. I just hope to not DNF.
Scott Haraldson: My goal for the DK200 is to finish and have my marriage still intact.
SC: What is your biggest fear going into the event?
LH: Endurance has always been my strong suit, but I've never actually competed in an organized bike race, and for the first time, it's not just me in the saddle. I'm worried about how my ego and my energy will affect my tandem partner, whether that's positively or negatively, and how the day will feel different for either of us at any given time. I'm also afraid of the "bonk" I've heard so much about when it comes to these sorts of races. I have little to no experience keeping myself well-fueled on-bike, and I know I tend toward under-nourishment during past running events I've participated in. I'll be fighting my brain the whole way.
SH: That my wife leaves me by the side of the road and finishes solo by herself on the tandem.
Laura, who first rode a tandem as captain at RideCamp 2015, will have to overcome her own ego as stoker during this year's DK 200 ...
SC: What have you done to prepare and how are you combating that fear?
LH: We've been riding the tandem for a month now, whenever we can (which still isn't as much as we'd like). Separately, we downloaded the official DK training schedule on the race website, and we're getting hours in, but not always the intensity levels. I've also started casually "interviewing" the folks I know who've done this race before, specifically as it pertains to food and fuel and support systems. The race prep excites me, which is a natural combatant to fear. I'm motivated by the challenge.
SH: The majority of my mileage is coming from my commuting miles to work, which is 30 miles each way. With three kids at home we've been working our baby sitter connections to get out on rides.
SC: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Dirty Kanza event?
LH: I'm really stoked to try out a new thing, and one that's really challenging, too. Probably even more than that, though: I'm also looking forward to sharing a race event with my husband (you can't get much closer than on a tandem). Throughout my running career, Scott's been my biggest champion, and he is the reason I'm on a bike at all being that he was the one who introduced me to mountain biking 13 years ago. Today, I'm enormously humbled and grateful to have him (and bikes) in my life.
SH: A finish line beer, ice cold, please.
Read more from the Dirty 13.5:
Dirty One: Brian "Beardo" Hanson
Dirty Two: Tim Ek
Dirty Five: Matt Acker
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Running and mountain biking with her dogs in the great outdoors—rain or shine, winter or summer—are two of the things you’ll find me doing when I’m not gathering inspiration from my daughters, Ella, Cora and Lili. I have a recent fascination with wellness topics that include circuit training, TRX, HIIT and any other fitness acronym of the day—a simmering-beneath-the-surface competitive edge means I’m willing to try any form of exercise once. Helping my husband Scott’s wedding and lifestyle photography biz offers a bit of creative balance to my everyday routine.