2017 Salsa Dirty Bunch

ASHLEY HANSON

Why are you riding the Dirty Kanza 200?

I am riding the DK 200 to see if I can do it. I want to think through the things that I have not had the time to process fully. I want to think through things that don’t have answers. I want to find myself, and I want to get to know and embrace the stubbornness and the grit that is there for me to draw on. I want to embrace all the things that can only happen when pushed in this way. And most of all, I love road trips. So, there’s that.

What are you most looking forward to at Dirty Kanza this year?

I am looking forward to seeing the greater cycling crew I run into a few times year. I want to hear peoples’ stories, catch up, and meet new people too.

If there is one thing you worry about at DK, what is it? How do you combat it?

I am worried about being too slow! To combat it, I’ve put miles in. I will watch my pace. I will account for moving time and not moving time. If I stay on track, I can finish this thing.

Share some words of encouragement to those other riders that will be taking on the event.

To those that are riding this race:  What are you, crazy?? :)  I bet you’ve heard a lot of that by now. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. Be proud of yourself. Only few can do what you are doing. You’re above the game. Just remember – ride your ride.  Be nice to people. You will be rewarded.

BRIAN HANSON

Why are you riding the Dirty Kanza 200?

I’m riding the DK this year for a couple of reasons. Number one, to get a monkey off my back. I quit last year, and I’ve thought about it every day since. Number two, I’m riding because I love this race. It’s beautiful, scary, awe-inspiring, and really, really hard.

What are you most looking forward to at Dirty Kanza this year?

Seeing friends, the buzz on Commercial Street the morning of the race, and executing a better plan. I’m also looking forward to the ranch roads out in the Flint Hills. The views, technical nature of the roads, and the surreal environment of the Flint Hills are all things I’ve been missing for a while now.

If there is one thing you worry about at DK, what is it? How do you combat it?

I’m still scared of the heat. I have not done well with it historically. Last year, I went out way too fast, burned up a bunch of matches in the first 100 miles, and then imploded in the afternoon when, by Minnesota standards, it got hot. I was too optimistic about my fitness, water consumption, and pace. I paid the price for that mistake with a sad ride in a Jeep back to Emporia and one year of “woulda, shoulda, coulda” ringing in my head. This year I’m going to be more disciplined in the first 100 miles, specifically the first 50, and I’ll bring more water. I’m not going to get caught up in the excitement of the first 50 miles and ride with rocket boosters on full throttle like I did last year.

Share some words of encouragement to those other riders that will be taking on the event.

It’s ok to be nervous or scared at the start. There’s lot of us out there who will feel that way, myself included. It’s a big, long race, but if you have a plan and take a few moments to look around at the beauty of the Flint Hills, it can be a wonderful, rewarding day on the bike.

MATT ACKER

Why are you riding the DK 200?

I've ridden the DK200 the past two years and have found the event to be more than just a bicycle race. The people of Emporia really embrace the event, and the vibe is very welcoming. The Flint Hills are a very unique region, and riding through them on a bike is an excellent way to take in the scenery. I look forward to not only the ride, but the camaraderie with my fellow riders and making new friends along the way.

What are you most looking forward to at DK this year?

I'm most excited for my wife to experience this amazing event for the first time. I recall my experience the first year I raced the DK 200 and it was truly memorable. I hope that she will enjoy it as much as I did the first time, and continue to each year!

If there is one you worry about at DK, what is it? How do you combat it?

I think the thing I worry about the most is not being able to finish the event due to mechanical or physical reasons. To combat this, I spend a lot of time preparing my setup, testing it at other events and on long training rides, and making sure I'm as prepared as possible. I know quite a few people who have been thwarted by broken derailleur hangers, chains, tires, etc.… so I try to make sure I have all my bases covered.

Share some words of encouragement to those other riders that will be taking on the event.

My biggest piece of advice to share from experience is to ride your own race and trust your training and setup. If you've prepared properly and tested out your gear just ride the event as you've been training and know that you won't always be stoked along the way but those feelings come and go. Don't get hung up pushing yourself harder just to stay with folks, because odds are they won't keep that pace either. A lot happens in 200 miles so pace yourself. It's much better to finish strong and feel decent coming into the home stretch than limping in the last 50 miles. Have fun with it! It's an experience of a lifetime!

LUKE GENTRY

Why are you riding the Dirty Kanza 200?

The DK200 has been a fixture on my bucket list since first I heard about it. I am always seeking out new difficult things to overcome and always challenging myself. It has always existed on the bucket list as something I hope to “complete”. Well, it has slowly evolved into something more. Now that I am enrolled and will definitely be on the start line, I feel the need to “compete”. This could look many different ways- beating the sunset, finishing top-20, heck, maybe even just completing the race. This has added a whole new level of nerves and excitement. I’m super excited (and a little scared) to get this adventure underway!

What are you most looking forward to at Dirty Kanza this year?

Sharing the experience with the great people and friends with whom I will be surrounded. Surviving the crucible together and learning something about ourselves along the way.

If there is one thing you worry about re: DK, what is it? How do you combat it?

The pressure of performance, no doubt. If I set an expectation or goal for myself (ie: beat the sun, top-20, etc) it adds the pressure of having to perform and meet (or crush) the expectations. 

Share some words of encouragement to those other riders that will be taking on the event.

To those that will be next to me on the start line, I say: let’s enjoy this adventure together. We will see so much beauty that we wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to see. Remember though, not to be surprised when the race is difficult. There may be a time during the 200mi of adventuring, that you feel like you’ve reached the limit. You may feel like it’s all over. Whether it’s wind, calories, or mechanical problems, there will be trouble. Though it seems like the end, eat something, drink something, and take it one pedal stroke at a time – not forgetting to enjoy the view. *And if you see me laying on the side of the road taking a dirt nap and feeling like it’s all over, peel my goofy ass out of the mud and remind me to enjoy the ride. =)

ANDREA COHEN

Why are you riding the Dirty Kanza 200?

Every year is a new year. 2017 will be my 5th time tackling the Flint Hills. Dirty Kanza is a chance for me to prove that things are moving forward, no matter how hard I think life is. Dirty Kanza is part of my life, and I am proud of that. Every Dirty Kanza I have started has ended with a finish, and 2017 will be no different. This ride reminds me that I am tough. I have the guts to start a 200-mile race and smash it. Granted, this race still scares the shit out of me, but it should. Why else would I do Dirty Kanza if I didn't think it was a challenge? This will be my biggest of 2017. Let's see how far I can push past my limits. 

What are you most looking forward to at Dirty Kanza this year?

This year I want to see how much I can make Dirty Kanza hurt. The good kind of pain. In 2016, there was lots of bad; lots of anxiety and fear. While a healthy amount of fear is necessary, it can keep me from doing my best. This year I will use that fear and give myself the opportunity to ride hard and outside of my comfort zone.  Even if I end up not finishing this year, I want to be able to put myself in a place where I must make decisions that will be the right ones. New obstacles always show up at Dirty Kanza, and I am excited to learn more about myself each step of the way. 

If there is one thing you worry about at DK, what is it? How do you combat it?

My biggest worry at Dirty Kanza is a mechanical and not being able to fix it. Since I started working at a bike shop four years ago, I have learned an incredible amount about bicycles, and I am very proud of that, but I know there is always more to learn. There is a constant battle between my bike and me. The patience I need to learn how to fix it vs. the time I have to commit. The balance is never perfect. Luckily, I am surrounded by very patient friends who are willing to give their time to teach me. Mechanical issues are a mental hurdle for me. Being able to feel confident that I could fix any issue that could arise gives me the extra boost I need. 

Share some words of encouragement to those other riders that will be taking on the event.

You signed up for Dirty Kanza for you. Don't worry about anything else or anyone else but yourself. If it is your inclination to stop and help every person who needs help then do that. If you don't want to talk to a single person for 200 miles, then do that. Show up as pure and honest as you can. You are the only person who can finish the ride for yourself. The organizers of Dirty Kanza are presenting you the opportunity to push yourself past what you might know about yourself. Go there. Explore your brain, your physical limits. Figure out what really hurts, what really makes you happy. Embrace that. Soak up all the pain and fear, us it as fuel to get past that wall. At some point when you decided to sign up for 200 miles or however many miles, you knew that crossing that finish line was the goal. Prove to yourself what you already believe, that you will be a Dirty Kanza finisher. 

LUKE STRAUSS

Why are you riding the Dirty Kanza 200?

After attending the event for the past three years and working for either Salsa or Teravail, and watching the start and many of the finishers, I am excited to experience the race from the inside. I designed the Teravail Cannonball specifically for DK-like gravel, and did all the gravel-model development testing on a Warbird - it’s time to walk the talk.

What are you most looking forward to at Dirty Kanza this year?

Racing! In the last three years, I’ve spent a combined total of about 40 hours in the booth and at the start line. Two years ago, during a brief break, I had the opportunity to ride out and back on the first 10 miles of the course, but have never seen the rest of it.

If there is one thing you worry about at DK, what is it? How do you combat it?

Missing a turn while exhausted and getting lost. I’ll be training navigation and working on it from now until June!

Share some words of encouragement to those other riders that will be taking on the event.

At the breakfast table, the chicken participates in the meal, but the pig is committed. Commitment means that you don’t quit if it’s in your power not to. It means always going one more mile, or even just one more pedal stroke. It means starting the race expecting to finish. Yes, endurance races are about preparation, and no, you will not be as prepared as you want to be, but chances are you’ve done enough. Ride committed, and good luck out there.

TRACEY PETERVARY

Why are you riding the Dirty Kanza 100?

I am riding the DK 100 to be a part of a super fun event that is like no other; to meet people, see friends, challenge myself and enjoy the day riding my Salsa Warbird through the remote and rugged Flint Hills of Kansas.

What are you most looking forward to at Dirty Kanza this year?

The thing I am most looking forward to is the experience & pickle juice! The entire weekend is filled with great people including the race host and team, riders, spectators, and the volunteers. Downtown Emporia turns into a big party that lasts until the wee hours of the morning with food, drinks, and people cheering non-stop for finishers. It is a welcoming and exciting atmosphere that is just great to be a part of. It is truly like no other event I have done before.

If there is one thing you worry about re: DK, what is it? How do you combat it?

One thing I worry about going into DK is not finishing due to a mechanical or physical break down. To combat this, I carefully prepare my repair kit to ensure I have everything I need to get through a mechanical issue. Anything can happen out there. Physically, I take care of myself beforehand with rest, nutrition, hydration, and I try to remain calm.

Share some words of encouragement to those other riders that will be taking on the event.

It ain’t over til it’s over! Never give up, you can do more than you think you can! Just keep after it, pedal, pedal, pedal and enjoy!

JAY PETERVARY

Why are you riding DK?

While I do love bike racing and testing myself to see what I am capable of, I actually ride DK to be a part of the community, see my friends, make new ones, and enjoy the feelings that come along with being surrounded by so much good energy throughout the weekend.

What are you most looking forward to at DK this year?

Spending the day on my bike rolling along in the tall grass prairie lands of Kansas while competing against the course, myself, and others is something I feel lucky to be able to do. With that said, I am looking forward to the ride itself and the memories it will produce. And since it is currently still snowing here in Victor, I am hopeful we’ll get a nice sunny day.

If there is one thing you worry about at DK, what is it? How do you combat it?

A lot of "worries" are typically things out of my control i.e. flats, weather, mechanicals, etc. So, I put my energy into the things I can control - being prepared physically, mentally, and having my bike/kit dialed. The physical is what it is, but I have put in my time. The mental part, my favorite, has me envisioning myself being strong, smooth, digging deep, smiling, staying positive, combating the lows, and riding down main street through the finisher arch. On the weekend before, I will make sure my bike is in perfect working condition with fresh tires and that all the essentials I am carrying are packed on the bike in a way that works for me. Throughout the lead-up week or two, I will treat every ride as if I was leaving the start line of DK. Lastly, I will layout a nutrition plan and write down a series of notes for my support crew. 

Share some words of encouragement to those other riders that will be taking on the event.

You can always do more than you think you can. Remember that the highs outweigh the lows, and the DK finish line is one of the best tasting feelings you will ever have. Just keep moving forward, take only the time you need in the checkpoints, and always stay positive.

JUSTIN MICHELS

 Why are you riding the Dirty Kanza 200?

I have been asking myself that very same question, and for me, it boils down to simply jumping into the unknown. When you roll up to that start line in downtown Emporia, and glance at the straight road ahead, it’s like peering through a looking glass at the 200-mile course that is about to push you beyond your limit. The experiences are what keep me pushing.  

What are you most looking forward to at Dirty Kanza this year?

With a field limit of 1,500, I can’t wait to see some faces that I haven’t seen for far too long. Nothing better than catching or getting caught by a friend and getting to catch up for a few minutes when you’re lost in the Flint Hills.   

If there is one thing you worry about re: DK, what is it? How do you combat it?

I’d be lying if I didn’t say completion is first and foremost. Success is only limited by expectations, so I’m keeping mine low. In other words, I’m a bit behind on my training.

Share some words of encouragement to those other riders that will be taking on the event.

Don’t psych yourself out! Last year the Dirty Kanza was my first gravel race ever, and going into it my longest ride ever was a 110-mile road ride in a group. I was in way over my head! I told myself I wasn’t going to let my competitive spirit dictate the way I rode. I held a pace that I knew would work for me. If I were passed by someone going one mile per hour faster than me, I would let them go, and if I passed a rider going one mph slower, I wouldn’t slow down. Remember, race your race, not someone else’s, eat when you’re not hungry, and bring that extra bottle, it could save your life!  

STEVE YORE

Why are you riding the Dirty Kanza 200?

After 3 successful finishes in 2013, 2014, and 2015, I missed last year’s DK because of a family commitment. I missed the nervous start, the frenzied rest stops, the solitude of the roads deep in the race, the green rolling hills, the mud, the wind, and the emotional finish. (ok, actually I didn’t miss the mud or the wind). I really can’t wait to get back to Emporia, DK is like no other race that I have ever done.

What are you most looking forward to at Dirty Kanza this year?

Janine will be joining me in Emporia for this years DK.She has heard me talk about his race for 4 years, about the energy at the finish line in Emporia, about the beauty of the flint hills. I can’t wait for her to see it. It will also be good to have another set of hands at the finish line to help carry me to the car.

If there is one thing you worry about re: DK, what is it? How do you combat it?

I have done the best I can to lessen the chance that I have issues with the tangible things, like mechanical issues, nutrition, hydration, and lack of training.  I do worry about mentally cracking. A good attitude can get you through the hardest parts of this race, a bad attitude and negative thoughts can stop you cold.

Share some words of encouragement to those other riders that will be taking on the event.

Keep moving forward. The wind will blow hard in your face, the hills will seem endless, the mud will cake up on your tires and shoes, your legs will cramp, you may get a flat, you may get multiple flats…just keep moving forward.

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FLINT HILLS: A Song For Joel

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This post filed under topics: Andrea Cohen Dirty Kanza 200 Gravel Kid Matt Acker Sponsored Riders Tracey Petervary Ultra Racing Vaya Warbird

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Riemer

I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.

COMMENTS (2)

toko bunga bandung | June 1st, 2017

You’re all awesome people, really interesting journey. A good attitude can get you through the hardest parts of this race.

szkoła jazdy | June 2nd, 2017

Awesome event and good article.

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