I’m rolling into the 2010 Dirty Kanza 200 with good overall fitness after having raced quite a few 3 to 6-hour races on my El Mariachi Ti since Trans Iowa last month. But I’ve been fighting off the effects of springtime allergies and a resultant head and chest cold. I’m back on the bike now, but the allergies are making my recovery slower than I’d hoped. I had a great ride this past week and by June 5, I’m confident I’ll be back to full-speed.
I’m changing only the pedals on my Vaya, relative to the bike I used in Trans Iowa, going back to the set of old-school Time ATAC's I used to bag TIv5 and fifth place at the Dirty Kanza in 2008. I’ve been using a set of well-worn Time XS's on there, and for some reason, the left pedal has been bothering my knee, so I’m going with the good ol' standbys. Go with what ‘cha know in the long races.
That’s why I ride the ‘Kanza on real chromoly steel, 9-speeds, cable actuated discs, a comfy WTB saddle and tires that aren’t scary light (and are tubeless). I’ve learned the hard way that getting too aggressive with trying to be too light is dangerous to your self sufficiency, especially in a race like the Dirty Kanza 200. A bike like Salsa's Vaya, or the La Cruz, or even the Fargo…with big, tough tires like the 40c Schwalbe Marathon Extreme, or 38c Marathon Cross, or a 2.1 WTB Vulpine (if you’re on a Fargo), is perfect for the Kansas flint rock that is prevalent all over the course.
You’ll often come across grapefruit-sized flint rocks…in the road…BY THE DOZENS!!! And what’s crazy about it is, you’ll be rolling at them at nearly 40mph… DOWNHILL!!!
Oh, did I mention? They call this a gravel road race. Only in Kansas, my friends…only in Kansas.
That’s why I love the Dirty Kanza 200. -MG
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Growing up the son of a wildlife biologist gave me a jump-start on my appreciation for the outdoors and I still count the day I first pedaled a bicycle as one of the best, most empowering days of my life. And while I enjoy the lure of big challenges like TransIowa and the Colorado Trail Race, I want to help cyclists see that great adventures are waiting right outside their doors. Discovery by bicycle is a beautiful thing. Matt Gersib: The Dirtblog http://dirtstories.blogspot.com/