For this race I've chosen to ride my La Cruz disc. This bike is light and nimble, climbs well, and the disc brakes will give me a little extra confidence on the fast gravel descents of the Dirty Kanza 200.
The bike has a pretty standard CX build with a SRAM road group, 46/38T 'cross cranks and an 11-28 cassette.
Special DK upgrades are a Cane Creek Thudbuster ST post and Salsa Woodchipper bar.
The Thudbuster offers just over an inch of travel, which is enough squish to suck up the jolts and vibrations from the gravel roads. After a long day in the saddle my back feels much better when using the Thudbuster.
I use the Woodschipper bar because it offers multiple hand positions like a road bar but the shallow drops help keep my body weight centered on the bike for better handling on technical terrain. I ride my La Cruz a lot on our less technical local singletrack. This bar allows me to brake and shift better in the drops thus giving me more confidence while cornering.
Other special gear choices for the race are a frame pack for my hydration system and a stem bag for my food. Mounting my water to my frame takes the weight off my back, which reduces lower back stress and provides better ventilation. It might be awefully hot in Kansas. Using the stem bag for my nutrition makes it easier for me to snack throughout the race. For me I am always happiest when I am eating!
There you go folks, the cat's out of the bag and all my cards have been played. You have seen all my tricks. Now I have to rely on my solid fitness base from 5 solid months of commuting and 2 big races to get me through this epic journey. Wish me and the rest of the Dirty Six luck. Oh yeah, and don't forget Lucky 7 either. -Ryan
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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.