Dirty Kanza 200: Through My Lens - The Landscape

While Salsa is a longtime sponsor of the Dirty Kanza 200, this year’s edition marked the first time I was able to get down to Emporia to witness the DK spectacle for myself. In previous year’s it was on my calendar, but something always came up to conspire against my attendance.

Salsa really is proud to be the Bike & Frame sponsor of this event, and if I boil down Salsa’s affinity for the DK it comes down to a few simple, but important, things.

The promoters of the event are not just passionate about their event, but they are passionate about Emporia, the Flint Hills region, riding and racing bikes, but also about challenging people to push themselves to discover that they are capable of accomplishing things they might never have dreamt possible.

This year riders could take on 50, 110, or the mac-daddy 200-mile routes through the surprisingly beautiful, rolling hills of the region. They covered those miles on gravel roads, but the gravel roads in the Flint Hills are no ‘ordinary’ gravel roads, and hearing riders talk at the finish line about their five flats was common. The worst I heard was one rider who suffered seven flats in his 200 miles.

Compared to the past few years, the weather this year was downright beautiful and while it showed in some record breaking performances, make no mistake about it, 50 miles…or 110 miles…or 200 miles don’t happen by accident. The wind doesn’t blow anyone along. It takes a lot of pedaling, a lot of eating and drinking, a lot of mental strength to will yourself to leave a checkpoint for another 50-mile stretch of sun, wind, and effort.

That is powerful medicine that aligns incredibly well with Salsa’s mission statement: To keep the spirit of adventure alive in bicycling.

Our thanks to the Dirty Kanza Promotions team; Jim Cummins, Kristi and Tim Mohn, and LeLan Dains for letting us be a part of this.

Here are some of my photos from this year’s event.


Eventual Men's 200 race winner Brian Jensen off the front at mile 108...

Men's champion Brian Jensen...

Women's DK200 champion Rebecca Rusch celebrates her three-peat...












This post filed under topics: Dirty Kanza 200 Fargo Gravel Kid Ultra Racing Vaya Warbird

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Mike Riemer

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.


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Jim C | June 9th, 2014

This event simply wouldn’t happen without the immense support of our incredible family of sponsors.  Salsa has been with us from the beginning in 2006… believing in us… guiding us… and supporting us.  “Thank You” seems so inadequate.  But we do say Thank You, Salsa, for all you do for Dirty Kanza… and for all you do to keep the adventure alive.

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John Despres | June 9th, 2014


Thank you for your support of this magnificent event. Unless there were more than one of us, I suffered 7 flats with 6 spare tubes and abandoned at mile 93. Bad tire choice - good tires for West Michigan, but not so much for The Flint Hills. In any event, I hope to up my game with better tire choices and to ride a Warbird Ti through the finish chute. My LBS Grand Rapids Bicycle Company is an excellent rep for your bikes. I don’t work there.

In any event, thank you again for supporting the DK 200. Your words rang true as I called my brother to pick me up; once I was back downtown, the disappoint passed (mostly) and I was ready to come back for my grudge match.

John Despres

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John Despres | June 9th, 2014

Uh… 7 flats in 200 miles… Not me. The other guy was better prepared than I was.


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Derek Wilson | June 9th, 2014

Thank you for supporting this event. Without your support, I am not sure that the Dirty Kanza is as great of an event. Also, thank you for making a superior gravel bike - that is me in the last picture, with the plate number 22. I could not have finished the entire 200 miles if I were not seated in the saddle of a gravel warrior - the Warbird. An amazing machine to pedal down the roads of the Flint Hills.

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Jeff Caldwell | June 9th, 2014

Travis Madron had 8 flats and went through 3 tires, finished just before midnight, crazy detication.

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Michael Armour | June 9th, 2014

While I was not fast, I managed to finish at 20:55:41 on my Salsa Fargo Ti.  The Fargo was comfy and flawless!  Thank you for supporting this event.

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John Despres | June 9th, 2014

Aaaaand that Ti Warbird is in the place of honor in the living room now. 51 weeks to DK200 2015.

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velocraig | July 17th, 2014

I am the rider in the 13th photo, sitting under the only tree I had seen in a long while…
When I saw that photo it brought up a flood of emotions as a few minutes after the picture would have been taken, I abandoned the first race in my 26 years of racing.  Thanks for posting it, I think…...............motivation.

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