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...
...TO BE CONTINUED WEDNESDAY WITH DIRTY KANZA 200: THROUGH MY LENS - THE EMOTIONS...
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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.