As we launch into yet another gravel season, I'd like to reflect upon one of the most memorable moments of last year, for me: the finish line of the Dirty Kanza 200 in Emporia, Kansas. It wasn’t because we had a stellar ride or even won (we placed second). It was because we shared a long, hard day. We overcame challenges, persevered and finished together.
The mud was so thick and caked on, at times, JayP was dragging the bike, and the rear wheel wasn’t even rolling.
Our timing chain had fallen off; when we put it back on, we didn’t realize it was out of sync. It wasn’t until another racer had pointed it out that we figured out why when I stood up I was swaying uncontrollably back and forth.
Photo courtesy of Jason Ebberts/TBL Photography ...
Hold on; keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Although a nice way to quickly clean the mud off the Powderkeg, we had no idea how deep this water was or that there would be a blunt edge on the exit. Thankfully the rim and fork held up through the hard hit.
Photo courtesy of Emporia Gazette ...
After we had gone through this water crossing, we got lost. The track had crossed, and we started heading backwards on the course. A few other racers had made the same mistake. Once we zoomed in on our GPS track, we realized our error. I think this was when the other tandem team passed us.
We didn’t let up.
Around 20 miles from the finish, we had a slow leak in the rear tire. We used three CO2s and took one from another racer. It was 5 miles out when JayP had to finally put a tube in. We had anticipated finishing sooner.
The relief of finishing was so overwhelming that I bursted into tears as soon as we crossed the finish line.
I think this picture says it all—photo courtesy of Adventure Monkey ...
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Endurance cyclist Tracey Petervary is a New Jersey native residing in Victor, Idaho. She started adventure racing 18 years ago, enjoying multi-day, multi-sport team events traveling to places such as Fiji, New Zealand and across the United States. Her stable includes several bikes (MTB, road, cyclocross, commuter, fat, tandem), which allow her to ride every day of the year in any condition.