Dirty Kanza 100 Weekend
United States • 01 June, 2019 • by Jacky Lee
Dirty Kanza returned for 2019! Knowing I’ll be in the same continent around June, I signed up to Dirty Kanza 100 as soon as it became available in January 2019.
Wahoo Fitness set up a booth at the event this year, and there would also be a group of colleague riding DK100. So in the weeks leading up to the big day, I shameless invited myself to Megan and Clara’s roadtrip from Atlanta to Kansas. They kindly let me tag along on their itinerary for the weekend.
Here’s my gear setup for DK100.
|Wheelset||Hunt 30 Carbon Aero Disc|
|Tyre||Panaracer GravelKing SK 43 (Tubeless)|
|Bags||Rapha Top Tube Pack, Patagonia Hip Pack|
|Hydration||3 x Water Bottles|
On the 29th May afternoon, I flew from New York to Atlanta. The plan was to stay the night at Megan’s house before we drive to Emporia, Kansas first thing in the morning. I took a timelapse video of packing the bike up for air travel.
If you’re in the market for a bike bag, I highly recommend Post Carry Co. Their bags are lightweight (5.4kg) and fits in a boot of standard cars. I have been using this bag for flying with my bike all over this year and it always arrived intact. The only caveat is you’ll need to take the bike apart, but you’ll get the hang of it after a few practices.
Having a lightweight bag is great, why? Because even with my heavy Surly Straggler setup (10kg altogether) the entire bag is only 16kg. This means I can fit all the extras like kits, tools, water bottles & shoes all in one single bag. As long as it’s less than 23kg, most airlines will treat this as a normal check in luggage without charging me extra.
After a massive flight delay from New York → Atlanta, I arrived at Megan’s place around midnight, where I assembled the bike discreetly in the garage, trying not to wake anyone up in the house.
Next morning at 6am we got ready, strapped down 4 gravel machines on a Honda Fit, and I took a last minute selfie with the Pipe for good luck.
Road trip to Emporia
It took us 15 hours to drive from Atlanta to Kansas, with breaks in between. We went through Nashville, and had lunch at St Louis. We randomly found The Hill, an italian neighbourhood, where Yelp recommended us to have some meatball sub & toasted ravioli at 👌😙
The test ride
The day before the big event, we went out for a short test ride on local roads. It was a good opportunity to test the gears out in course conditions. Everyone had a great time out there. I got to meet a few other Wahooligans for the first time. Working remotely means I rarely get to meet other co-workers in person. It’s great to put a face behind the voices of our monthly company meetings.
For the rest of the day I hung out at our Wahoo booth, drank beer and walked around the expo. I also grabbed some nutrition for the race next day.
DK100 kicked off at 6:30am. All of us made our way to the starting line, feeling stoked to enjoy the epic day of riding ahead.
I joined Matthew & Jose at the front of the pack, and attempted to stick with the front group for as long as I can. The gravel roads were as gnarly as advertised, some with the size of my fists that made a lot of people puncture. Everything went according to plan in the first 40km. My legs felt great and managed to sit comfortably in the middle of the front pack. Then all of a sudden I heard my water bottle cage behind my saddle start to rattle. Before I can do anything about, the cage (with a fullly loaded water bottle) broke off, and I was forced to stop and leave the pack.
Turns out it was a bad idea to run these bottle cage bolts without a rear nut to keep it extra secure. This was a mistake and I paid for it for riding solo for the rest of the race.
Tubeless saved my ass multiple times. there were at least 5 instances where I heard hissing sounds from my rear tyre, and sealant sprayed everywhere on my hip back, but I didn’t have to stop for any punctures the entire ride. The course was really flat, name of the game was really just to keep rolling without any punctures. Each stretch of road were straight & long, with some rolling hills in between.
We had a really fine weather that day, so there weren’t any nasty muddy sections, but it also meant it was scorching hot. Fortunately there was a water stop at 90km in. But having only 3 water bottles, I was out of water with 20km left to go. Just when I thought I’d have to keep riding without any water, an angel appeared on the side of the road and handed me an icy cold gatorade and water enough for the rest of the race.
The last 20km was rough, my back and arms were aching, legs were cramping, and I was only thinking about the cold beer waiting for me at the finish line.
Rolling into the finish line at 6:51, I came 59th/751 and immediately headed to the beer station. Muc-off set up a booth for cleaning everyone’s bikes too, kudos to them.
Huge thanks to Emporia, the organizers and everyone there that made this event a memorable one in the books. If I have another chance to do it next year I am keen to take a crack at DK200 🤞🏼.
Journal by Jacky Lee