In just one week’s time we’ll be out in Emporia, Kansas, and part of the most prestigious gravel cycling event known to man, the Dirty Kanza. Over the past few months we’ve followed multiple riders as they prepare, and we’ve learned how some of our ambassadors have used PR Lotion to get the most out of their preparation. This time, we’ll cover another piece that’s integral to the success of each rider, and that’s their equipment.
Some of biggest challenges facing the riders in the Flint Hills where Dirty Kanza is held come in the form of baseball-sized flint stone that pepper the roads that make up the course. On top of that, the 200-mile, and a for the first time, a 350-mile route, test the bike as much as the rider when it comes to enduring mud, river crossings, and seemingly endless hours spent in less than ideal conditions. Here’s a look at the bikes some of our ambassadors have specifically setup for a day of Dirty Kanza.
Yuri Hauswald's Scott Addict Gravel
For Yuri, a past winner of DK200, simply riding 200 miles isn’t enough, so he’s taking part in the inaugural DKXL that will cover 350 miles. In addition to the crazy mileage, it’s an unsupported ride so that means a lot of supplies will be carried in the Ortlieb bags. CamelBak also made Yuri a custom 3-liter reservoir to help him stay hydrated through what he hopes is a sub-24 hour experience. A Garmin Edge 1030 with Charge Battery Booster will keep him on track with its navigation features. The final touch is the Lauf Grit fork that offers 30mm of front suspension, which should do wonders for comfort on such a long endurance event.
Janel Holcomb's Focus Mares
After riding to a third place overall female finisher in the 200 last year, Janel is focusing her attention on the 100-mile course this time around. She’ll be back on familiar equipment, riding a similar setup to last year with a Focus Mares along with Mavic’s latest Allroad Pro wheels. The most notable change is with her tires, which will be the new Mavic Allroad XL tires that offer enough tread and sidewall protection to help protect her from a dreaded flat tire. An SRM power meter will also be used to help with pacing and fueling as Janel will be able to track her caloric expenditure throughout the day.
Ryan Steers' Giant TCX
Although this will be Ryan's first time competing at Dirty Kanza, the Giant Team rider is a solid bet to be at the front of the pack. Ryan's carbon Giant is set up with 40c Maxxis Rambler tubeless tires that offer ample flat tire prevention through reinforced sidewalls. Whereas a number of riders will have to resort to external batteries to continue powering their GPS devices that are used for navigation, Ryan's Giant Neostrack computer will last over 30 hours, which gives him one less thing to worry about on the day.
Chris Lyman's Open U.P.P.E.R
One of the most popular bikes that will be found out on course, the Open provides a healthy amount of tire clearance so high-volume, knobby tires can be run to help alleviate some of the pounding the terrain dishes out. The US-made ENVE carbon wheels help keep weight to a minimum, which is appreciated on the unrelenting Flint Hills. Last year Chris finished the 200-mile distance right in the 12-hour range and is targeting an even faster finishing time next week.
Neil Shirley's Lauf True Grit
Not knowing what the day has in store in terms of weather, and potential mud, Neil has taken a safe route with the True Grit that allows ample tire clearance even when running the beefy rubber needed to endure the flint rock. Just like Yuri, Neil is looking toward the comfort advantage with a Lauf Grit fork that uses carbon leaf springs to deliver a smooth ride up front thanks to 30mm of suspension. In case of a mechanical, a spare inner tube and Lezyne multi-tool are stowed under the seat in a JET Roll pack. Since the routes are not marked with course arrows, it’s up to each rider to self-navigate. For this, a Lezyne GPS device with the course route preloaded will provide turn-by-turn directions for all 200 miles.
Check back for the full report on how our riders do and what the day holds for the other 2,000+ participants out there.