What is Dirty Kanza 200?
Dirty Kanza 200 is a solo, self-supported, non-stop, 200-mile-long bicycling endurance challenge on the gravel and dirt roads of the Flint Hills region in east-central Kansas.
Is this a mountain bike race?
DK200 is a gravel road endurance cycling challenge. Good bike choices include: Gravel-specific bike (ie. Salsa Warbird), Cross Bike, 29’er Hardtail w/ Suspension Fork, 29’er Hardtail w/ Rigid Fork, Fatbike. While you could certainly ride a full-suspension mountain bike, and many have, we wouldn’t recommend it. You don’t need the added weight and complexity for this event.
When and where is Dirty Kanza 200 held?
DK200 is held each year in Emporia, KS on the first Saturday following Memorial Day. The event will begin and end in front of the historic Granada Theater, 807 Commercial Street, in downtown Emporia.
There are lots of “Gravel Grinder” cycling events. What makes Dirty Kanza 200 unique?
Quite simply… the Flint Hills. While there are many great gravel grinders out there (and more all the time), DK200 is the only event of its kind held in the Flint Hills. Once home to the great Kanza Nation, the Flint Hills is one of only two remaining tracts of natural tallgrass prairie in the entire world. This region is remote, rugged and unforgiving. The Flint Hills have been called the eastern most part of the Great Far West. It’s the perfect place for an ultra-endurance bicycling challenge.
Who can participate in Dirty Kanza 200?
Any seasoned, well-trained endurance bicyclist. DK200 is NOT an event for the entry-level endurance bicyclist. Assistance from support crews is limited, so participants are basically on their own for 200 miles. Due to the remoteness of the region, riders need to be prepared to travel up to 80 miles between checkpoints. Riders also need to be capable of navigating by map (or cue sheets) and a compass.
What is the course like?
This area is remote. That means very few people… which means very little traffic… which means very little need for road maintenance. Roadbed consistency will vary from crushed and graded limestone, to fist-size gravel, to dirt two-track. Expect very little pavement. Oh… and you will do about 10,000 feet of climbing if you make it to the end.
Will the course be marked?
Course maps and cue sheets will be provided via electronic file prior to the event. Each rider should print his/her own maps and cues before leaving home. In addition, we MIGHT have a limited number of course markings to ensure riders they are still on course. However, riders should use the maps and cues provided as their primary means of navigation. You should also bring a compass.
Can I use a GPS?
Yes. In fact, we will provide riders with a link to a down-loadable file. That way, riders have the option of utilizing their personal gps unit to navigate the course.
Do I need a support crew?
Yes. In fact, don’t come without one. If you get lost, hurt, or just plain worn out and want to quit, we will not come get you. DK200 is a self-supported event. That means YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU. Don’t expect someone you don’t know to save your backside. You need to have a well thought-out emergency backup plan that includes at least one support crew person to come get you, should you need help. If you cannot provide your own support crew you can hire the crew-for-hire services from Never Let Go Fund. They will provide support crew services to you and the proceeds go to support their mission of helping families battling childhood cancer. Learn more at bikereg.com/dirty-kanza.
Will I be allowed to receive any outside assistance during the event?
Riders may receive assistance from their personal support crews at official checkpoints only. Checkpoint locations will be clearly communicated well in advance of the event. Receiving outside support at any point other than official checkpoints will result in immediate disqualification. Riders may assist other riders by any means and at any time. For clarification on this rule please our Rider’s Bible.
Can my support crew follow me along the route?
Support crews are not allowed on course except to pick up a rider who is abandoning the event. Dirty Kanza 200 is all about self-sufficiency in a remote area. Having to dodge cars compromises this experience for our participants. If a support crew is found to be on course (except at official checkpoints), that rider will be immediately disqualified from the event.
I keep hearing stories about all the flat tires. Are these stories true?
Well… they are called the “Flint Hills” for good reason. Although predominantly limestone, these hills have copious amounts of flint. This flint, or “chert” is what the original inhabitants of this region used to make their arrowheads and axes. It has no problem cutting its way through a bicycle tire. Actually, you probably won’t have too much trouble if your tires are in new condition. To be safe, however, carry plenty of tubes, a patch kit and a good pump.
What is the best tire choice for Dirty Kanza 200?
Any tire that will roll fast, and provide adequate puncture / pinch-flat resistance. A 35c cross tire will roll the fastest… but you will pay a huge price in ride quality. We recommend nothing narrower than 38c. The most important tire characteristic… NEW. If you show up with worn-out old tires, you better bring lots of tubes and CO2 cartridges. And your hiking shoes.
Dirty Kanza 200 sounds interesting, but may be a little too big a challenge for me at this point. Is there a less intense / shorter option?
Yes. The DK200 weekend will include multiple rides of various distances. In addition to the 200-mile feature event, we will also offer the 100-mile DK100 Half Pint, as well as the DK50 Lite, and the DK25 Community Fun Ride. The DK50 and DK25 are designed specifically for recreational cyclists. All event distances begin in front of the Granada Theater, 807 Commercial in downtown Emporia, KS. Note… Participation in all DK event distances is by pre-registration only. Registration will be conducted at the same website location as DK200.
How do I sign up and can I do so the day of the event?
Participation in all Dirty Kanza distances is by pre-registration only, and historically we have always filled to capacity well in advance of event weekend. For more information on registration, please visit us at dirtykanza.com.
If I bring my family, will they have anything to do?
Yes. We will have a whole host of “auxiliary” events designed to entertain spouses, kids and friends of our event participants. The list of activities will continue to grow as DK200 weekend nears. So check our website (dirtykanza200.com) frequently for updates.
How can I get on an email list to receive news and updates?
Go to our website at dirtykanza.com. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.
Can I find Dirty Kanza on Facebook?
Yes, we have a Facebook page, and try to make frequent announcements and updates. Please find us on Facebook and “Like” us so you can follow along.