“…what I love about the camps is the relationships I’ve developed and watching people grow.” – Anthony Casarona
The first ever Dirty Kanza XL Camp is open! One of the first athletes to sign up was Anthony Casarona, and we are stoked to have Casarona back for another Kansas visit. He’s had a ton of success with Dirty Kanza 200, been to several DK camps and when we saw his name come across the athlete list, we reached out to get his take on his camp experiences and his WHY:
You’ve done several Dirty Kanzas. Why have you decided to take on the DKXL?
As I get closer to 50 than 40, events like the DK200 motivate me to run like hell from comfort zones and seek bigger challenges. How much bigger does it get than 350 miles of Flint Hills gravel? DKXL both terrifies and excites me, what a perfect combination! And, most importantly, I know that my coach, Kristen Legan, will give me everything I need to finish the XL if I do the work (and Nick will make sure my bike is dialed tight)!. Those two are the best!
You’ve also been a camp athlete at our spring camps. What have you learned from those camps?
I’ve learned the obvious things, like strategy, bike set-up, nutritional and on-course mechanical tips from some of the best DK riders. Those tips and being able to ride the course with experienced riders are invaluable and easily worth the entry fee. However, what I love about the camps is the relationships I’ve developed and watching people grow. One that really stands out is John Jury. I met John in 2017 at my first DK camp. We were both pretty new to cycling and both opted for the short ride on Saturday because we didn’t think we could handle 100 miles. Since then, I’ve watched John become an absolute beast. That same guy who doubted he could do 100 miles has beat the sun in 2018 and recently finished the Kansas Cannonball 550. I love watching people break through like that. I also love the extra motivation it gives me to push a little more and find my next challenge. There are so many others, like Steve Bird from Boston, who I convinced to come to his first camp while we were on a bus in Costa Rica after a MTB race in 2017. Steve and I have now pushed each other through two DK200s and will do three events together in 2020, including the XL. I can’t wait to see him at camp. The “gravel tribe” is a very real thing and a big part of the reason I love the camps and the whole DK experience.
Why did you sign up for the DKXL camp?
Because I know you guys are going to put on four days of pure awesomeness, of course! Beyond that, I am looking forward to seeing old friends, making new friends and learning from the people who have done the XL the past couple of years. There is so much about the XL that is strategically different from the 200. I think riding with the people who have done it and the people who are planning to do it will provide so much great information for me to consider as I work on my own training and race plan.