Here’s what some past participants have to say about their
DK experience:

“This race specifically is helping lead a movement that is completely changing the face of participatory cycling in America today.”

-Velonews, June 2018

“Done and dusted. I will value this finisher patch very high. In fact i only have three trophies in my house- and the finisher badge of DK 200 will be the fourth. That was hard work and fascinating all the way. Back for more next year.”

-Jens Voigt, Berlin, Germany

Despite an event calendar that over the years has blossomed with many new and unique gravel events, there is only one DK.  The DK is to gravel racing what the Daytona 500 is to car racing.  It’s the big daddy of them all.”
– Road Bike Action Magazine, June 2018

“I expected a great event. What I didn’t expect was an experience unlike any other I’ve had. I didn’t expect to look at these images four days later and get choked up. I didn’t expect to feel so much accomplishment at finishing the 100, nor did I expect to register such an intense need to go back for the 200… there are still things I want to find out, and I’d like to find out if I can finish the full DK 200 before nightfall, or in awful conditions, before midnight. I’m not sure when, but I’ll be back. I need to.”

–Patrick Brady (redkiteprayer.com)

“My advice after finishing my first DK200?  For whatever distance you might be capable of, get yourself to Emporia (KS) for DK next year.  Bring your family and friends. Register.  Why?  Regardless of your training plan, the vacation time you’ll need from work, the equipment and gear you’ll need, and the nerves or anxiety that might build, you will get to Emporia, soak up the experience, ride the roller coaster of awesome that is DK, and leave with a fullness in your heart and soul that will have you counting down the days until the next year.”

-Janel Holcomb, San Diego, CA

“I can’t say enough good things about the DK 200. It is probably one of the hardest races I’ve ever competed in but that’s what makes crossing the finish line so great. The camaraderie and spirit of the race are unbeatable. I get so inspired by the race. Not just by the speed of the first person across the line, but by the people who push themselves way after the sun goes down. “

–Danielle Musto, Grand Rapids, MI

“No one does it better. I know that’s a hefty statement; but at least in my opinion, it’s true. There is no event promotions company that could buy their way in and pull off an event like DK. It has been built from the ground up with community support throughout the entire process, and that’s the atmosphere that makes it so special. It takes over the town of Emporia and the locals don’t just deal with it, they embrace it. Between the farm houses on course making signs to encourage us, to the thousands of locals at the downtown finish cheering us on, the atmosphere is as good as it gets.”

–Neil Shirley, Newhall, CA

“That DK remains the premier gravel event in America is a truth that can’t be contested.  It’s local and international.  It’s challenging and enjoyable.  More than anything, it provides an unforgettable experience that should be on everyone’s cycling bucket list.”

–Zapata Espinoza, Editorial Director – Road Bike Action

“I’ve never experienced a bike ride so brutal, but neither have I ever attended an event with so much support and passion.  I can’t wait to do it again.”

–Michael White, Mission Viejo, CA

“What the Kanza does to you (is) it surprises you.  It’s tougher than you think it’s going to be. It’s prettier than you think it’s going to be. The community is more supportive than you think they’re going to be.  And, ultimately, it’s more rewarding than you thought it was going to be.”
–Dan Hughes, Lawrence, KS  (4-time Overall Champion)

“And there it was. After 215 miles (for me) of relentless walls of wind buffeting you from every angle, after grinding through seas of loose, often sharp stone, after all the ups and downs and trials and tribulations, it was there. As I rolled through the thundering tunnel of the roar of the spectators and across the line, my throat slammed shut and tears fell from my eyes… I’m sure glad I went.”
Selene Yeager, Emmaus, PA

“This was actually one of the best races I’ve ever done. The Flint Hills of Kansas were really pretty and there were so many twists, turns and hills. The character of the gravel was even changing all the time. The whole town of Emporia, Kansas came out for the event and it was a huge party. It’s a great race with a great vibe. I would go back for sure.”
–Rebecca Rusch, Ketchum, ID (Multi-Time World Mountain Bike Champion)

“So much to say about this event… It’s awesome… It’s brutal… Its’ relentless. I love Emporia, Kansas.  The event blew me away on all fronts: the organization, the kindness of enthusiasm of the locals, the challenge of just completing it.  It was one of the greatest cycling experiences of my life.”
–Paul Errington, Newcastle, United Kingdom

“What you have there in Emporia, the incredible race, the people who organize this thing and the people of Emporia themselves is something magical. I’ve been to tons of races and sporting events over the years but DK beats them all hands down. Keep doing what you are doing. I’ll be back.”
–Jenny Wise-Cook, Gardner, KS

“It’s obvious to me that the entire town of Emporia is on board for this event & we were blown away by the whole weekend experience… This race changed my son’s life in knowing he can probably do anything he sets his mind to in the future… It was by far my proudest moment as a parent to see him rolling in…”
–Matt Bergen, Paxton, NE

“An event is only as good as the people behind the scenes making it happen. I can say that, to a man, DK had the best people behind it you could ask for. When you look at the way the event was set up and the course it was run on, you have to be impressed. It could quite possibly be the ultimate gravel grinder. With the length, the hills, and the variance in texture and quantity of gravel road surface, DK has raised the bar on what an epic gravel grinder is.”
–Mark “Guitar Ted” Stevenson, Waterloo, IA (Promoter, Trans Iowa)

“Thank you (DK Promoters) for this incredible experience. I know you see the joy you’ve given people and I hope you see mine… (and) thank you Emporia Kansas, you set an example of embracing cycling that the whole country can follow.”
–Tim Ek, Duluth, MN

“Make no mistake, the DK is rough… To define it as a “typical” gravel event is to under-estimate its sheer ruggedness.”
–Matt Gersib, Lincoln, NE

“DK keeps getting bigger and better every year. The town of Emporia gets a high five for getting behind the event and welcoming all the lycra clad warriors with open arms… I will never forget that day for the rest of my life. That’s why I ride a bike. I’m already looking forward to next year.”
–Corey “Cornbread” Godfrey, Lincoln, NE

“When you finish (another well-known gravel race) you feel like a Buddhist Monk. When you finish DK
–Tim Ek, Duluth, MN

“DK was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done, or attempted to do. It was wonderful and terrible. I was tested in so many ways, and although I fell short overall, there were many small truimphs throughout the day. I’m disappointed that I didn’t finish, but I’m ok with what I managed. It would have been really easy to not register for this race because I knew I had basically no chance of finishing, but it was never about finishing. It was about attempting something big and seeing what I was made of… and finding out that I’m stronger than I ever knew.”
–Kate Geisen, Edwardsville, IL

“The work that you all put in to making the DK200 a success is far reaching. Today we had our monthly staff meeting at work and they asked for inspirations and motivational thoughts that I took away from the race this weekend. I told them as I saw these strong riders coming in sick, bloody, barely able to stand but pushing thru to the end, I thought to myself “Whats my excuse? It’s time to set some goals and stick to them.” As an office we shared some personal goals that included cycling goals, 5K’s, 10K’s and half marathons. It was pretty awesome. Goals have been set and we are encouraging each other and holding each other accountable. I just thought you should know that the DK has been the source of inspiration for MANY good things. Thanks, you guys. Job well done!!”
–Renee Sampsel, Emporia, KS

“Thank you so much for all your hard work. (You) put on a heck of a show. Emporia is an amazing little town and I hope they know how much the racers get a kick out of that finish! Coming in to the finish with Gunnar will always be one of the highlights of my life.”
–Betsy Shogren, Morgantown, WV

“What a race. The course was unbelievable. We were riding through open cattle range on the rockiest roads I have ever seen. After that we hit the mother of all downhills. It was a rock road littered with even bigger rocks and there was a good sized ditch down the left side. That was the scariest ride of my life. This was one of the best races I’ve ever been to. It was well worth the 12-hour drive. The promoters were great. They had the course marked well, great maps to follow and really made it a fun atmosphere to race in. Thanks guys! I look forward to coming back next year.”
Dave Simmons, Grand Forks, ND

“Gravel roads in Kansas aren’t like the ones in Iowa. What they call gravel I call rocks, big ones. And when they say Flint Hills they mean that there are arrowheads sticking out of the ground waiting, hoping, to puncture your tires. I want to go back and do it again.”
–Matt Maxwell, Ames, IA

“The race organizers did an awesome job of being organized for this event. I was very, very impressed. These guys had passion for this event and it showed 100% of the time. We were warned that the next 60 miles or so (after the midway checkpoint) were very secluded, and they were right. I believe we were on a road without an intersection for what seemed like 15-18 miles. There were one or two tough climbs here and one climb that seemed to go on for miles. It wasn’t overly steep, but the road was rough and slow. The beauty of the surroundings certainly made up for the 8-9 mph I was going. Then coming around this ridge on a hill I was suddenly flying down the most incredible downhill. It was like riding within a picture you would see in a magazine or something. It was pure heaven. I had a blast and will never forget it. I certainly would like to do next year’s version, that is for sure.”
–Paul Jacobson, Gilbert, IA

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