The Dirty Kanza is an ultra-distance bike race that takes place May 31st in the rugged Flint Hills. Billed as the “Ultimate Gravel Grinder,” the event starts and finishes in Emporia, and offers 200 miles of racing on blacktop, gravel, and dirt roads through remote and scenic east-central Kansas.
The event attracts ultra-endurance racers from all over the country, including (according to Emporia’s High Gear bike shop), luminaries such as former Olympian Travis Brown (inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2006), Keith Bontrager (founder of Bontrager parts, inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1994), and Cameron Chambers (2005 24-Hour National Champion).
As Guitar Ted says, “you better get your “hellos” in at the start line, ’cause these guys will be smokin’.”
But the big names won’t be the only stars you’re likely to see at Dirty Kanza. If you’re riding this race, and survive to the end, you’ll likely be riding well into the night. And if the sky is clear you can enjoy the waning crescent moon, and the stars in the heavens:
O wild and wondrous midnight,
There is a might in thee
To make the charmed body
Almost like spirit be,
And give it some faint glimpses
James Russell Lowell, Midnight