Dirty Dispatch: 2019 Dirty Kanza Race Report from Our DK Challenge Winner
As one of the sponsors of the 2019 Garmin Dirty Kanza, we hosted a contest to send a lucky Sufferlandrian to the sold out event. After the dust settled, we chose a name at random from among those who completed the 6 required workouts and earned the Dirty Kanza Challenge badge. The winner: John Phillips of Colorado, USA. John tackled the SUF-worthy 200-mile version of the race. We asked John to pen a race report. Here's his story.
The Fun Parts
I got to stop by The Sufferfest booth in the expo and meet Sir Cody Moore and Sir Joe Christman. That part was definitely fun in the truest sense.
Sir Joe and I decided The Sufferfest needs to make a workout with Dirty Kanza race footage. I see lots of repeated, seated 30-second to 3-minute MAP / AC efforts that settle into a long, steady FTP effort to get to the finish. And make it 10 hours long.
After much media hype over the stacked field, the race finally started with nice blue skies. The first twenty-ish miles went by quickly as the main group was mostly together. Imagine being in a big dusty washing machine fighting for position and dodging crashes. The initial hills came and the selection was made; thankfully I could now settle into a steady pace. Except the roads were getting rougher and rougher so you just did whatever pace you could. The series of short, steep hills began, and they would keep repeating. All. Day. Long. The first aid station (approximately mile 65) arrived in a blink. After a quick refuel and chain lube, I was back on my bike.
The next section until the mile 120 water stop was the Twilight Zone. Roller coaster terrain that never stopped. An occasional creek crossing. Lots of big sharp rocks. Thanks to these rocks, I had three flats somewhere about mile 100 to 110. Frustrating to say the least, but I kept truckin’. The water stop finally arrived and was a brief oasis. Water was good, but I was looking forward to snacks at the final aid station at mile 150.
After 30 lonely miles, the final aid station arrived! I was really excited to get refueled. This time I didn’t rush myself. My mechanics gave my bike a much needed wipe down and chain lube. I got in a Coke and lots more calories. Ice on the back, ahhh. I was out of tubes so I borrowed a tube. On the bike, settling into a good tempo cruise, and feeling good. Boom! Another flat to make it an even four. After that, back to my tempo cruise, passing lots of people. Definitely had to get my photo taken at the "Salsa Cycles Chase the Chaise" station about 20 miles from the finish.
The final 50 miles are over in a blink. I finished in 13:54. Not what I hoped for, but four flats tends to slow you down. Thankful I could finish feeling good.
A huge thank you to The Sufferfest for my entry (and awesome workouts, of course!). I’d been interested in racing the Dirty Kanza 200 for a while, but it always was a pipe dream…never really expected it to be reality. Thank you for making it happen.