2014 marked our third year as a sponsor of the The Dirty Kanza 200. We love this event and were happy to come on board as the Official Skin Care sponsor for the first time. We had incredible visibility with signage at packet pickup and podiums, Chamois Butt’r tents at SAG stops, banners at the finish and most importantly – 24 riders on course and countless support crew decked out in purple and yellow – it was impossible to miss us!
For those that are not familiar with Dirty Kanza, it is a 203 mile gravel road race through the Flint Hills of Kansas. There are three support stops along the way – one every 50 miles. Each rider is required to have a support person to provide food, water and any additional help at each stop. Riders are not allowed to receive any assistance between stops. Support personnel are only allowed to go out on course to pick up riders who have abandoned the race. The race starts at 6am, riders must finish before 3am – the next day!
DK weekend started early for us this year. Our friends at Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop in Lawrence, KS hosted an event called Rebecca’s Race Rendezvous on Thursday night. This was a really fun opportunity to ride with Rebecca Rusch, a mountain bike world champion and the female winner of the last three editions of the Dirty Kanza. The short gravel ride was followed by a presentation at the shop as well as Q&A sessions with some of Rebecca’s sponsors including Garmin, Gu, Sram and Pro Gold.
Friday morning I drove down to Emporia early to meet Curt Shelman, help get everyone checked into the dorms and take care of any last minute preparations. It seems like for an event like this there is always one more thing to do. Friday night we hosted the entire Chamois Butt’r Team and all of their support crews at Gambino’s Pizza – there were nearly 60 of us! This turned out to be one of the highlights of the entire weekend. A big thanks to Gambino’s pizza for having us, we will definitely be back next year! It was so much fun to welcome a few new riders and catch up with those that we don’t get to see regularly (the Chamois Butt’r Cycling Team is based in Kansas City but we have riders throughout Kansas, Missouri and beyond).
Saturday – the big day! With a 6am roll out we were up and at ‘em by 4am. The dorm accommodation package included a buffet style breakfast at the Emporia State University cafeteria. Groggy eyed and nervous, we all went down to feast on breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy, fruit, bagels and anything else we could get down at such an early hour. For most people eating at that time of day is not so common, and can be somewhat of a challenge.
After breakfast it was time to get suited up and head to the start. Even at 5:30am Commercial Street was already buzzing with riders, fans, photographers and a video drone! The Grenada Theatre makes for a fantastic backdrop to this crazy scene. Riders are lined up by their estimated finish times – 12 hour finishers in the front, 14 hour finishers behind them, and so on. The field of riders stretched back for several city blocks. After a few nervous moments the count down came over the loud speaker and we were off! It would be many, many hours before we would see that little stretch of pavement on Commercial street again.
Overall the Chamois Butt’r Team had an incredibly successful day. 23 of our 24 starters finished, several age group podiums and 1 win for Curt Shelman! We are already making plans for next year, hope to see you there!