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Project Y

Dirty Kanza 200

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We’ve arrived at the Dirty Kanza 200. For Project Y this would be the final test: our Subject Athletes had put in months of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual training in order to prepare themselves for this event. Pain Caves? The work they put in was more like Pain Mining, or perhaps we should think of them as Pain Morlocks—underground denizens of training and suffering. Whatever the case, the Subject Athletes crossed deserts and mountains, oceans and rivers, security checks and interstates to get to this point.

“We were impressed—and we’ve seen a ton of amazing things (we do have the internet). You should be impressed too.”

At this point, you’ve got to be curious about how the team finished up, and about the positive and negative effects of our rigorous and highly experimental program. We’d love to share this with you, but then we’d be scooping ourselves, because we have a feature-length documentary coming out that will focus on their journey. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have some keen insights and information to share with you.

A Couple Dos and Don’ts

(For the Dirty Kanza)


  1. DO: Stay in the college dorms. It’s convenient that the race actually passes in front of them, the wifi is good, and you have the opportunity to bring and sleep in your own bedding (read: you do need to bring your own bedding/pillow in order to sleep comfortably).
  2. DON’T: Pay for the buffet at the college cafeteria. We’re pretty sure that this food has been kept in a nuclear fallout bunker since the height of the Cold War; the meat was made from rubber, the fruit glowed in the dark, and the coffee was pumped in from the duck pond in the quad. Also it was like $17 a person.
  3. DO: Ride a Specialized Diverge. Guys/Gals, yes we’re sponsored by Specialized, but you know if these bikes with their amazing future shock weren’t the bee’s knees, we could just leave them off our list. The thing is, ALL of the SA’s were so impressed with how well the bike worked. What’s more, their fellow competitors were also enamored with the bikes during the race, in the throes of exhaustion. Now that’s saying something.
  4. DON’T: Take a shower before the race. It’s a complete waste of time. Basically you’re just burning water.
  5. DO: Run tubeless. Guys/Gals I know. This horse is dead, but we’re still beating it because as much as we throttle this popr deceased animal, it turns out that some of you still don’t get it.
  6. DON’T: Forget your sunscreen. It doesn’t matter if you’re racing, supporting, or just out to spectate, that middle-of-the-country sun is no joke. Which, when you think about it, makes sense. It’s so far away from any ocean, and as everyone knows, the water in the ocean absorbs the sun’s rays, lessening your chance of being burned. Don’t believe me? It’s in here somewhere.
  7. DO: If you have a dietary program that works for you—let’s say mixing kombucha, Orange Beer, and Muscle Milk all together in your bottles) then stick to it. Our research shows that sticking to your established dietary plan is of critical importance.
  8. DON’T: Crash. So many people crashed. And here’s the thing: the Dirty Kanza is a race. Whether you’re going for a podium finish or you’re just trying to beat a certain time, every second counts. The problem with crashing is that it slows you down, your bike can get damaged, your body can be injured. And it’s not like once the crash is over its effects are over, nooooo no, you’ll have to ride with those injuries and that broken bike throughout the race. Also, now there is cow dookie all over the place so your risk of infection goes up. Trust us—the best thing to do is to just not crash.
  9. DO: FINISH FINISH FINISH. You can do it!
  10. DO: Sign up. The majority of the film crew had such a wonderful experience at this year’s race that they intend to sign up next year. Hopefully they get treated to the same extremely kind weather.

The Start

These kits are OBVS so sick. Wouldn't you like to have one?
It's not yet six in the morning. But when you've spent the last four months preparing physically and the last 48 hours steeling yourself emotionally, you don't need coffee or sun or a camera flash to stay awake; the inner vortex of nerves has spun your mind up pulled your eyes wide open.
Adrian was told by Norman, his clairaudiant, that he needed to research, study, and channel Quan Yin, a very popular goddess of mercy. Here we can see that Adrian has a blissful, chilled-out mien. But will it hold?
If you have any hope of winning this deal, you line up here, with the rest of the people who expect to finish at or under twelve hours. Aggressive? Perhaps.
From this distance we have to make a few guesses/assumptions: 1) that this is, in fact, an image of a real human child on that woman's phone; 2) that this woman knows or is allowed to be proud of that child; 3) that the point of having this child on her phone in such a way that it faces outwards is in order to engage bystanders and/pr the photographees.
Greg's the one with the great jawline and Mike has the OH SO RIGHT / JUST SO 5 o'clock shadow. Greg is the main camera boss and Mike is a drone pilot and cinematography hoss. More importantly, they're both lovely people.
Nothing says, "Just because I use technology doesn't mean I have to like it," like sheathing your Future Phone in wood—the material we graduated from after the wheel was invented.
Kinda digging that S-10 Sheriff rig. Mini-Trucking mag style.
It should be said out loud that aerobars are a popular and seemingly effective piece of DK race equipment. How did Sarah know? Intuition? Cosmic channeling? Perhaps she studied the internet? The truth is out there, you just have to believe.
Reese's cockpit was clean and uncluttered. We know for sure that it photographs well, despite its aerodynamic limitations.
We're pretty sure one of these guys won. Like 83% confident.
Hey there little buddy in the red. Whatcha smiling at? What do you know that we don't?
This is 100% the "calm before the storm" shot.
Alright, maybe it's this one.
Don't ask us. We don't know either.
Ladies and gentlemen, what you see here is a true multi-sport athlete. Forget swimming and running—this dude is off to play a soccer match as soon as he knocks out 200 miles. Can it even get more inspiring?
of 24

Leg 01


48.4 Miles
Gosh, it was pretty.
If y'all are looking for me on LinkedIn, all you need to do is look for this picture. I'll be there.
In the morning there was some cloud cover and it was kinda cool. Later on in the day the clouds went away and so did all the cool.
Some people looked worse earlier in the day then others. However, that wasn't a reflection of their final placing. We want to believe that this dude did really well.
We're pretty sure that this was the fastest woman. Like... 94% sure. Although if she wasn't, does it even matter? The point is, she was very fast.
Reese was hit with a flat early in the race. Did she fix it? Yep. Did she just put the hammer down for the rest of the race? You bet she did.
But his form... well his form was excellent. They don't call him Mr. Picture for nothing.
Hahn had some bad luck at the start, then later on in the middle, then later on at the end.
Those of you who are avid readers of Yonder will recognize Sarah Swallow. Now, we all know Sarah is a SUPERB cyclist—but from what we can see in this picture, it looks like she was having her own problems with this water crossing. So maybe there was something going on here?
Yep. This little water crossing was a doozie. Like that fella over there on the right. What's he doing? Wait, that's the guy from the last photo. Fair.
The number of crashes that we witnessed during the day were not commensurate with the terrain. But then again, I was in a car.
It's worth noting that Benedict has his own ideas regarding chamois technology. For the DK200 he ran a vintage leather patch instead of the cushioned synthetic pad that is so common nowadays. While visually arresting I think the jury has maybe deliberated and the verdict is that a leather patch is not an effective device for taint protection.
Yep—that gent in the middle is Benedict going full tuck as he attacks through this group. Very, VERY, impressive.
Adrian just looked SO good. I mean, those glasses and that mustache? And they were always anchored by a radiant crescent of teeth.
of 18

Checkpoint 01


Madison High School
Mr. Picture in full regalia.
All hands reported that the Future Shock on the new Diverge was unreal good for this event. I mean just look at it sitting there—the thing doesn't look tired AT ALL.
Racing single speed: definitely not a bad idea. At all.
No one knows where they're going. Everyone is confused.
of 7

Leg 02


55.8 Miles
Never. Ever. Tired.
Hahn, battle mode.
Sarah is also pretty pro with the smiles. It doesn't look like those dudes are enjoying it as much.
Told you!
He's smiling. Trust us.
We have a sense that during this race you have ample opportunity to ask yourself, "Why am I here? What am I doing." Racers, confirm or deny?
THE CHARISMA! Ohhhhhh, the charisma.
Vanishing point.
Still smiling. Always smiling.
A farmer's work is never done.
One thing we know for sure: Benedict placed in the sandal category.
of 17

Checkpoint 02


Eureka High School
Honestly, I don't even think Benedict could identify the purple stuff he was drinking.
Okay, the cat is out of the bag—or should I say the sandwich is in the bag? Here's the deal. Castelli has been testing ready-to-eat sandwiches with its top athletes for the past eight months. Unfortunately all it takes is one paparazzi photo to ruin the surprise. Castelli pre-made sandwiches, probably coming to stores near year this fall.
Like I said...
In keeping with his traditionalist ways, Benedict has decided to use Kansas dust as a barrier between his skin and the sun. The application process can be challenging, but he swears its worth it in the end.
of 8

Leg 03


57.8 Miles
Greg, I don't think the Farmer's Almanac works like that.
Coach Cody: master of all things time.
Gotta get that shot!
After six hours of racing, this is probably less fun than it looks.
of 6

Checkpoint 03


Madison City Park
"I feel good, it just hurts to breathe."—Sarah
Even though that beer was really really really warm (one could even call it hot), Sarah stuck to her game plan and finished it off. Only time would tell as to whether or not this was a good idea.
See you at the finish, Sarah!
Ok, the smile is definitely gone here... or is it? Maybe the smile is in the Coke. Ever think of that, a little smile transubstantiation?
This one is actually looking less tired than it did at the start. AMAZING.
Last legs on the last leg.
Still not tired.
This is how I will remember Dirty Kanza.
Sometimes in life you make poor decisions.
We do like Adrian's jersey better. But we're biased.
"Hmm, yes, food. I'll have some."
Reese isn't gritting her teeth because she's tired. She's gritting her teeth because she's pissed and wants to beat the sun. This I know.
of 13

Leg 04


44 Miles
Hey, where'd you come from?
of 3

The Finish

Hi Sarah!
Hi Sarah!
of 9
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