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After documenting the 2017 Dirty Kanza 200 earlier this year, I—Daniel Wakefield Pasley—decided I would race a VERY-NEAR-FUTURE Dirty Kanza 200. Like maybe 2018, 2019.” Eye-witnessing the 2017 Dirty Kanza 200 was exhilarating. I loved everything I saw and heard, I totally and immediately understood the draw. And so yeah, I basically signed-up—mentally, emotionally, psychologically, etc—on the spot. I’ve never participated in a 200-mile gravel race. The implications and ramifications of mentally signing up to do a future DK 200 are still being digested. Meanwhile, I’m already practicing. You say Rapha Prestige, I say Dirty Kanza Dress Rehearsal.

First, I assembled a team of Subject Athletes.

Second, we got Specialized Diverges because #duh.

Third, we did a Dress Rehearsal.

Fourth, I learned some shit?

Fifth, I love Sucks Events, I really do.

Step 01: A Team of Subject Athletes

 

AKA Hahn, James & Kyle

Step 02: A Specialized S-Works Diverge

 

The S-Works Diverge is non-hyperbole-ly-speaking the best bike I’ve ever ridden. On the road, off the road, next to the road, up the road, down the road, pre-road, old road, rural road, new road, no more road, etc. Not only is it blue and luminescent and cool as shit looking but it has a future shock and the best vibes an inanimate object can have. It has an aura. I rode a magic aura.

Step 03: A DK Dress Rehearsal

 

Otherwise known as the 2017 Northwest Rapha Prestige.

 

What follows are 14 comments, observations and anecdotes related to my decision to do that race and to my first day of practice (The Rapha Prestige) for that race.

As such, I raced several Gentlemen’s (Prestige) Races. I know they’re hard and fun and difficult. But it’s been a minute.
I’ve had a long and rowdy—if not turbulent—relationship with Rapha since 2007, more specifically working on the Rapha Continental.
This year, the tenth anniversary-ish of my relationship with Rapha, Portland hosted a Prestige Race. Kismet?
One way or another (thanks Tim! and James!), I received an invitation to organize a team and race.
James Selman and I are both Rapha rejects, so we decided to build on that theme and thus invited Hahn “Pearl Izumi Tights” Rossman and Kyle “Hates Road Bikes” Von Hoetzendorff to complete our Subject Athlete team of four.
We didn’t train.
We sent LOTS of texts. We did a photoshoot the night before the race. We rode together the whole time. We officially(?)/unofficially won the coveted Most Cohesive Prestige Team Ever award. We had maaaaybe as much Type I Fun as we did Type II Fun. Think about that! Literal, as in actual, fun.
The course was, in spots, hella steep.
Sometimes it felt like we were riding an uphill, banked and/or off-camber “road” covered in a mix of marbles and golf balls.
The course took us over one of the prettiest river crossings I’ve ever seen in Oregon.
Speaking of which, the lollipop course was pretty wonderful, in part because we rode out and back on one of the best roads to the coast in all of Oregon: Little Nestucca River Road. The rest, 60 or so miles, was all gravel.
We climbed 10,000 or so feet in 80 miles and in a little over six-plus hours. That’s basically half of DK 200, and while it still hurts to pee (don’t ask—new saddle) it was predominately a wicked positive experience that, in-spite of trying really hard in spots, just didn’t suck that bad.
The food was NEXT-LEVEL.
I saw sooooooooooooooooooooo many people I love but never normally see. There was a football game. The ribs, the tacos. The back of Greg’s truck.
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"I promise I'm doing Dirty Kanza."

—Daniel Wakefield Pasley