Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Dirty Kanza Report: Man About Town

The Friday morning tradition of the breakfast at Rick's house was awesome.
MG was sick Friday morning, but Joe and I had an invitation to attend a tradition which was started several years ago by the owner of Mulready's Pub, Rick. He lives not far from where Joe lives in Emporia, so we made our way down to his place and met up with several other DK200 and 100 riders.

Bobby Wintle of Land Run 100 fame was there and I got an awesome hug from him. David Mizelle, a rangy gravel grinder known for his ride at Land Run one year with a Viking helmet on, sat next to me and we chatted about life and gravel rides. It was a great meal and with awesome company.

Afterward Joe and I went back to check in on MG, which scene I recounted in yesterday's post. After seeing him I went down town briefly with Joe to catch up with a few folks. I saw Adam Blake of the bike shop, Gravel City, and we had a nice conversation. I saw Tim Mohn as well, he of the DK Promotions team. My old buddy Ears even was there from North Carolina supporting another rider who was riding for his wife. (You can check out more on their story here.) It was a lot of fun to see these folks and more.

Then we had a cuppa joe at Gravel City Roasters. I signed their wall there, so if you ever get in there you'll have to check that out. Finally, it was time to get back to the house again and I grabbed my messenger bag full of crap and walked down town from Joe's house. It was quite the haul!

More DK stoke as seen outside a florist shop several blocks away from downtown.
The walk from Joe's neighborhood of well kept, upper end properties to down town was revelatory. As I got closer and closer to the center of Emporia, the houses got older and more run down. It is obvious that despite the DK200 and its seemingly pervasive influence, the city of Emporia is like so many cities in the heart of the country. Run down homes in desperate need of repairs and updating, poor sidewalks and streets. It seems like an overwhelming issue, and it certainly is exemplary of how this country needs to address its crumbling cities and towns.

As I walked I wondered what the "common person" in Emporia thought about all this cycling madness. It seems that many of the residents see the hoopla that comes along with the DK week as a way to have a carnival and escape all the normal day to day drudgery and ever present decay. But I also wondered how many people see this as an intrusion, a nuisance. Probably a few do, but I haven't seen any evidence of such attitudes.

Finally I found myself down town and at the "All Things Gravel Expo", which was held in a pretty large parking lot which took up about a quarter of a city block. I ran into Jim Cummings who actually walked me over there. It was pretty impressive and I found some surprises. (See my Gravel Grinder News post on I saw Mike Riemer of Salsa Cycles and chatted with him for quite a while. Then it was time to hike it back home to Joe's place to see how MG was coming along. It was well after 12:00pm and I was going to be later than I thought checking in on MG. In the end it all worked out since MG got a nap of about a couple of hours which seemed to be pretty recuperative for him.

That crazy full suspension gravel bike was there. I'm not real sure about that one.
When I got back to Joe's place MG was up and about! Joe and I were flabbergasted, but we were still pretty skeptical, as was MG himself, that he would make much of a ride out of this. At least he could start and that would be awesome. He could at least take part in the event in that way and not miss everything, as we thought he was going to earlier.

So MG kitted up, got his things in order, and tossed me the car keys so I could fetch him if need be, and we all thought I was going to have to do that at that point. I was now "on call", and this would inform my actions for much of the ensuing 35 hours.

Next: Surprises And Send-Offs

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