Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Another Option

"Well, of course they did.", is what I thought several weeks ago when my buddy MG let on that he was in the "DKXL" , a 350 mile version of the event, the Dirty Kanza 200. A couple of months previous to that I had been contacted by the Dirty Kanza 200 event director/co-founder Jim Cummins with a question about how I set up cut offs for Trans Iowa. I also noted that he and a group of other riders did a huge "bikepacking" excursion through the Flint Hills about this same time. Hmm.....something is up here, methinks! 

So, when my friend MG let on about the DKXL I wasn't surprised. It makes sense that is what they would do, especially after the other DK events on gravel seem to be maxed out in terms of numbers for participation. When your aim is to diversify, provide new ways to satisfy demand, and "grow", this news fits the bill. When your sponsor says things like, "The DKXL is very exciting to us because it represents a continued progression......in a gravel event..", well you know that some goals were set that are making them happy too.

At least, that's how I read the press release. YMMV.

So, some folks have asked what I think, because I run Trans Iowa. Well, I don't really mind one way or the other, frankly. It's their gig, they can do what they think is right by them and their customers. As far as a ride goes, yeah. It's cool. It would be a great challenge. I'm not sure what the DK Promotions has in mind for 2019, when they say they are going to have this idea fine tuned and ready for the masses to engage in. I would hazard a guess that it will be more expensive than the 200 miler. I cannot imagine it wouldn't cost some serious money to get into. So any ideas of this being like, say, an Alexander type event, well, that probably doesn't fit the DK200's "MO" of the last seven years or so. Maybe I'm wrong on this, but I wouldn't bet on it.

So, fundamentally I think it would be a different event than the older style ultra-distance events, but that's just a guess. When MG does this, I'll hear about it, and we'll know more then, I am sure. But at any rate, I  wasn't surprised about this and no- I really don't have any strong feelings about their doing this one way or the other. I'll be interested to see what they make of it next year for sure.


AndyStockman said...

First and foremost I would like to state that I am very greatful for event promoters. It gives many people (myself included) something to plan for, train for, something to spend countless hours reasearching and dialing in equipment, food and on and on. Once it is time for the event to start it releases many emotions, introduces new challenges, forces one to put up or shut up. These big events, again speaking for myself, educate a rider on what they are capable of and most are typically better for it. Many riders feel and sense of accomplishment, wheather they win or dnf there is something to gain and often friendships and memories are formed the last a lifetime. At least that is how it often plays out for me and many I ride with. A long winded way to say thanks...but...and maybe I am just sore.....

As a applicant that did not get into DK and, (as far as I know) the only finisher of Transiowa that did not make the lottery this year, I was a bit bummed about my goals for the season. The fact the the DKXL was a invite only event (and if I am wrong here let me know, but I did not see anything on the site about it) is a bit more salt in the wound. Event promoters get to do what they want, that’s fine, I understand that and I will accept it. However I do think it is worth mentioning the lack of any application process, and inviting only who you want to have at your event leaves some people out in the cold. I feel, again my stinky opinion, that riders other than the chosen few should have a shot at a event like DKXL. If anybody, and everybody can sign up for the lottery for the 200 why restrict a new event to a few selected “cool kids”? It certainly breeds a sensation of exclusivity and pretentiousness.

As it were, rant off. Again my sincere gratitude for you Gted, and all those event promoters out there that give so many folks goals and, in turn, sparks the internal drive to achieve them.
Andy Stockman

Guitar Ted said...

@Andy Stockman- Hey there! Thanks for those thoughts on the ultra-distance stuff, DKXL, and TI.

I cannot speak for the DK Promotions team, but in my opinion, knowing a little about this, is that the 2018 version is really a "fact finding", "dress rehearsal" of this event, if you will. The number of invitees- 34- is totally arbitrary, obviously, and was chosen to pay homage to the 1st DK 200 roster. Nothing more, nothing less.

Jim Cummins, in comments I saw elsewhere, said it was extremely difficult to whittle their list down to 34,and speaking for myself, I know I would find that task nearly impossible to do. You are going to hurt someone's feelings no matter what.

All that said, it probably doesn't make you feel any better, but I hope you understand that, again- my opinion- that I feel no one was trying to hurt anyone by the selection process, but they couldn't just invite everyone, nor did they need to have that level of input for their event, which really won't go "public" until next year.

In my opinion, I think they should have kept the deal under the radar till after the event and then promoted it, but now that the cat is out of the bag.......

MG said...

@Andy Stockman – I'm sorry to hear you didn't get into the DK200 this year. That said, you are incorrect in the assertion that you're the only past finisher that didn't get selected is incorrect. I know two of the crew here in Lincoln who are past DK finishers and were not selected.

My advice would be to try not to take it personally. Even as a seven-time DK200 finisher, I was surprised (and honored) to be asked to participate in the inaugural DKXL. I would not have been offended if I wasn't selected, but you'd better bet your life I'm going to take (and make the most of) the opportunity. It really is what Guitar Ted said it's going to be – a fact finding mission, with the goal of making it a full part of the DK offering in 2019 if it proves successful. If you want to do it, you will likely have the opportunity.

AndyStockman said...

@MG- I suppose I didn’t really make it clear about past finisher of DK. I have never done the event, I did however ride alongside you for many miles at the one and only TI I attempted. My comment was not clear, I was attempting to point out that I was the only TI finisher to not make the selection for TI this year (as far as I know). As life and things have gotten in the way I have been unable to attend TI for some time. Last year with the registration changes to TI I registered with the rookies, as I was a inactive veteran. I was lucky enough to get in on the heels of my biggest mileage year yet. On February 1st riding home from the shop I slipped on some ice and shattered my kneecap. Needless to say I didn’t have the year I was planning and was still on crutches when the flag dropped on TI last April. Not getting into TI or DK this is a bummer for sure, but I understand why and that is the way things go.

I am not taking the lack of a chance to participate in TI or DK personal, I just find the “invite only” approach to DKXL a bit counterintuitive to the change in DK200 registration this year. I am sure there are a slew of riders who would have at least appreciated the chance to apply for such a ride. As for your selection to DKXL, congratulations that is indeed a honor. Your participation and work in promoting all kinds of gravel events is not taken lightly. I, for one, think if there was a application process for the DKXL you indeed would be at the top of the pile. Wishing you the best of luck on your mission. I look forward to the ride reports and hope it does indeed become a full part of the DK offerings. As to the OP, in the end it is up to the promoters and while I may not like or agree with every decision they make I do respect there position. Perhaps we will pedal circles from dusk to dawn once again. All the best.

MG said...

Thanks @Andy Stockman... I remember you well, and appreciate your clarification and perspective. My gut says the DK folks are taking a cautious approach with the DKXL this year, and want to get our feedback from the experience in this 'trial' run to make it as good as it can be next year for those who choose to take up the challenge.

Very sorry to hear about your kneecap, but I hope the season to come is fantastic for you. We'd love to see you in August for Gravel Worlds, so if it works on your calendar, please pencil it in.

I look forward to riding with you again soon, Andy!


Derek said...

@Andy -- what about entering the 380-mile Alexander if it fits your schedule? (part of the Almanzo events in May in MN) The Alexander is very small but you'd be in elite company as a finisher. Hope you have a good season and to meet you at a future event.