|The start of the 2009 Dirty Kanza 200. From the original start in a motel parking lot.|
That year saw, what I reported then as, 85 folks taking the start. Imagine that! The DK200 pre-ride has three times that many riders! It was a much smaller and much more intimate affair back in the day.
This would mark the beginning of the end of those days though. The next year, 2010, marked the year the event started in front of the Granada Theater for the first time and the pre-race was at a different motel than we had used the first four years. 2010 was also the last year I went to the DK until 2015. By 2015 the event was BIG TIME. Nothing at all like the halcyon days of yore that built the foundation of what people think of as the "rootsy, good feeling event" when they think about the DK200 these days.
Anyway, I happened to walk out onto the back patio of the seedy motel the DK200 used to run out of that year in 2009. I saw a man talking to Jim Cummings. He was a local business man and was telling Jim that this deal oughta be held downtown. There could be side events, more hoopla, getting the town involved, and "whatta ya think?". Well, we all know where that went after that conversation.
And I went on a vacation right after that. In fact, I went with my family and we stayed a few days in Bellevue, Nebraska where my wife had a best friend and her family ask us to stay with them. This gave me the opportunity to sample some fine Nebraska single track and have MG as my personal guide to it all. The THOR trails were great then, but I understand they are even better now.
|This might be from near the top of Texaco Hill. The '09 route went South that year to start.|
I did a big write up on the experience for "Twenty Nine Inches" and this blog, plus I think I sent my story in to be published in a Nebraska magazine. I don't remember, but I am pretty sure that happened. If I am right, it was one of my first published articles in a print magazine. Pretty good for only having been a blogger for four years!
So, it all ended up becoming a great trip, despite the sting of being snake bitten again in Kansas. I chalked that year up to just the misfortune of being sick, and to the weather. It was in the high 90's, maybe over 100 that year, and the wind was fierce! There hasn't been a year like it in recent memory. So, I figured one more go at it at the least and I could see what I could do with fresher legs and healthier lungs. I immediately gave thought to coming back the next year.