Saturday, December 07, 2019

Minus Ten Review 2009-49

Anybody remember this?
Ten years ago on the blog here I made mention of a communique from the DK200 guys, Joel Dyke and Jim Cummins, concerning their plans for 2010. In fact, it was a "Gravel Grinder News" post. I got a kick out of looking at this, so I will share a bit of the e-mail they sent out back then to past participants. I think some of what you will read here today is now going to seem a lot less like hyperbole and a whole lot more prophetic. Check out the following lines from their e-mail:

"Our Vision... that The Dirty Kanza 200 will become North America's premier annual ultra-endurance gravel road cycling challenge."
You have to hand it to Jim. He eventually made this come true. I think Joel left the event after 2010, for sure after 2011. I cannot recall now. So, it was pretty much Jim's idea here, I think. Also, you will shake your heads at the following concerning roster size: 

"Field Limit: We will expand our field limit this year to 150 participants.Note... Last year's limit of 100 participants was filled in just four days of registration."

One Hundred Fifty. Can you even imagine the Dirty Kanza ever being that small? I think this coming year they are pushing 3000 for a limit between everything they are doing. Which brings me to the following point- The Dirty Kanza back then was only a 200 mile event. 200 or nuthin'! Check the following out: 

 "Classes: Open Men Open Women Single Speed Masters Men (50+)"

Pretty simple, eh? And the entry fee was waaaay below a hundred bucks, but I cannot remember what they charged back then exactly. Plus, they were working on a fancy "dot com" site, but back in those days the DK200 used a Wordpress blog. (Logo above) It's still there if you want to take a look. The quaint simplicity of it all is probably due to Joel Dyke, since it was indicated in the e-mail I am quoting that he was in charge along with his wife, Michelle, of the website end of the event. 

A shot I took from the 2009 DK200 course.
Yep! Things were a bit different back in those days. Much simpler. No lotteries. You knew just about everyone at every event you went to. You would end up by yourself for long stretches of the event. (A more authentic experience of what the Flint Hills normally is, in my opinion) That's how it was before this thing exploded into a world-wide phenomenon. Yes- world-wide. I was contacted last week by a fellow from Brazil who was looking for history on gravel grinding. He is starting a community of riders in Brazil who ride mountain roads and rural byways. It's crazy how far reaching this idea, which we grew here in the Mid-West, has gone. 

Brazil.... Who'd a thunk it?


Anon said...

Wow, I went back to the old DK blog page and I'm amazed at how much things have changed! The video of the 2009 race was a reminder of a different time. It almost feels like watching a skate video from the 80s in terms of the sense of nostalgia it evokes. It seemed like such a simple, local event. As a Kansan, the race felt like part of the state's cycling identity back then, even if I had not ridden it. Now, it feels like the event belongs to the world. Partly because knowledge of the race spread, but also because it (as well as TI) spawned so many other events around the globe, with folks in every corner of the world seeking out gravel and dirt road riding. I suppose I'm starting to repeat what you were saying above now, but I'm just in awe of how quickly this whole thing has developed. It usually takes a lot more than ten years for me to feel nostalgic for times past.

Guitar Ted said...

@Anon- Fast passage into nostalgia, quickened growth, and easily forgotten history are all- in my opinion- results of what I call "The Digital Age". In the Analog Era, you would have been correct. Growth of an event like the Dirty Kanza 200 would have taken years- perhaps decades. (If it had survived at all)