Around the end of May/first of June every year a bit of magic comes to Emporia Kansas. The Dirty Kanza. We are not a big town but we are a strong community. We support those events that support us. We stand up when asked and cheer for those who work hard. We understand what it means to work hard and we appreciate those that give everything they have. We know our gravel roads can be unforgiving. We appreciate our rolling hills mile after mile after mile. We love that not only does our weather change drastically from day to day but quite often hour to hour. An early summer day can start in the 60’s, bring 30mph wind, sore to the 90’s, crack open a storm, drop to the 50’s bringing rain and even hail, followed by a complete calm evening in the 60’s. We love that. We love Emporia. We love Kansas. It’s home. We can’t wait to welcome you to our home.
June 3rd of 2016 will bring over 2000 cyclists to our home. They will bring their friends and their family. We will invite our own. June 3rd is magic. Downtown is completely full. Anticipation is evident in the air. Friends are reunited. Stories are retold. Last minute strategies are discussed and plans are in place. No one expects to fail the challenge that will take place the next day. We all hope to succeed. We won’t. There’s never been a full field finish the Dirty Kanza. Not even close. Which friend will make it? Which friend won’t? What will be the new stories made? June 3rd is magical because of the unknown. Emporia is here for you though. We are ready to help if we can. We have your back. Give your best. We know you can.
The morning of June 4th brings organized chaos. Bike ready? Nutrition on point? Hydration full? Where will you line up? Towards the front where the pressure is high or towards the back where survival is the plan? Riders take off. Riders roll out. Gravel is hit and the day has begun. Don’t forget your plan! Don’t forget your strategy! Your day is here. You are 14 – 22 hours away from completing your goal and crossing that Finish Line. Cowbells will be ringing. People will be cheering you down the Finish Line chute. Food will taste better. Drinks will taste colder. Your mind will question your ability. You’ll want to quit. It’ll happen. It’s okay. We all go through it. We don’t all come out of it though. Remember. Just keep moving forward. Turn the cranks.
I won’t lie, it’s going to be hard. At times it’s going to hurt. A lot. The feeling you get at the finish line is so incredibly worth it. I can’t describe it. I want you to feel it. You need to feel it. Everyone should feel it.
If it helps, seek me out. I’ll give ya a hug. I might still be out riding though. Look for me sometime between 14.5 and 17 hours. I hope. Don’t worry. Emporia has my back. Emporia will be ready for you. Emporia has a lot of hugs to give.
We can’t wait to welcome you to our home.
Enjoy our town. Enjoy our coffee. Enjoy our food. Enjoy our friendship. Go play on our gravel. Have fun…it’s just riding bikes…