Kona Grassroots Rider Stephane Pelletierr has been busy

Calgary based Kona Grassroots rider Stephane Pelletierr is an absolute shredder and he’s been pretty darn busy of late. On top of school he’s been coaching four young shredders from his hometown and designing a program for them. He also made the trip out to the Kamloops to watch the Fest Series boys and to
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Leah Maunsell takes the win at the First Tracks Enduro

This weekend Team Maunsell made the journey from one corner of Ireland to the other, heading to the First Tracks Enduro in Bigwood up north. It was an early start, leaving home at 6am on Saturday morning, but with the sun shining it made things a little easier. Team Maunsell had an extra member representing them
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2016 Dirty Kanza 200—The Dirty Ten: Danielle Musto

This year Salsa is sending the Dirty 11.5 to participate in 2016’s Dirty Kanza 200. Danielle Musto is Dirty No. 10.

This year Salsa is sending the Dirty 11.5 to participate in 2016's Dirty Kanza 200. Danielle Musto is Dirty No. 10.

Salsa Cycles: What is your goal at this year’s DK200?

Danielle Musto: My goal is to cross the finish line with a big smile on my face, knowing that I pushed myself as hard as I could the entire time. That being said, the fatbike division is co-ed, so I'm also hoping to beat all the boys!

 

SC: What is your biggest fear going into the event?

DM: My biggest fear going into the event is that something will happen during the race prohibiting me to finish, like a horrible mechanical.  

 

SC: What have you done to prepare, and how are you combating that fear?

DM: Instead of worrying about the "what if's," I'm focusing on things that I can control. I'm training on my fatbike, focusing on nutrition, and dialing in my gear. These are all things that will help ensure that I get to the finish line. 

 

SC: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Dirty Kanza event?

DM: There is so much that I'm looking forward with the Dirty Kanza. The race is an awesome event, and the course is incredibly beautiful. I can't wait to spend an entire day on my fatbike and soak it all in. 

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2016 Dirty Kanza 200—The Dirty Nine: Justin Michels

This year Salsa is sending the Dirty 11.5 to participate in 2016’s Dirty Kanza 200. Justin Michels is Dirty No. 9.

This year Salsa is sending the Dirty 11.5 to participate in 2016's Dirty Kanza 200. Justin Michels is Dirty No. 9.

Salsa Cycles: What is your goal at this year’s DK200?

Justin Michels: To simply finish.

 

SC: What is your biggest fear going into the event?

JM: I have traditionally been a short-distance road and mountain racer, so DK is a step into the unknown.

 

SC: What have you done to prepare and how are you combating that fear?

JM: Research previous races and racer experiences to give myself an idea of what to expect and how to manage my body and mind.

 

SC: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Dirty Kanza event?

JM: I’m excited to see how this race compares with the road and mountain races I have competed in. I’m also curious to see how the atmosphere differs. Oh, I and can’t forget to mention a beer at the finish line!

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2016 Dirty Kanza 200—The Dirty Eight: Andrea Cohen

This year Salsa is sending the Dirty 11.5 to participate in 2016’s Dirty Kanza 200. Andrea Cohen is Dirty No. 8.

This year Salsa is sending the Dirty 11.5 to participate in 2016's Dirty Kanza 200. Andrea Cohen is Dirty No. 8.

"My biggest goal for Dirty Kanza 200." At the Dirty Kanza camp this year, Jim Cummins mentioned that the motto for this year's DK200 would be "Find your limit.” That stuck with me. He defined the word for us, straight out of the dictionary. What I remember from that definition was the "may not extend or pass." The "may" seems so lax. Like the limits are made to be challenged. This will be my fourth year challenging the DK200 and myself. I want to learn something new about myself by going beyond what I know. Go to that place that hurts. Figure out how to get out of it. I think the DK200 is one of the best events to test out those limits. The structure of the race will allow me to use support, but I will still be in a very remote area of the Flint Hills. I will be left to my own devices outside of those checkpoints. I always try to work within a positive mindset, but I know the frustrating moments will be there to teach me a lesson! A new limit is most definitely my goal. 

"My biggest fear." Well, I started this thought off by first Googling the word "fear," then by belting out one of my practiced maniacal laughs. “MWAHAHAHA. Fear. What is fear??!!!” Joking. 

Dirty Kanza scares the crap out of me. Fear is an emotion that brings about all kinds of crazy thoughts. Will my hair tie break? What if I forget my waterbottles? My helmet? All things that could potentially happen and have happened to me. Those things did not stop me. I finished my race. I was laughing by the end of it all. Fear brings up all the things that are out of my control.

This might surprise a lot of people, but my biggest fear is my competitors. I am a competitive person. The ladies that come to the DK200 are strong. They are smart riders. They will probably crush you. My competitive nature can leave me high and dry sometimes. I will get so wrapped up in my head, wondering how many ladies are in front of me, or worse, behind me, with the possibility of catching me. I have high expectations for myself. I always have. I do not think that finishing before someone makes me better than them, my competitive drive is purely an emotion. A force that leads me away from my goals to a thought process that takes me far away from where I should be. Those fearful thoughts will block out the reminders to eat and drink, to pay attention to my cue sheets and myself. 

"How am I preparing and combating this fear?" Having more ladies at these events is what keeps me excited. It challenges me to ride stronger and better. The ladies’ fields have been growing, and quickly. This helps me grow as a rider. The minutes and hours that I have spent riding side by side with some of these ladies has shown me so much about what is possible. These women are people I look up to, and I am pretty lucky. I have to remind myself that they are going through the same thing I am. Riding over the same rocks and ruts. No matter how I finish, sportsmanship is No. 1.

Dirty Kanza is one of the more competitive gravel events that I do. I believe it gives me a place to build that sportsmanship and community with other riders, especially the ladies. It is important for this part of the gravel cycling world to grow, and people know that. For example, at this year's Landrun 100, Bobby and Crystal Wintle welcomed all of the ladies on the wait-list to join them on race day. My fears concerning competitors is a healthy fear. I have to remember that. It is a positive challenge, because I see it that way. A grimace and slight smile when I push past what I think I can do while chasing another lady's wheel feels good. Whether or not I keep up with her is totally up to me. 

"What am I most looking forward to?" I am most looking forward to the people of Dirty Kanza. Whether it is someone I haven't seen since last year's race or just someone I silently ride with around mile 170, it is an undeniable fact that gravel races have one of the strongest communities surrounding them. These events bring out the best people. It shows when you are suffering alongside someone, and we can both eek out a smile or encouraging nod. The people of Dirty Kanza includes the town that hosts this race. Emporia welcomes hundreds of gravel-crazed riders with open arms. They are outside their houses cheering and ringing cow bells. They swarm around the finish line well past a reasonable hour. They are just as important as the hundreds of riders that flock to their town. I have been shown such incredible amounts of respect and joy all throughout the event that is Dirty Kanza. I will be coming back for many, many miles of Flint Hills. 

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2016 Dirty Kanza 200—The Dirty Seven: David Markman

This year Salsa is sending the Dirty 11.5 to participate in 2016’s Dirty Kanza 200. David Markman is Dirty No. 7.

This year Salsa is sending the Dirty 11.5 to participate in 2016's Dirty Kanza 200. David Markman is Dirty No. 7.

Salsa Cycles: What is your goal at this year’s DK200?

David Markman: This will be my second year riding in DK, and the obvious goal would be to do better than I did last year (19:53). But more than simply beating my time, I am using DK this year to be my final readiness test for the Tour Divide, which starts the following weekend. Mentally and physically, I feel like I will be able to cut at least four hours off of last year's time. I want to finish before the sun sets in 14:43 flat.

 

SC: What is your biggest fear going into the event?

DM: Weather and road conditions are the variables of DK that can scramble even the best-made plans. I have trained harder and prepared more for this season’s races than ever before, so I feel I am ready for whatever DK throws at me. The addition of a third checkpoint this year will help make this year’s race less stressful.

 

SC: What have you done to prepare, and how are you combating that fear?

DM: This year I hired a coach to help me train (Lelan Dains) and prepare for an exciting year of endurance gravel riding. DK will be the fifth of 14 century-plus rides planned this year, in addition to the Tour Divide. Consistent and proper training has had obvious improvements in the way I ride and prepare for a race.

 

SC: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Dirty Kanza event?

DM: To see all of the great riders I have met and spoken to all year. The Dirty Kanza 200 for me is like a school reunion, but with people who I actually want to see again. The gravel riding community is made up of so many awesome people, some I only get to see once a year. DK brings so many really great riders together for a really great ride and time.

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