Dirty Kanza 200 / RIP Muhammad and Jocelyn

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The most famous of all gravel races is happening right now about an hour southwest of me, the Dirty Kanza 200.  I know a bunch of people that are doing it.  Quite of few of the local Topekans I train with are racing.  My brother Kris is riding a tandem with his friend Rita.  Then Roger, Eric and Keith are all doing it solo.

My team mate, Brian Jensen, who won the event two years ago, decided kind of last minute, to race.  He tried to talk me into starting, which is the only way I’d do it, helping  him.  But, I’m not good enough to even do that right now.  He’ll be fine.

There are lots of good riders here.  Ted King did a blog post about his DK experience, so far, yesterday.  Rebecca Rusch is back.  Man, does that girl travel and do some crazy shit.

I wish all the competitors good luck.  The DK is a race where luck plays a big part.  A thunderstorm moved through Topeka at about 2 am and I couldn’t help myself to check the radar to see if the course was getting wet.  It wasn’t.  Good luck.

Last year was a disaster with hardly half the riders finishing.  Brian flatted numerous times and finally broke off his rear derailleur about half way through.  This year it is going to be hard and fast, a new course record, by time, since it is not the same course even year.

Live tracking of the DK200 is here.

Also, sad news about Muhammad Ali and cyclist Jocelyn Lovell.  Both died yesterday after long battles.  Muhammad with Parkinson’s disease.  Jocelyn with being paralysed after being struck by a cement truck.

I never met Ali.  I would have loved that.  My friend Dennis, from Cable, spend a few hours with him alone in Illinois one stormy night.  Dennis said that Ali’s hands were so quick you couldn’t even see them move.  Ali was the most famous athlete the world has  even seen.  And he lived up to it.  He lived by his standards and never wavered.  That will be his legacy.

I had the pleasure of meeting and racing against Jocelyn.  He was the first “professional” rider I saw venturing from Kansas.  I ran into him in the shower in a dorm in Milwaukee when I was 14. Man, was he intimidating.  Legs like tree stumps, an earring, a serious bicycle racer.

I didn’t know him that well, but most riders either loved or hated Jocelyn.  I loved him.  I understood his humor, his mentality and laughed at his outbursts.

I wrote a post about him a few years ago.    Here is another one from Canadian Cycling Magazine.  It is a real article, not just a blog post by me.

Anyway, I wish all my friend’s and all the other riders, a safe race today.  Many will be out there past dark.  It’s a sad day with two sports heros pass on the same day.  But it is just part of life.  I hope they both rest in peace.  They are deserving of that.

Kris' number plate. Each one is custom, pretty cool.

Kris’ number plate. Each one is custom, pretty cool.

Keith was a little ahead of Kris. Kris was still assembling his bike while Keith was ready to race last night.

Keith was a little ahead of Kris. Kris was still assembling his bike while Keith was ready to race last night.

Here’s a video my friend, Michael Aisner made of Muhammad Ali back in 1966.  Pretty great Michael did this in high school.

Guess who got a bath after the walk yesterday?

Guess who got a bath after the walk yesterday?



11 thoughts on “Dirty Kanza 200 / RIP Muhammad and Jocelyn

  1. Coz

    Report from the course is that’s “pure carnage”. Roads soaked from a surprise t-storm last night are breaking bikes. From Sunflower bikes Twitter

  2. Jim

    I got a chance to race against Lovell, in a crit, the year after he was a silver medalist in the World’s Kilo.
    It was really amazing to see the small holes he could find and get through. Even more amazing to me was that when he decided to go fast his calves about doubled in size and he was GONE!!
    BTW, he kicked the ass of everyone in the race.

  3. H Luce

    It’s 2:05 am, and Kris is still out on the course. They were at the Madison2 checkpoint at 8:30pm or thereabouts, with 44 miles to go.

  4. Jon R

    RIP Mr. Lovell. I have a Lovell bike he built for a guy in the early 80s, he made 100-200 frames before he was paralyzed. Apprenticed under Marinoni. His business was bought out & became Cyclops. Fantastic bikes all around, my 30 year old steel Lovell is my favorite bike.

    Dirty Kanza was hot & windy, it was rough out there. Luck has a huge role, a lot of guys who are stronger & faster than me dnf. I finished & improved over last year but my body & stonach are all kinds of twisted up this morning.

  5. Barbara Kelly

    If you haven’t yet seen the film “Marinoni, The Fire in the Frame,” it is well worth seeing. We just showed it a week ago at The Park Center in Hayward, WI as part of a bicycle film festival. Jocelyn Lovell is an important part of the film. You can find more info at this link, along with a trailer: http://www.marinonimovie.com/

  6. Skippy

    Not being fully aware of the circumstances of the ” jocelyn ” TRAFFIC VIOLENCE ” and not being in the US , i am surprised that so little is being done to honour a GUY that appears to have contributed so much to US Cycling !

    EACH Cyclist SKITTLED deserves a little more than a passing thought ! Even those that bring about their own demise , deserve to be more than the click of the counting mech !


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