Nick Frey’s DK200 DQ / Rider Safety

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I am been having fun riding and hanging out in Breckenridge with my friends.  So much fun I barely have anytime, or more accurately, need to be on a computer.   Computer time, to me, is individual time.  I’m hanging with a group.

Anyway, the DK200 was last weekend and I feel like I’m being remiss not posting on it.  But I’m still not posting on it.  I’m rushing to get everything ready to go do stuff.

Here is a link to Nick Frey’s disqualification from last weekends event.  Nick finished 6th, which is beyond good.  I received a bunch of emails from different guys giving me their thoughts.  Luckily for me, Nick happens to live in Breckenridge and I’m going to go for a ride with him this morning, just to catch up.  I’m sure the DQ will be a topic of conversation.

So, before I post on something that I’ve only heard 2nd hand, I’ll do a short post on a rider safety.

Tom Boonen made a statement at a special meeting in Belgium.He said “It is especially important that there is a change in mentality among cyclists. There is too much selfishness in the peloton, riders forget that they are responsible for the safety of others.”

That is something that has really changed in the sport since I began. The last recent years, racing here in the US has been getting more and more aggressive. Riders used to look out for other rider’s safety. That isn’t necessarily the case now. When I started racing, when there was incidental contact during a race, both the riders involved would get smaller. Now it is like what I encountered in New Zealand. People will be bigger, ie, throw an elbow and most likely curse. Totally uncalled for. It doesn’t do anything for the sport other than make it super dangerous and cost everyone a ton of money in equipment.

We’ve allowed this to happen. When we don’t DQ guys out of the Dauphiné when it is on camera, like what happened on stage 1, then it sends a really bad message to every rider in the world. Go ahead and instigate contact. That is what the pros do and that is bike racing. It isn’t.

Anyway, Nick Frey’s link above is worth reading. He covers lots of aspects of his particular situation and gravel racing in general. I’m going to take Tucker for a run then get out and about.

Nick doing a selfie at the DK last weekend.

Nick doing a selfie at the DK last weekend.

This guy was resting below the porch yesterday.

This guy was resting below the porch yesterday.

Tucker was so overwhelmed by chaos he went out tot the porch to decompress. 

38 thoughts on “Nick Frey’s DK200 DQ / Rider Safety

  1. Craig

    Nick’s blog post was a mixed bag for me. I actually enjoyed the first 3/4 of it and felt sympathetic. I get what he is saying completely and have come to similar conclusions – my riding buddies and I have kind of tossed the towel in on most gravel events because you pay for … well not a damn thing! When the events were $25 that was cool – they were kind of fun and adventurous. But like all things that go mainstream, the costs went up and the expected level of professionalism did too. The problem is that the Outlaw nature of them conflicts with the “rules”.
    Anyway, the last part of Nick’s post lost me … he went from being a guy who got caught up in the quirks of the rules and a couple of douches complaints to coming across as an indignant zealot … I am sure that wasn’t his intention but that is what it came across as.
    If he had just said, I got thrown under the bus by some guys who apparently needed their ego built up by tearing someone down. I disagree with the DQ but I get it. However, I won’t be coming back until these sorts of things get change but the event was amazing.
    Well, then I would have thought that this was a great post. As it was I went from enthused and sympathetic (since I agree with much of what he said) to sort of “let it go…”

    It will be interesting to read your take after you talk to him. Thanks Steve.

  2. Clifford

    Considering the situation the DQ seems to be overreaching. The photos from the start are also mind-blowing; it’s hard to believe how huge the race has become.

  3. RGT

    It’s confusing
    From the DK bible:
    #11……These checkpoints will be the only locations along the entire course where participants may receive assistance from their support crew. Receiving assistance from a support crew, or any other non- participant, at any other point along the route will result in immediate disqualification”

    #13 “Participants may stock up on food, water, and other supplies at stores and businesses along the route

  4. Mech9

    Thx for posting that RGT. Rule 11 clearly states it. No questions about that. Rule 13 is also pretty clear. It says “stores or businesses along the route” in which every rider would have equal access to. You wouldn’t want to be towards the end of the race though because I am sure the stores are sold out.

    The DQ is lame, but rules are rules. He should be more upset at the people that reported him than the DQ itself.

    This quote from his DQ blog:
    “Cycling and bikes are my life’s work, and I was just called a cheater when I was not only surviving, but doing what every single other person in my race was doing. ”
    Isn’t that basically the exact same quote that Lance and everyone else from the EPO era said?? How can I be a cheat when everyone else is doing it?

  5. Robert E

    That’s ridiculous that he should be DQed. Its such a long grueling event! There are all these nice locals along the way who enjoy the event and enjoy people riding through. This event is as much for them as it is the riders. Not to accept niceties along the way would be rude. With 200 hundred miles of that kind of riding there is a sort of randomness that sets in. After a while it just doesn’t matter.

  6. Krakatoa East of Java

    These are really dumb rules.

    Hydration and nutrition should be classified as something uniquely different from “other” forms of support. Imagine the scenario of a participant who is really strict on following published rules, happens to run out of water, keeps going (despite his/her better judgement) and then ends up either dead or in the hospital due to heat-related illness.

    All racers should bind together and ignore anything that might seek to restrict their access to water. Non-sanctioned or sanctioned. I can understand feed zone rules for the purposes of safety, but not for the purposes of restricting access for the purposes of making the race “harder”.

  7. John

    #11……These checkpoints will be the only locations along the entire course where participants may receive assistance from their support crew. Receiving assistance from a support crew, or any other non- participant, at any other point along the route will result in immediate disqualification”

    #13 “Participants may stock up on food, water, and other supplies at stores and businesses along the route

    There’s a potential gaping hole in these rules. Because someone could easily enter the race and either drop out or not even start (at this point they wouldn’t be “support crew” or “non-participant” as stipulated in Rule 11.

    Then this drop-out racer could go to ANY store or business along the way and simply “be nice” by giving another rider whatever that rider needed.

    Rule #13 does not state that participants must PURCHASE/OBTAIN supplies from said stores. It doesn’t state that the racer must enter said businesses to obtain their supplies. It simply says they may “stock up” on supplies.

    So technically speaking, my above scenario is legal and might have been a huge benefit at DK. It would have certainly violated the spirit of the rules, but not (IMO) the actual rules.

    Ain’t racing fun!?

  8. Here we go again

    I thought he was DQ’d for having a support vehicle on the course, not for taking a drink of water

  9. kurt

    I believe Nick was DQ’d for violation of Rule 12. His support crew was out on the course. It had nothing to do with the fact that he received water from a neutral source.

    Rule 12: Support Crews are NOT allowed on course, except to pick up a rider who is abandoning the event. If a support crew vehicle is spotted on course for any other reason, their rider will be disqualified. Providing support to a rider while on course goes against the self-sufficiency spirit of this event. It is unfair to other participants, and therefore will not be allowed.

  10. RGT

    I thought the DQ was for the water

    “….I had broken the rules, which as I read them were that I received outside assistance. In the haze of pain, dehydration, and suffering after this race, I thought only of black and white: I took water outside an aid zone. This is illegal. I broke the rules, I should be disqualified.”

  11. Emil Gercke

    I’m glad you are posting on this. I read Nick’s blog this morning and was hoping for your take on it as well as some needed clarity.

  12. Craig

    According to Nicks blog he didn’t have a support crew … hence his pillaging of other supplies

  13. Bill Brewster

    So the truck on course with the big BOO logo on the side being driven by Drew (Nick’s business partner at BOO) was a complete stranger to Nick? Seems unlikely.

  14. Mike Rodose

    If the DQ was for water, it’s too harsh of a punishment given the confusion of poorly written rules.

    If the DQ was for support vehicle, and he was also in the grey area of water/assistance, then yes, DQ is fair.

    Nick did not indicate anything about a support vehicle, so we need his take on that purported violation and cause for his DQ.

  15. Jon

    He was DQ’d for having a support vehicle on course. You can’t have a vehicle with the logo from your company on the course.

    “If a support crew vehicle is spotted on course for any other reason, their rider will be disqualified.” Seems pretty unambiguous.

    The attempt to turn this into “I was DQ’d for water” seems disingenuous and dishonest.

    Also the “I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus” then proceeds to throw everyone under the bus… nice.

    Also, I managed to finish without having a van with my company logo driving on the course. It’s possible.

  16. jpete

    I saw a different team bus stop on the road and open an ice chest on the back of their vehicle, outside the feed zone between stops two and three. I imagine this was a much more common cheat than people will admit to. Also, what qualifies as a neutral feed. if an elderly couple on the route is passing out water to anyone that wants it, that would seem pretty neutral to me. everyone with the same opportunity. I would say he deserves maybe a warning or a time penalty. DQ when there is no real prize money seems sort of weak. Did they take their pint glass back?

  17. James

    NF’s rambling blog post is complete bs. So full of speculation & I’m such a good guy that I need to defend myself.

    Drew was there to take pics, but not avail to you at the cps? Ok, pretty piss poor planing if thats the case…imo.

    But hey, he is on the course:
    “At one point, my partner Drew was taking photos of the race, of the countryside, the epic nature of the event, of me racing my Boo gravel bike…and I screamed at him for water. He gave me gummy worms as well. My two compatriots passed the water around, shared the worms, survived for some more miles. We stopped again at the top of a hill to get more support from race volunteers from a local town.”

    Well now Nick, there’s your DQ. Read the rules like the rest. Oh seriously like you didnt know that rule? And that water from the locals, that was available to all the riders. Where the Boo van was just for the yourself. You broke the rules, you got DQ’d. Go quietly into the night & let it go? Nope a SM fusulage of obsufrication & outright misinformation to cloud things up a bit.

    Yes the rules & event need to be changed? Nope. Just keep your crew, yes you had one, off the course.

  18. James

    Well the dq seems pretty impotant to him. I guess prize money isn’t everything?

    Keep your support vehicle off the course- clear as the bright Kansas sun!

  19. Carl Ring

    the idea that he didn’t know he needed a support crew & couldn’t afford one is ridiculous. It says so in bold letters on the Registration page. The crew for hire option is prominently listed and costs $75. If he couldn’t count on his business partner at the check points he could have just paid the $75 for crew support.

  20. Franz

    In USA Cycling races, I seldom have seen riders getting feeds outside of the feed zones. Probably because the riders know they can be disqualified for it. It seems that in gravel races some riders think they are less likely to be disqualified for violating rules since everything is a bit more unofficial.

  21. Barry

    From the Promoter (Jim Cummins) via Facebook:

    “Let me be very clear about one thing… Nick was NOT DQ’d because he received water while on course. Nick was DK’d because he clearly violated our rule book, and admitted to doing so. Rule No. 12 states… “Support Crews are NOT allowed on course, except to pick up a rider who is abandoning the event. If a support crew vehicle is spotted on course for any other reason, their rider will be disqualified. Providing support to a rider while on course goes against the self-sufficiency spirit of this event. It is unfair to other participants, and therefore will not be allowed.” Let me also be clear about another point… We do not consider Nick to be a “cheater”. Nick is an upstanding individual. Nick clearly admitted to us that he was ignorant of the rules. He also clearly admitted to us that ignorance of the rules is no excuse. Those are the facts.”

  22. voltron

    The DQ is about his partner having a vehicle on course, not about the other assistance. Several people in the race commented on seeing the Boo Bus on course, which is ultimately what caused the DQ

  23. JC

    I don’t know what is more depressing – Mr Frey thinking it was ok to have the boo bus following him around, or the folks complaining about it, and asking him to be DQed.

  24. The Cyclist

    Been saying over and over again guys like Bouhanni don’t belong in the sport. But whatever…

  25. Craig

    I redact all of my previous comments … with this information it is pretty damn clear that he was in violation of the rules. Company van on course and accepting supplies from it is a clear violation … of every gravel event I have ever done.

  26. Leland Rusk

    A) he clearly broke the rules with a support car on the course.
    B) support cars on the course will TOTALLY RUIN what is one of the greatest events in the world.

  27. Jeff

    I have a feeling that folks would have taken a different approach had the vehical not been a rolling billboard.

  28. Brad

    I may be wrong, but i dont’t think the intention of the Dirty Kanza was ever to turn it into a road race. It was conceived by mountain bikers, and run like a mountain bike event. Road racers have taken to it because their strengths are well suited to the event. In it’s early years, (I rode the 2nd dirty kanza) there were only aid stations at checkpoints. You carried what you needed, paper route map, compass, lights, food and water. Of course to keep from dying of dehydration you could pick up water at a farm house not that there were a lot of them. The mindset of trying to win the dirty kanza misses the point, and the nature of the event. Gravel grinder types will whine about these top tier athletes coming in and going all type A on what had a mountain bike vibe. It’s the classic mountain vs road rider battle. DK is in a unique position, the only comparison really is Leadville, and i remember when Lance and Dave were racing there was the same sentiment surrounding the event. I personally would like to see the event remain loose, with the prize being personal bests, and of course a pint glass.

  29. nick_is_a_joke

    Now we know the level of dishonesty Nick is perfectly willing to use.

    What. a. tool.

  30. Jeff K

    Steve, I appreciate your attempt to present a balanced view point while supporting a fellow rider. I do not doubt that Nick is a good guy. I don’t believe what he did was pre-meditated. Apparently, neither was his participation in the ride and that is why I take issue with his rant; especially considering it wasn’t his first year at the event.
    Nick disrespected what I feel is the spirit of the Dirty Kanza 200 and similar gravel grinds. It is about preparing body and bike and then attempting the challenge of the ride per the rules while enjoying the outdoors.
    I am not sure how Nick gained entrance to DK this year, but for most of us it meant being on our computers early on registration day to ensure our entrance. That was the first step of preparing for the ride. Of course, you could enter by signing up with CTS, etc.
    Finding support isn’t difficult. You can go through Dirty Kanza’s site, coaching services, or through some of the regional bike shops. Hop on a blog and post your need as others did and help will probably be offered. My support crew (wife, in-laws, & friend) even provided spontaneous help to others on the day of the race, maybe it was to Nick. Riders come from multiple nations and states prepared. The entry fees are what they are – paying the associated expenses of conducting the ride and supporting the DK organizers, for whom the ride has become a full time job. If you don’t like them, don’t ride the event. Nick can probably write them off as a business expense. I don’t find them out of line for providing an exciting event in the unique tall grass prairie.
    I am not a racer. I am a club rider, like most of the other participants who enjoy pushing themselves beyond their normal comfort zone. Yes, the DK200 is a race, but for most it is a ride of personal challenge and we prepare to participate in it according to the rules which are presented clearly from the beginning and are of which we are reminded often. On the day of the ride, Nick received an advantage not open to all others. Label it as you like. Being DQ’d was appropriate. Most would not have even paid attention, except Nick forced it on us. If Nick was worried about how his performance would affect his reputation, he should have been prepared.


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