Nick Frey getting DQ’d at The Dirty Kanza 200

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The last couple days I’ve received a lot of emails, from lots of friends, and people I didnt’ know, about Nick Frey being DQ’d from the Dirty Kanza last Saturday. It is a very divisive subject for those personally involved. I’m not personally involved, but I can see both sides of the issue. Maybe not even both sides, since there are way more than just 2 sides.

I had the pleasure of going for a couple hour MTB ride with Nick yesterday in Breckenridge and hear his view. It is pretty much the same view as he posted on his blog, minus the ending rant.

From the comments yesterday, the posts on Facebook and all the other social media, a lot of people are riled. Riled by the DQ or riled by him “whining” about it. IMO, he wasn’t whining, he was venting. And others were riled about him being disqualified.

Dirty Kanza is just down the road from me. Lots of my friends, guys I ride with on a daily basis, did the event. The race started as a grassroots, self-supported gravel race, way before gravel grinders became popular. Since it is 200 miles, got an early start, has epic views and conditions, etc. it is considered the “go to” gravel race.

Here’s the deal. The race is going through growing pains. Pains is probably not the right word.  And this is just one of those things. DQ’ing Nick is really inconsequential in any picture. It wasn’t a lifetime achievement for Nick, other than it will probably be ingrained into his brain forever now. He finished 6th. He wasn’t having a good day. Do you think the guys that moved from 8th to 7th or 9th to 8th are all stoked? I doubt it. Maybe the guys that finished 11th or 21st are a little happier, but, in reality, it really doesn’t matter. For most, this race is for life experience, not results.

One thing the disqualification does is bring the issue to the forefront. I am not much into rules. The less rules to break, the less hassles surrounding events. I remember having an encounter with Dewey Dickie at the finish of Chequamegon one year. Gary Crandell “ruled” I had entered the event and was wearing a helmet, so he didn’t see a rule he broke.

But, there are rules at the DK. It is supposed to be self supported. Leading up to the race, I got emails for lots of people from throughout the country hoping I could help them find some support for the DK. Travelling to the event is expensive enough, but paying for a support crew makes it pretty costly. I understand that guys could have paid the race something like $75 and buy support. I don’t know what that entailed, but that was/is an option.

I talked to Nick a bunch about his issue and his take on it. Let me tell you, Nick is a good guy. I met him a long time ago when he was racing out of Iowa and he has always been on my good guy list. He is smart, articulate and fun to be around. I doubt anyone that reads this post would not agree with me on this. Yesterday was no different. He rode over from his house and met us. And he had a blast riding on his local trails. He likes/loves riding bikes and just living the life. We went by his house afterward to powerspray our bikes.

I think of what perturbs Nick is a couple things. One that he thinks by being DQ’d he is being labeled a cheater. That is wrong. He wasn’t cheating. He honestly didn’t know the rules. Admittedly, that was his fault. Again, IMO, he wasn’t doing the race to win. He was doing it because of the challenge. He had gotten married just a couple weeks earlier and hadn’t prepared properly. (As if I would know how to prepare for it either.) And his support crew was non-existent. He was disqualified for either taking a bottle from a guy he knew or because a van with a Boo magnetic label was on the course. Both of these infractions “required” disqualification. Officially.

And I think that is the crux of the issue. It is a grassroots-type gravel race. Getting disqualified from an event like this wouldn’t sit well with any ex-professional bike racer. It is funny because a lot of the posts I’ve read about the subject seem to put some negative spin on his past. Being a professional bike racer has nothing to do with the circumstances here. And DQ’ing a rider from the event isn’t something that the promoters, Jim, Tim, & Kristi want to deal with. This isn’t part of grass-roots bike racing.

Even though Nick says it, I’m not sure that Nick wouldn’t have finished without a handup at mile 70 or where ever his infraction occurred. He doesn’t really know. Someone would have given something I’d think. And I am absolutely positive that many of the other guys in the top 20, like probably the majority, took feed out of the feed stations.

And that is the rub. Say that Nick stopped at “his” support van, (wasn’t supporting him) and then 5 other guys stopped with him. He broke the rules and the other guys didn’t. Because their support vehicles weren’t on the course and they didn’t know who they were getting the feeds from. It would be the same as getting water from a farmer’s hose. Just because a guy on the side of the road is handing out water from a Boo labeled van, it isn’t a violation, other to Nick.

And as Nick says, he gave what he got “illegally” to the guys he was riding with. And they probably witnessed him taking the feeds. Should they be DQ’d too, knowing that the feed was illegal? I say no. Nick is like a money launderer in this regard. The dirty money stops with Nick.

I could go on and on giving examples and trying to explain the situations. Here’s the deal.

I think these races are like golf. You call your own fouls. There aren’t officials out there policing the sport. The beauty of the DK200 is riding out in the Flint Hills in Central Kansas, in the middle of nowhere. On gravel, with very, very few vehicles on the road. The rule about not having support on the roads is because of this. It is unique and the experience wouldn’t be the same without the “no support” rule.

Nick, self admittedly, didn’t know the rules. after the fact, he found a discrepancy between the written rules and the verbal ones given at the pre-race meeting. He didn’t read the written ones. He thinks that the race has morphed from a small grass-roots event to a major event, which isn’t a stretch. He believes that the rules need to be clarified. Even though I dislike rules, I agree. And he believes that there needs to be neutral support at the 3 aid stations on the course. I agree again. I wouldn’t want to go to the NYC Marathon and expect to have to supply my own support for nutrition. For us Kansans, it isn’t a big deal. We get friends to come and give us a hand. But if you’re flying in from other states, or even from other countries, it would be nice not to have to pony up an extra $75 to get some waters and gels.

The race is to the point of where it could even make money for the nutritional supplement supplier for the event. That is a win/win for all involved. I do understand that some of the attraction, for many of the riders, is the planning for the support. Carrying the right equipment, riding the correct tires, planning for every situation that might occur is something, understandable, to be proud of. I am big on race prep. And this race involves big race prep, as it is currently run.

I wrote the above part last night before I was contacted by Jim Cummins. He is the promoter of DK. I talked for him awhile last night. Jim explained pretty much exactly what I wrote above. He said that Nick was DQ’d for having a support vehicle on course. When you take the feeding out of the issue, it really becomes less cloudy. The reasons behind not having vehicles on the course are important and need to be adhered to.

He explained that if you supplied neutral feeds that riders wouldn’t necessarily bring support, which is important in case that the rider can’t complete the race. He said that nearly 40% of the entries DNF’d, which is a big number, but not by DK standards. Some years it is over 50% I think. Trying to remove those guys from all places on a 200 mile loop would be nearly impossible for the promoter. Thus the rule that you need to bring or have support. It makes sense.

And not having support vehicles on the course, other than the appointed feed stations, is key to a successful event.

Nick obviously didn’t understand the reasons behind this. I really didn’t until Jim explained it. Neutral feeds wouldn’t alleviate the abandonment issue.

Anyway, I think the whole thing got totally blown out of proportion. Nick did write his epic about his situation. He needed to, I think. No matter that the result wasn’t important to him, the accomplishment, personal accomplishment, of riding completely wasted for the majority of the race is something important.  This whole thing probably wouldn’t have even happened with Boo magnetic sign on the side of the van.  That isn’t an excuse, it is just an observation.

Nick didn’t cheat. Cheating implies intention. He had not intention. I don’t think whatever happened out there changed the results the least. But, it did change the experience. Not by much, but a lot of people saw the van with a Boo sign on it. People that had read the rulebook and knew it wasn’t supposed to be their. And it bothered them. Bothered them enough to say something about it. That is fair. And, I have to say the end result was fair too.

Setting a precedent for rule that is important and right. I told Jim that this publicity is only good for the race. The race is hard. It is hard for all the riders, from 1st to last, to the 40% that didn’t complete the course. It shouldn’t be taken lightly.

I think that Nick learned a lesson here. I think the issue is pretty much over. After all this, I’m thinking I need to experience this all myself next year. I hope to be riding with Nick and some other friends. That would be a blast.

Nick point out to Catherine where we were riding earlier.

Nick point out to Catherine where we were riding earlier.

Out on the Peak's Trail above Breckenridge.

Out on the Peak’s Trail above Breckenridge.

Nick builds bamboo bicycle frames, Boo Cycles.

Nick builds bamboo bicycle frames, Boo Bicycles.

This photo would look completely different with a bunch of cars in it.

This photo would look completely different with a bunch of cars in it.

Nikola and Tucker out running with Vincent yesterday.

Nikola and Tucker out running with Vincent yesterday.

84 thoughts on “Nick Frey getting DQ’d at The Dirty Kanza 200

  1. numbnuts

    got any write ups on that bamboo bike? was looking at those some time back… they look interesting!

  2. numbnuts

    just read the race write-up, looks like a wickedly difficult race – 200miles… ouch! I’ve done quite a few 100 milers (S100, W101, M100 etc..) – love those races (
    to be disqualified for some simple error is stupidity…

    interesting about how races are being bought up by china, wtf..
    too many races are getting commercialized now, shame… love grass root races.

  3. Joe C

    Neutral support is a safety issue. I’m surprised the insurance company providing liability insurance for the event doesn’t insist on it.

  4. Shano

    I’ve been one of “the other guys” in a grassroots endurance MTB race. lugging all my gear for a long day on a single speed and seeing one of the fast guys pass me halfway in and meet his g/f in her car, freshen up, dump the jacket, fresh bottles and cheerfully accept his 3rd place finish at the end. I’m sure he’s a really nice guy too but he’s a cheater and that just sucks seeing this while you’re racing, doing the right thing and playing fair.
    I think it’s just like driving your car in the bike lane- perfectly legal unless you get caught. A lot of people just have no clue what ethics and fairness mean. Not saying Nick is one of these types, sounds like a nice guy but he cheated whether intent was there or not

  5. Colin

    > He explained that if you supplied neutral feeds that riders wouldn’t necessarily bring support, which is important in case that the rider can’t complete the race.

    I am a bit skeptical that an event with 1800 racers should be encouraging 1800 support crews, or that support crews are making a significant impact on the DNF rate. Never done Kanza but I’ve done many NUE 100 milers with 400 racers, tons of DNFs, drop bags and neutral feeds/checkpoints — not totally clear to me why this model doesn’t scale to 200 gravel miles and 1800 racers, or at least, doesn’t scale better than “everyone should have a support crew.”

    It’s also possible that I just totally don’t understand how support crews and checkpoints work at DK, so if the promoter says it’s the best solution, I should probably trust him, huh?

  6. Lisa

    Unfortunately I’ve seen first hand actually cheaters at the dk….in the first year saw a bunch of bikers loading thier bikes: assuming they were quitting. Later passed them again while they were on their bike! Whatever…it’s an awesome experience and they know what they did.

  7. Pete A

    To me all seems “much ado about nothing”. Sorry he comes off a bit of a whinner after it all. These events in my perspective are about participating and not the competition. For that the MTB, Road Races, CX, track all provide a darn even playing field for competing. All have comprehensive Rules and regulations.

    But jumping in to beat a bunch of paticipants versus competing in a truly “competive ” arena is weak. Then to go “large” on social media as a result of not knowing (who choice was to not read the rules?) and thus not adhering to the rules is lower than weak.

    Move on.

  8. Uncle Chainwhip

    Dickey……..whatta tool.
    These kids are just getting soft, when i started racing, no feeds were allowed until 100km—-and then it was often an ‘attack zone’.
    Pro are worse, a dozen teammmates, can’t carry their own water, lounging in a caravan of 100+ cars and getting chicked in TT’s.
    As for me, i still race with a pump and spare and use body fat to get to the finish.

  9. Bill K

    There are rules, and then there are rules.
    A guy on our team got DQ’s from his race, because, after the race, he got his street clothes back on, and rode back to the wheel pit without his helmet on….Stupid, yes…..but DQ????

  10. Craig

    Steve, come on. It is only cheating with intent????? This echo’s some of your other posts about the center line rule, etc. Nope, you break a rule, knowledgeable or not, it is cheating. Let’s take it one step further. I show up because my friends invite me. I always ride an e-bike because I am fat and old. I don’t read the rules and so gladly ride my e-bike. Am I cheating? Hmm, I am on low-T therapy, legitimately. I show up at a race not knowing that I cannot do that. Am I cheating?

    Intent impacts the severity of the event … everything I do in life always has the disclaimer – ignorance of the rules is NOT a defense.

    On the other hand, this whole issue has kind of spiraled out of control … I am sure Nick is a cool guy, he got dinged and life goes on.

  11. Max Berlin

    Know the rule book and the rules. Twice in my racing career I was cheated out of wins where the rules were made on the fly by the race organizers. The officials were either as naive as I or as corrupt as the event. If you aren’t familiar with the rules and have a rule book to point to you’re SOL.

  12. Spartacus

    This whiny bitch is trying to save his own rep for fucking up a feed and breaking rules where?, at what is basically an organized offroad club run? Fuck off you fucking wanker NF. Just fucking ride your bike you pussy.

    End Rant-

  13. James

    Great another vip call up. Hopefully JC will stop that unfair bs advantage. Me, I had to be warmed up & in line at 5:30. Only to watch 60 odd ass hats roll up the sides. 20 or 80 into the first corner, think it made a difference? Neutral means neutral, which means you don’t advance position.

  14. Krakatoa East of Java

    I had a literal “front line” starting position at the 1987 Rosarito-Ensenada bike ride. I guess we’d call that a fondo now. 19,000 participants. I even have a photo of my friend and me at the starting line. Now, I realize that it’s not really a “race”, but trust me, people certainly treated it that way.

    I was always in the lead group (a mish-mash of SoCal and local Mexican racers of various categories), but during most of the 50 mile distance, we were overtaking lots of other people with “official” numbers who either chose to start early, or just ride less than the whole distance. Up the “La Mission” climb, we passed dozens of them. When our group was coming in at the end, we saw different guys ahead of us raising their arms in triumph. There were so many people cheating, they couldn’t even sort themselves out from each other. It was a huge farce (but still a fun one). What did I care? My friend and I had a grand time drinking beers with some hot girls whose boyfriends were still slugging it out on the course.

    The moral of my story is that there is never a shortage of cheaters out there, and that they often do it openly and without even a sheepish hint of shame. And they’ll gladly accept the award at the end (and brag about it the rest of their lives).

  15. Barb

    I disagree of your labeling his need to survive as “he cheated”. Clarified in his blog was he was on the ragged edge of dehydration the entire time and per his blog statement “So when I started DK on Saturday, my intentions were in no way planned to require outside assistance.” eliminates the dishonesty aspect of cheating. Please view the formal definition of “cheating.”
    verb, gerund or present participle: cheating
    1.act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or examination.

    To address the ” to gain an unfair advantage” aspect of the definition of cheating, given that he was accepting water because he was dehydrated and described his condition throughout the event as barely holding onto the ragged edge, if not for the water he took, in goal was no to “gain anunfair advantage” he was thinking all he wanted to do was survive and was surprised himself that he even finished. Also taking into account that the main reason for the DQ was due to a vehicle on the course which he also didn’t plan or premeditate. Quite possibly the van driver was unaware he wasn’t supposed to be there either, but that’s a moot point because we don’t know. I wouldn’t exactly call that taking “support” with the intention to gain an unfair advantage. As Steve posted, this race is so difficult it’s not about results, it’s about the experience. It’s more about surviving and finishing than winning.
    So I err on the side of NOT labeling Mr. Frey a “cheater” that’s a really ugly label that can follow people around and ruin their reputation, and in this case it would cause serious damage over a minor issue, that was a violation out of ignorance and serious need, not what you’re labeling it as. It’s not like he had a van waiting behind a tree with a blood transfusion or a designer form of EPO. Like Steve said, this situation was blown way out of proportion, and labeling Mr. Frey a cheater is like killing a fly with a hammer. It’s just completely uncalled for and out of proportion to the reason for the DQ.

  16. Barb

    Question: How many years was the duration of his pro career in road racing, where not once was he ever found to have “cheated?” It does not make sense that after so many years of a clean reputation, he would risk everything and knowingly “cheat” in a ride like the DK. It just doesn’t make sense, in other words saying he cheated makes no sense either. But there are always rock throwers out there who love the power and the nefarious thrill of labeling and attacking someone, and making their attack public to rally others to support their position.

  17. Robert

    I don’t think you would be as kind if he was not your friend. Like JC said, he was dq’ed for support vehicle on course, clearly stated as a no no in the rulebook As for not knowing the rules, that’s bs…he did the event the year prior, rules haven’t changed since then. Bottom line he is trying to save face with a host of weak excuses and a sniviling blog post to blame everyone but himself and then having his bulldog wife post on facebook to try and arm chair attorney the rules. My opinion is that he just stay away from the event in the future. We don’t need whiney ex pro’s trying to change the rules to suit their shortcomings.

  18. Just someone

    I didn’t bring spare tubes, plugs, sealant, inflators, or a pump, so I could travel light.

    It’s not my fault that a van owned by the sponsor I wear on my jersey happened to be right there when I needed a new wheel. So I could finish.

  19. TG

    At the rider’s meeting they were clear that if you’re support was on course, the rider would be DQ’d. Sounds like this may have been more the driver’s error than Nick’s.

    “neutral” help on course was pretty scare- I only saw one family handing out water- pretty hard to pass up water when you are in trouble

  20. Bernie Flanders

    I just looked at results for 2015, Nick HAS competed in DK previously, but still doesn’t understand rules?

    Nowhere in his blog does he mention he had a vehicle on course for support. It took replies from racers who were there to reveal that nugget.

    Finally we get confirmation today from Tilford that it was that infraction for which he was DQ’d.

    My district rep told me a looooong time ago, “bike racers aren’t very smart”. Friggin words of wisdom there!

    This dude should be banned from the event for at least a year for endangering other riders(no vehicles on the course).

    Having done DK last year and this years actions show that he has a cheaters mindset, and the fact that he tells half truths is equal to being a liar in my book.

    And Tilford… As usual, supporting the darker part of the grey area.

    There are so many self serving a-holes in cycling I’m ashamed to tell people my racing history, feel bad about winning, and don’t even like to race anymore…

    Nick, your shit is weak-ass. Go away.

  21. nick_is_a_joke

    I talked to Nick a bunch about his issue and his take on it. Let me tell you, Nick is a good guy. I met him a long time ago when he was racing out of Iowa and he has always been on my good guy list. He is smart, articulate and fun to be around

    And when the going gets tough for ol’ Nick he tries to reframe the issue and throw everything but the kitchen sink in to confuse the matter.

    A good guy would not mince words. The van should not have been on course.

  22. Fausto

    I understand that he is concerned that someone will look at the results and think of him as a cheater and that hurts his reputation and feelings on what he sees as a grey area. For the sake of his bike company image maybe he should have just accepted it gracefully and could have clarified his infraction w/o attitude instead of a rant. All he is doing is dragging his company through the mud that he and his partner worked so hard to conquer. The people he has riled up will forget his name but not the fact that the guy at Boo very well may be taking things a bit too seriously. For the race promoters it is simple, they don’t want this to be Paris Roubaix with moneyed teams driving all over the course to support their riders for the win.

  23. SM

    I don’t have a horse in this race, but in my opinion “holding onto the ragged edge” and “just surviving” doesn’t get you 6th place out of over 1500 racers. If you are hurting that bad, let off of the throttle and drop back to a group you can keep up with….

  24. scotty

    between the check points it’s a self supported race. he broke the rules. end of story. if he did so out of ignorance it doesn’t make him a bad guy. he should stop bitching about it online and move on.

    this has happened before in ultra events, riders taking support from vehicles or friends on the course. It came up a decade ago when one of the country’s top pros showed up to a NUE series event with a chase truck that provided replacement wheels, hand ups, etc.

    the fact that this isn’t allowed is exactly what makes these races unique, and it’s why so many people find them a refreshing change compared to what has happened with amateur road and XC mtb racing.

  25. James

    Sort of like Nick throwing the whole race under the bus because he can’t read the rules? Rules, which by cking the sign in box, he did read. Real “pro”! Just take your pill & call it a day? Nope the race is now the problem? No, the vehicle on the course is the first & only problem. End of story Nick & all your pals with thr anti anything not usac in the first place bias.

  26. Robert Brudenell

    Spot on. I’ll vouch for Nick’s good natured character too. With all he’s accomplished in cycling, his education, his personal life, and in business, he doesn’t need to start a fight for a 6th place finish for his palmares. And he sure didn’t foresee the firestorm, nor does he deserve all the hateful words, just the reprimand for breaking a rule. There are plenty of real bad guys in cycling to hate, Nick is not one of them.

  27. Erik Mathy

    Just one clarification, Steve, on this: “I understand that guys could have paid the race something like $75 and buy support. I don’t know what that entailed, but that was/is an option.”

    That money isn’t paid to the race. While the race collects that for the sake of ease during the event registration, the money in reality goes to the Never Let Go Fund (NLGF) who runs the neutral support program. The NLGF is a non-profit based in Emporia. All the proceeds from that go to fund local families whose kids are in the midst of treatment for cancer. It helps offset medical and cost of living expenses. I don’t know what this year’s tally is, but in the last two years they’ve raised in the area of $30,000.

    You can read a bit more about what they do for the riders, which goes beyond “just some water and gels”, here:

    Anyways, I hope this clarifies things a bit. Thanks for writing the post. It’s helping cool people’s jets off, or at least I think it is.

    – Erik

  28. Robert B

    If your going to personally attack someone like that at least be man enough to use your real name not hid behind some snarky Pseudo-name so we can see your proud racing palmares. Are you really Belgian? If so, then you should understand the “grey areas” of cycling like Belgians do. And yes, I am Belgian and my great uncle was a champion of Flanders, Benelux, and Belgium and has coached/mentored several pros you would know.

    The rule Nick broke is nothing compared to anonymous trolls bringing cycling down hiding from behind their keyboards.

  29. Uncle S

    Loosing a lot of cred on this stance stevie t.
    1) for once it seemed like there was a clear stance on a subject on your blog. Frey in one way or another violated the rules, but a ride in the mountains with him ( i think pictures indicated, he pointed out where the boos truck was stationed, and showed how he had always wanted to be a surfer in the late 1980’s) outweighed logic or journalistic objectivity( we know, you’ve been racing since you were 7 years old, and you can’t spell check as your typing and railing down an iowa highway in a van that needs two weeks work in a western auto)
    2) you fed the “levi’s” out there when you pick and choose your villans, and the rules in which you feel important enough to enforce.
    3) If frey was racing for the “experience”, and was feeling the pain and flirtations with death that he was experincing, then perhaps he should have just spent more time at those designated “refill” areas. Plop down at one of the 126 casey’s in rural kansas, get one of their pizzas and talk to a farmer about how unseasonbly high rain falls have effected this years harvest. Grab some gummy worms and gatorade on the way out, and set your sights on the next stopping point, with life experiences a plenty!

    But no, he was racing for the win, or the very least a podium, but none the less he was racing.
    The majority are not racing, they are there for their reasons. For the challenge.
    Nobody wants rules, but rules constitute races.
    You want the experience, without the rules?
    Those same roads are open with no interpretation 364 days a year, go ride them with nick fury and tell us about the “experiences”.

  30. Krakatoa East of Java

    I think Nick simply had a traumatic physical experience (despite his high placing in the event), and is probably more concerned with that than he was with the disqualification. It sounds like the conditions were truly brutal, and he’s really more concerned about subjecting that many riders to a situation where they really have very few options available for hydration and nutrition. I don’t think this is about his being DQ’d as much as it is about the promoter providing a better way for riders to stay healthy.

    Once, in a race, I came dangerously close to toppling over (dead). I was that dehydrated, and going south VERY quickly. I suppose that quitting was an option, but I was out on a hilly, hot race course, all alone and out of water. I just had no choice but to keep pedaling and take my eventual position on the podium. There was no lead / following vehicle, and no bystanders to lean on.

    But if someone had pulled-up next to me in a pickup truck during those final miles and said “hey bud, you look like you’re in a bad way, want a Gatorade?” I’d have gladly traded my soon-to-be-awarded state championships medal for that Gatorade… or I’d have taken whatever risk, as I just needed the drink that badly. And yes, there was a feed zone in my event. My breakaway companion chose that place to attack, and I had no choice but to gun it. I lost contact AND I lost my opportunity for hydration and food. Had I taken a Gatorade from the guy in the truck, would I have been a cheater? I guess some people think so. Myself? Based on my experiences, I think that when the conditions warrant, racers should be encouraged to hydrate as often as possible, so long as doing so does not endanger the safety of others. We need some rules on the books that are there to support our health.

  31. Krakatoa East of Java

    It’s a bit hard to quit (or stop and rest for) an event like this when you’re in the top-ten. Just ask the guy who was in 2nd. I’m sure that it wasn’t easy to admit to himself that he was in need of abandoning.

  32. Mike

    But Nick has cheated before. I raced against Nick in college. At one crit (I think it might have been a race in Princeton), he missed the first few laps, hopped in later, and ended up winning the race. The officials caught it and DQ’d him.

  33. James

    Plenty of opportunities for water wo Nick’s or your ‘concern’ for the event. However, I’d be more concerned about the BOO bus coming over a blind hill

  34. Mike

    Nick and his wife really didn’t help their case by saying things like “follow my argument, if you can…” and then later referring to the same individual as a “simple person” who is letting their emotions get in the way of logic, all the while arguing over a rule which wasn’t actually what got Nick DQ’d. Or Nick referring to himself as a “man on the cross.”

    And then my favorite part was when Nadiya, who runs a coaching business, stated “Lesson of the day – please mind your own business and if you cannot be as good as someone else, please quit and stop trying”. That sounds like wonderful advice from a coach. “IF YOU CANNOT BE AS GOOD AS SOMEONE ELSE, PLEASE QUIT AND STOP TRYING”.

  35. Brudenracer

    I’ve got a mountain bike built by Boo and I’ve raced it in several 100 mile events and other shorter events. What I can say is the bike is super comfortable, even on long rides. I’m sure how or why but the bamboo must soak up small vibrations and dampen the effect, because I can ride longer on that bike with less fatigue. I think that is why Nick was riding the gravel event to showcase where bamboo bikes shine brightest. I’ve loaned my bike out to several of my buddies and they all have come back smiling and bewildered how a bamboo bike can ride so nice.

  36. James

    He may want to revist the ‘education’ because he doesn’t understand squat in the age of SM marketing. This shit storm would make a textbook course in how to NOT manage your brand by leveraging social media. But I suppose all his pals calling for a DK ban are potentially BOO customers? Hell who Boo knew 😉

  37. Mike Rodose

    Nick is guilty of breaking the rules. DQ is justified. To argue if he cheated, or just broke the rules doesn’t seem important.

    But, Nick’s own storyblog didn’t mention his DQ was for, or included, Vehicle violations. Not just for illegal feeds.

    Nick needs to apologize for breaking the rules (unknowingly, of course), and commit to the DK 2017 in compliance of the rules.

    Podium is an absolute possibility for Nick on that Sweet Boo. Just lose the entourage and focus on the race, not the Boobike business while racing.

  38. Pingback: Dirty Lessons - Takeaways from Dirty Kanza | MBR Blog

  39. Jim

    I agree, he probably doesn’t need the hateful words but we also need the “straight” from him. Read his article again and then tell me where he mentions the real reason for his DQ.

  40. James

    Oh that really is special. BOO rule #1: if you can’t be as good as someone else, just quit.
    #2. Rules? Who needs rules?
    #3. And BOO rule numero uno, get your wife to blog your battles. Precious!

  41. Mike Rodose

    Is this documented anywhere? If so, what race and date? Important information.

  42. channel_zero

    What hateful words? If Nick was such a good guy after a DQ, the post would have read “Van was on course. I broke the rules. It won’t happen again if the organizer will have me back.”

    But, noooo. We got every half-@ssed excuse he could imagine. That’s weak. Weak athlete. Weak human.

  43. Not a Roadie Tool

    Steve, your write on this is nothing but glorifying the word “cheat” for your friend. The fact he felt entitled to publicly rant about it furthers the how pompous he really is. If anyone on this earth should be conscious of there being rules, it’s a former Pro racer. I love how you say it’s becoming overblown, when it is Nick himself that made it overblown in the first place. I guess birds of a feather and all.

    He cheated. No big. But because HE drew attention to it to it in a very self righteous way, it has now made it big. He made his bed, took a big publicly aired shit in it, and now has to roll around in it. That’s life.

  44. Larry T

    So much for these semi-organized gravel “races” being the last bastion of cycling fellowship, camaraderie, sporting values, etc. Some guy tries to use the event to get PR for his bike operation and it all turns into a bitch-fest. These folks should find another way to stroke up their weak egos – does every gawdamn cycling activity have to be a race with winners and losers? As they say, SHUT UP AND RIDE!

  45. Michael Lemberger

    I respectfully disagree, Steve. While I respect his accomplishments as a road racer, Nick clearly does not understand the gravel ethos. Yes, most of gravel events are their own thing; it’s not just road racing on unpaved roads. Because they’re held on open roads in remote areas, outside support isn’t practical or allowed for safety reasons—both for the racers and the local residents. Having done a bunch of these, I think it’s a good system. It coincidentally forces riders to prepare differently, and changes the nature of these events into tests of not only physical ability, but also individual will and resourcefulness.

    Nick failed in this regard. He admits he showed up for this one unprepared. He admits he took assistance from someone he knew, outside the areas designated in the rules. He admits he knew that outside support was not allowed. Whether or not we call this cheating, he earned his DQ. To this point, I have lost no respect for him. We’re human. We make mistakes. Ideally, we own those mistakes.

    Here’s what really bothers me: hundreds and hundreds of riders took the line in Emporia that day prepared to go 200 miles within the bounds of the rules that had been set forth by the organizers. They willingly paid their money, got their bikes and persons ready, they went out and faced daunting obstacles and had a great time doing it. A friend of mine and his wife rode the tandem division, having arranged the allowed support months in advance, having read the rules and gone to the rider meeting, and having followed the rules for the entire course of the race. They won, and earned their win. Hundreds and hundreds of people who will never know the glory of a podium made very similar preparations and similarly followed all of the rules.

    Why bother if there’s no chance of winning? Because for us, these sorts of events aren’t just about hammering from start to finish. They aren’t about winning by any means necessary. We do them to test ourselves in the face of adversity. We do them, at the risk of sounding corny, for the honor. Maybe have a look at Janeen McCrae’s DK report from a couple of years ago to get a sense of what I mean.

    This is what Nick clearly does not understand, and my hope is that the gravel racing community will reject his argument that the DK and races like it need to change to become more like road races. Many of us like gravel events just the way they are.

  46. Doug

    I provided support for a rider 2x at DK200.

    During the drive from Denver to Emporia, I read and re-read the rules more than a few times. If it’s that important to Nick to not be labeled a cheater, he should take the time to read the rules. No special treatment because he’s busy. He had 7+ hours of driving to read them, right?

    Otherwise, just take it like a man and use it as a life’s lesson.

  47. Amy Hinrichs

    “Nick, self admittedly, didn’t know the rules. after the fact, he found a discrepancy between the written rules and the verbal ones given at the pre-race meeting. He didn’t read the written ones.”

    He admitted to not going to a rider’s meeting either so how would he know there was a discrepancy?
    As for your “$75 for some water and some gels” comment, I would appreciate if you actually researched what you were talking about before making such a bold asinine statement. We, the Never Let Go fund provide food, like Subway and grilled foods, as well as full rider support, cleaning bikes, glasses and such. Not to mention the extreme moral encouragement many riders need to make it from checkpoint to checkpoint. And yes, we’ve even been known to give damn good back/leg rubs. We are all offended by your less than knowledgeable statement. If you need to know exactly what toe of charity we are, see Erik’s comment. In the future please remember that one tiny statement can make you look like a heartless jerk. I will pray for you and hope to god no child in your family ever has to fight a beast like cancer… Because we help families that are in this fight. A bike race disqualification is baby shit compared to cancer in case you didn’t know.

  48. Bryan Barber

    I don’t know anything about the guy except for reading his post after reading Ted Kings’ and yours.
    That fact that he has an Ivy education and is “articulate” as you say, only increases the degree of of contempt I’m now feeling.
    That guy is, quite simply, a pretentious, self-righteous douche. I would be embarrassed and ashamed if anyone I ride with, acted that way.

  49. David N

    I watched the neutral stations and was pretty sure they were better than most every other support crew that I saw! Several top 20 guys rolled in and out just as fast as ol’ Teddy King. The volunteers would have the drop bag before the rider even had a chance to dismount, 1 volunteer would hold the bike, 1 volunteer would help stuff nutrition and find things in the bag, 1 was changing out water bottles, and 1 was lubing chain…. It was like a NASCAR pit stop! Great work to you guys, and for such a great cause.

    It’s a shame Nick talked out of his ass on this. He really did come off completely clueless while trying to manipulate his readers with half truths…

  50. Dan Hughes

    I believe the rider that was DQed in the 100 mile event cut the course (perhaps unintentionally) by about 10 miles. After reviewing her ride data and some deep soul-searching, she contacted the race organizers and let them know of her error.

  51. Mike

    Jim Cummins has very clearly stated in FB comment threads, to Steve Tilford (which Steve included here), and I’m fairly confident to Nick directly that he was DQ’d for having a car on the course.

    In a Facebook comment late in the day on June 11, Nick is still saying “I was officially DQ’ed for ‘outside support’, NOT for having a vehicle on course.”

    Nick seems to be so certain that he is correct that he has stopped listening to the basic facts.

  52. Joe Kopena

    This story is accurate. As conference director, I was the one that had to try explain to Nick immediately after that race that he can’t do whatever he wants just because he’s an up & coming cycling star, Ivy League, etc..

    For what it’s worth, I really really don’t think these incidents show malicious and conscious intent to cheat the rules. Instead i think they’re coming from a sense of entitlement, not having to care about not just the details but major rules, and assuming you can do no wrong and/or it’ll all get taken care of for you. You can see that even in some of the smaller details, like setting out for an event like this with just two water bottles, which, to my mind as primarily an ultra-endurance racer myself, shows huge disrespect to your fellow competitors who might have to stop and impair their own race to save your ass if/when you run into real trouble, let alone the risk to your own health & race.

    Nick’s a really nice, really smart guy, and I did not and do not at all consider him a cheater. These incidents are instead much more reflective of having at least a touch of pro-cyclist/Ivy League special snowflake syndrome.

  53. Steve

    Whether he knew the rules or not, or if the rules are appropriate or not, if he is a nice guy or not, really doesn’t matter. He BROKE the rules by having a support vehicle on the course for a reason other than getting picked up after dropping out. If he was in dire straights and not able to survive, then the support vehicle can come and remove someone from the course.

    All the talk about if the rules are appropriate really bothers me – if you don’t like the rules, don’t do the ride, move on and ride something else. I love the way this ride is organized and the rules, it’s what makes this Epic and why I rode it in 2016. I finished and followed the rules – and would have been VERY unhappy if someone who didn’t follow the rules wasn’t DQ’d. Full respect from me to the organizers, and I hope they don’t change the rules for the coming years either. That would be caving to the complaints of a few vs meeting the desires of many. If someone wants to start another 200 mile gravel ride with different rules, I say go for it – but don’t put pressure on this one to change and ruin it for others.

  54. Billy Bob

    “After doing a couple real bike races the last two days in DC, I sat down to contemplate the meaning of life. As well as the feed zone we had during our 90min criterium” Nick Freys Latest facebook status. What the heck does he mean by “Real bike races”? I just don’t understand why everything he does have to seem so pompous?

  55. Pampas Grass

    Been doing this DK thing since 2011. The rules have never been one bit foggy or hard to understand. If you can’t figure them out then don’t show up. The rules are really quite simple and it is really hard to break them.

    “But if you’re flying in from other states, or even from other countries, it would be nice not to have to pony up an extra $75 to get some waters and gels.” – Every check point town I have ever been in at this race has had a C store that they can ride to and get some “water and gel” for way less than $75. Not convenient? Oh well.

    Come and do the event as designed or don’t sign up. It’s as simple as that. The DK crew doesn’t need to change their event for some whiny pro or ex-pros because they can’t handle the perceived inconvenience of the format.

  56. Dan H

    Ned’s comments make a lot of sense but I don’t think $75 is too much to charge/pay for support, especially if you know it keeps you within the rules. If you’re cutting so close to the bone on your race budget that $75 matters, you need to find a different hobby.

  57. Gordon H

    So if Lance or Levi did the DK and had a support vehicle out on the course, I’m quite sure that you would be singing a different tune. You would have crucified any other pro rider for not knowing the rules and endangering participants on the course. Instead you hold your friends to a different standard. Hypocrisy comes to mind……

  58. Nick Frey

    Totally admit this one! I was indeed a lap down, and was literally counted that way. And admitted it right when it was brought up. Sure, I act entitled. What’s funny is that I work my ASS off and am just a bit of a super-dumb smart person.

    And, in my mind, showing up a lap late, starting in the back of the field, and trying to get my legs under me a lap after everyone else, is already a disadvantage. If you want to whine about me winning that race solo off the front, obviously riding better by leaps and bounds than anyone else that day…please do so. But I suggest you should probably have just trained for 25-30 hours a week and sacrificed like I did to get that result.

    And yeah–in NO WAY will you ever catch me lying. But I can definitely be dumb.

  59. Nick Frey

    Mike, don’t know who you are. And I don’t really care. But I can tell you, YOU have not a single clue what the facts are. How DARE you accuse me of not “listening” to the facts of my OWN experience! I’d love to look into your life and call you out on inaccuracies about things with which I have absolutely no personal experience. That’s a great idea.

    I suggest you actually look at my reputation, read a little about me, and *listen*. The quote you just gave from me is the truth. And beyond that, I don’t really care what you think are the facts.

  60. Nick Frey

    If you would be angry about someone not being DQ’ed for breaking the rules, you should read about Rebecca breaking them and not having a DQ.

  61. Steve

    Somebody named Rebecca had a support vehicle on the course, finished and was not DQ’d? (The reason you were DQ’d)

    Curious why you didn’t choose to reply to my other point in the post?

    I personally question your judgement writing a blog like that as a CEO of a bike brand – based on the comments here and what I have seen elsewhere, while it provided free publicity for an obscure brand, it’s not endearing many to your brand and instead likely alienating. Your side stepping issues instead of manning up and accepting that you didn’t follow the rules and should have been DQ’d doesn’t reflect well on the principles of the company or how it operates in my opinion.

  62. Steve

    Somebody named Rebecca had a support vehicle on the course, finished and was not DQ’d? (The reason you were DQ’d)

    Curious why you didn’t choose to reply to my other point in the post?

    I personally question your judgement writing a blog like that as a CEO of a bike brand – based on the comments here and what I have seen elsewhere, while it provided free publicity for an obscure brand, it’s not endearing many to your brand and instead likely alienating. Your side stepping issues instead of manning up and accepting that you didn’t follow the rules and should have been DQ’d doesn’t reflect well on the principles of the company or how it operates in my opinion.

  63. Bryan Barber

    Dude, sarcasm doesn’t really work when your perceived as a self-important asshole. And andmitting to being entitled doesn’t make you any less of a dick(takes1-2no1). That shit only works in D.C. or out here in LA. Middle America don’t take kindly to that shit. Altough it’s fun watching you step/trample on your own dick, from a small business/marketing/social media perspective I would love to see you learn what HUMILITY means and how it can ENHANCE your reputation(business) and turn this little fuckup into a big winner. God bless America.

  64. David Neidinger


    Yeah, Nick just doesn’t get it… Keep digging the hole buddy, we will sit back and laugh.

  65. Mike

    For many people, the crux of this issue is why you got DQ’d and whether that was fair. Steve portrays you in a positive light, but states clearly that the DQ was for having a support vehicle on course. You gave the big thumbs-up to Steve’s post. So you can’t have it both ways (give the thumbs-up to the post, and then say that the most important fact in the post is wrong).

    Based on you now saying that these facts are wrong, are you implying that Jim is lying? Is he saying one thing to you after the race and another to Steve a few days later?

  66. Uncle Slammy

    first hand witness states womens dk200 winner had a personal pacer/domestique… Even fixed her flats…

    Although not against the written rules as I understand, this certainly violates “spirit” of event and really creates an uneven playing field…

    Don’t violate the “spirit” of these type of events and pretend to be part of the community… #hypocrite

  67. Greg

    OMG – you only get this drama when a legitimate cyclists start showing up at these “adveture races” cue sheets, forced dehydrated riders. Races should be about skill, fitness, and strategy. I wonder if they DQ’d any of the guys smoking pot on the side of the road?

    The best thing you can do is stop legitimizing these events and let the hippies and the wanna be’s have their fun.

  68. Nick Frey

    If anyone is still reading this blog thread, I’d like to apologize for the above statement about Rebecca Rusch. I was totally misinformed about her race in 2013, and spread that misinformation as fact. My race of course has nothing to do with hers, AND even worse, I did to her exactly what others did to me the last couple weeks.

    She called me personally to explain and set the record straight. I’m looking for all mentions I’ve made of her and hoping to erase or apologize. It was unprofessional of me, and quite honestly I was in a pretty horrible emotional state after being disqualified and then attacked by anyone and everyone who jumped to conclusions. I was just as complicit in jumping to conclusions about Rebecca’s race.

    I can’t stress how much I hope to at least make something positive come of all this controversy. I know the race takes these matters very seriously, and reinforced and made clearer the rules governing course markings, GPS, and retracing one’s route after Rebecca’s race in 2013. I hope my DQ results in some type of upgrade or reinforcement of the rules, or at least highlights to other riders what NOT to do (!).


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