Every year more than 2,000 riders descend upon Emporia, Kansas for a day of epic type-two fun. The Dirty Kanza, now in its 12th year, is the gravel grinder’s dream- or nightmare- depending on how you feel about 200 miles of rough terrain over rolling hills. With often unpredictable weather, the Dirty Kanza has become something of a cult experience. People go because it’s a test of mettle. Many enter, many drop out. This year, Kona’s adventure racer and 24-hour solo World Champion, Cory Wallace, tossed his hat into the ring aboard our brand new Libre. Welcome to Emporia.
Cory Wallace adds Himalayan salt, electrolytes and some minerals to each of his 16 waterbottles before labeling them with tags for their designated aid stations.
Cory checking in with the crew at Velo+ Bike Shop.
Tv cameras greet the racers before dawn near the start line of the Dirty Kanza 2018.
An early morning rain caused a 30 minute delay for the start of the race. Nervous energy and clouds were building all morning.
Waiting in the sun is better than waiting in the dark. Wallace still waiting for the starting gun.
After all the delays and weather the racers finally toe the start line. Cory lines up at the front of the pack with all the other heavy hitters trying not just to survive the next 200 miles but win. Cory lined up next to Danish mountain bike champ Soren Nissen (number 727) who he thought was “going to be the biggest threat for the win”.
Lots of healthy cows on this ride.
Cory at aid station one. He had already flatted, plugged the tire, tubed it, fell back to 500th or 600th place, and cranked back up to 87th. He is on the hunt trying to pass through hundreds of riders back towards the front of the field.
Checking over his shoulder after dropping yet another group.
Cow’s eye view.
Cory in the drops and pushing the pace.
A quick clean and lube before taking off again.
It wasn’t 200 miles of smooth gravel roads. There were some challenging climbs and more
“The best part is when the sun goes down and all these riders look like a big ol’ snake in the hills,” a local says describing racers riding by headlight after sunset.
200 miles later Cory rolled through the finish line in a very respectable 14th place. With numerous flats throughout the day and a serious comeback from hundreds of places down, Cory’s inaugural Dirty Kanza proved to be quite the roller coaster ride. And the Libre? It turned out to be the perfect bike for the job. “The Libre rode great and is a bike that could win the Dirty Kanza. The four-bottle cages all came in handy and the braze-ons will in the coming months as I plan to take the bike on a few tours. The paint job is getting a pile of nice comments, and people, seem to be in love with the purple,” Cory said shortly after the race.
The aftermath. Cory’s Kona Libre after 200 miles of gravel, dirt, and sweat. As if all the water bottle cages and mount points weren’t enough of a hint, this bike is made for epics like the Dirty Kanza .
For more information on the Libre, including detailed spec, geometry, and technical information, please visit konaworld.com