It’s Dirty Kanza time and Kona Adventure Team rider Cory Wallace is back in the saddle aboard his Libre! Last year Wallace raced the DK200 for his first time and ended up with a respectable 14th place out of over 1,000 racers. He endured several mechanical issues, including a couple of flats that took precious time to fix. Anthony Smith chronicled last year’s race in this gorgeous photo essay.

We caught up with Cory to chat about this year’s race which Bicycling Magazine is calling the most difficult to date. Some top-level road racers have entered into the fray this year, including Taylor Phinney. Wallace will have is work cut out for him, but we know the 2-time 24-hour World Champ has exactly what it takes to push the pace!

Cory’s race bike from 2018.

“My goal this year is to have a clean race.  If I can stay out of trouble I expect to be fighting for the Win.

My preparations this year took place in Nepal as I hiked and biked all over the Himalayas at some high altitudes this winter.  One key ride was riding the Annapurna circuit in under 24hrs. After that this fully supported DK doesn’t look so daunting.  Training in Nepal might sound very different than racing across the hot and humid flatlands of Kansas but it built a big Diesel engine which is what you need at DK.  It also kept my mind happy while putting in some 30 hr + training weeks.  Being happy and positive is the biggest key in these ultra-endurance races so that is what I try to focus on.  

A couple of weeks ago I also spent 2 weeks racing and training in the heat of Costa Rica which should help have the body ready to go this weekend!
Last year I double flatted early on in the race then spent 11 hours riding from 700th ish position up to 14th at the finish.   It was amazing how many riders detonated during the race and it showed me that a really good result is within grasp if a guy can stay out of trouble early on.

Going into this year I changed my tires up to a bigger 700 x 45c WTB Riddler.  These tires should be tougher and they will also add an extra element of comfort over the duration of 202 miles on bumpy Gravel roads.
I’ll be riding a Kona Libre this year with Shimano Dura Ace electronic shifting, a WTB Silverado saddle and a shorter stem (65mm vs 80) for comfort and handling.

For songs I’ll just be listening to the birds out there, trying to stay in the present moment and soaking in the sights and sounds of one of the last remaining native grasslands in the USA.  

My snacks during this ride will be all Clifbar based.  I plan to eat 9 Clif bars, 2 whey protein Clif bars, 4 packages of blocks and 2-3 double caffeinated Clif shots.  The treats will be the two ice cold V8’s I’ll have waiting in the feed zones.  A key to this race is having a good support team in the 2 feed zones and I have that covered with Marco and the boys at Velo + KC looking after me!” -Cory Wallace

Cory is bib # 1662! You can check in on the live results here: