01 Jun
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38.4039 N, -96.1817 W

All things Kanza:

 

An emotional journey in Kansas

 

When he reached the Dirty Kanza finish line, Lachlan MortonLachlan Morton called the 200-mile gravel grinder over the Flint Hills one of his hardest, if not his hardest, days on the bike. Ever. Of all time. And yet when he was asked if he would race it again, he smiled and said, without hesitation: “Absolutely.” This is alternative racing.

 

The route and roads and race may have left us groveling but the sense of community, warm Midwestern welcome and fun factor will have us coming back for more.

 

“It’s been amazing how welcoming everyone has been,” said Morton. “I’m very conscious being a WorldTour rider coming to an event like this. We didn’t want to bring WorldTour cycling to Kanza. This is a great event, and we didn’t want our presence to change anything. We were just a group of friends here to participate in this amazing event, and that’s exactly what it’s been. We went out there and gave it our best and tried to have fun doing it.”

 

Morton finished third overall, crossing the finish line side-by-side with Alex HowesAlex Howes, who slotted into fourth place. The two needed 10 hours and 17 minutes to cover the course.

 

“It was insane. It was not a race. It was a journey. You go through such a range of emotions in 10 hours,” said Morton.

“I had absolutely no idea what to expect. We started, and we going quite hard. I was just trying to keep up. The first 50 kilometers felt like a normal bike race except you’re on gnarly roads. It was a lot of fun, and it was more or less normal. And then all of sudden you look down, and you’re like we have a very long way to go, and then everyone starts to fall apart. That’s when you realize it will be all in your mind. Which is what I hoped it would be. I got everything I wanted out of it.”

 

Taylor Phinney needed another four hours to reach the finish line in Emporia, Kansas. He suffered a flat early on in the race, losing contact with the leading group in the opening hour of racing. Two additional flats after the first checkpoint sealed his fate.

 

“I think I might have enjoyed it, like, in the future. I will have enjoyed it,” said Phinney. “It’s an intense experience.”

 

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