Kabush Goes Kanza!
Stages Cycling athlete, Geoff Kabush, is taking on the Dirty Kanza!
Yeti’s cross-country OG, Geoff Kabush, is a jack-of-all trades contender on the mountain bike; no matter the event, when he shows up, he must be considered a favorite. Geoff opened his 2018 season with a win at the Moab Rocks event, then he was competitive at Sea Otter with top ten finishes in both the STXC and XC.
All of these events were relatively short, so it comes as no surprise that Kabush was at the sharp end of the field. But if you look at Geoff’s 2018 schedule you’ll find he has something out of the ordinary planned for June this year—The Dirty Kanza.
Dirty Kanza is a 200-mile gravel grinder, often referred to a DK200, that runs through the flint hills of Kansas. It was started by Jim Cummins and Joel Dyke in 2006 with just 34 starters. Last year, in 2017, the event sold out to 2,200 participants. DK200 is the undisputed crown jewel of gravel grinding. Not only is the distance daunting, but the entire event is self-navigated and supported, which makes it a true barrier-breaking challenge for anyone that shows up.
So, how do you get from pro short track to 200 miles of suffering? For that matter why would you want to? The same reason anyone shows up to DK200—the challenge of it.
‘It’s the race that I’ve been thinking about the most this winter and spring,’ said Kabush in our exclusive interview. Listen in as we talk to Kabush about his interest and aspirations at Kanza, and dabbling in the trendy world of gravel grinding.
Belo is the full text of our conversation with Kabush about taking on DK200.
Well… I can’t say that I’m looking forward to the fun factor at Kanza. It’s one of those things that I’ve tried to do throughout my career—take on new challenges. It’s fun to figure new things out and this is definitely going to be a challenge—I’ve never ridden 200 miles. It’s the race that I’ve been thinking about the most this winter and spring. I’ve been figuring out the equipment, nutrition, navigation, and just how the whole event works. I’ve never been to Kansas. It’s a bit of an unknown and I’ll be putting myself out there. It sounds like a really cool event. A lot of my sponsors are involved with it. I’m sure it’s going to be quite the sense of accomplishment to make it across the finish line. I’m looking forward to taking it on.
WHAT’S THE MENTALITY YOU TAKE TO AN EVENT LIKE THIS? IS IT MORE OF A ‘GET TO THE FINISH’ OR DO YOU HAVE ASPIRATIONS FOR IT?
Oh, I’m competitive, so I’m definitely going there to try to win the race, but it sounds like it is going to be a really impressive field this year. The event has been building for the last couple years and there’s going to be a really high-quality field there. It’s going to be a long mental burn type race of attrition and tactics. I’ve always enjoyed that. It’s something you’re going to really have to wrap your head around and save your energy, be efficient, take care of the details with eating and see who has something left in the last two or three hours. It’s an intimidating one to take on but also fun and exciting to see what happens.
AS YOU MENTIONED, IT’S 200 MILES LONG, IT SEEMS LIKE PACING WILL BE HUGE. DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGY THAT YOU’RE WORKING ON? IS IT BASED OFF OF KJS OR A PERCENTAGE OF FTP? WHAT’S YOUR STRATEGY?
As far as the pacing, I think it’s going to be decided by the group and there’s definitely some fire power coming all different disciplines. It’s going to [come to] being efficient in the group and trying to shave [limit] those maximum efforts in the group from the early part of the race to save your firepower for the end. I think the biggest thing I’ll be paying attention to is the nutrition. In a five or six-hour race you can cut corners and make it to the end, but in 200 miles and 10 or 11 hours, you really need to pay attention to the nutrition early on and make sure you’re fueled for the end so that you have the horsepower to fight at the finish.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC METRICS YOU’RE LOOKING AT TO MEASURE YOUR NUTRITION? WHAT IS THE NUTRITION STRATEGY?
I think you can train the gut a bit to take on the calories. So, in training it’s breaking down the calories and how many I can ingest comfortably in an hour [balanced by how many he’s expending as measured by Stages Power -ed.] and planning the nutrition with the timing and feed zones and the hydration as well. It’s always been my strength in the shorter races to smooth out those power efforts. So, I’ll be looking to really moderate the high-intensity efforts early on to ease the efforts over the steep climbs, even sagging those climbs a bit. You really have to stay in the lead group— know my competition—and know when it’s important to make the moves. It’s all a bit unknown, the strategy and the pacing, we’re going to see maybe for the first time some team tactics at Dirty Kanza along with some really powerful riders from different disciplines, like triathlon. It’s going to be a really interesting dynamic, so it’s a little bit unknown, but taking care of the nutrition and trying to save those maximum efforts for the end [is key].