Alison Tetrick is a friend of Bikerumor and an American pro cyclist riding for Cylance Pro Cycling. Competing in the top women’s road races around the world, she’s spent most of this season racing domestically. While she does a lot of stage racing and classic one day races, this summer she earned a unique victory. For her first ever attempt at gravel racing she gave the Dirty Kanza 200 a try. With her longest ride up til this summer being about 120mi/190km, Alison was a bit unsure of the 206mi/331km of the DK200. But to put it in her own words, “the Dirty Kanza 200 exceeded all my expectations. It was a weekend of firsts for me, but I felt prepared with my equipment and army of support from the cycling community. I broke the course record by 30 minutes with a time of 11:40:41. It was a tight finish, but (there’s) nothing like leaving your destiny to the last minute.”
Alison rode a mostly stock Cannondale Slate that she calls “a steed made for royalty”, which got a bit of customization for the DK200. She took some photos and sent them our way of her bike and kit setup to get an insider’s look at what it takes to finish (& win!) a race that took half a day even for a pro rider…
The first thing that popped into Alison’s mind when she was talking about her race setup was actually not her bike but a Lezyne computer. The Dirty Kanza 200 is essentially self-supported & self-directed on lonely roads, mostly due to the isolated location. It gets no course markings, so requires a GPS in it for the long haul. That was one of the most intimidating elements of the race for the roadie, used to “playing ‘follow-the-leader’ in road racing, and having a full caravan in front and behind (her).”
Alison raced with a Lezyne Enhanced Super GPS to give her turn-by-turn navigation. She was impressed that even after doing almost 12 hours of turn-by-turn directions for 206 miles, it still had over 50% battery life remaining. “I could have gone another 206 miles if I wanted.”
There are three checkpoints in the Dirty Kanza 200. These are the only points that you can receive aid. Alison gave us a look inside the cooler that she stashed along the way. It was stocked with a couple of items “just in case” her race didn’t turn out as well as planned. “For the record, the bourbon wasn’t consumed until after the race!”
As for the bike itself, Alison raced a Large sized Cannondale Slate Force CX1 with the standard 30mm travel Lefty Oliver Carbon fork.
It was essentially the stock build with an SRM power meter spider swapped in on the purple ano HollowGram Si crankarms. She stuck with a stock 44T SRAM X-Sync chainring on the SRM’s 5-bolt spider. The cassette was the stock 10-42 on an XD driver.
Alison rode on Speedplay Syzr pedals, and Schwalbe G-One 42mm TLE Microskin tires set up tubeless with Orange sealant inside.
Besides a toptube bag, she had a pair of Lezyne bottle cages mounted to the bike with two Camelbak Podium Chill bottles, as well as an alloy Lezyne Road Drive pump.
Total weight for the complete bike was 9.97kg/21.97lb fully ready to ride (actually post ride with mud still on it.)
During the ride, staying fueled and motivated was the highest priority. That’s what drove her setup customization, from the toptube mounted bag behind the stem to her use of a Camelbak vest pack.
For that long on the bike Alison didn’t want to resort just to engineered competition fuel, but instead food that she would stay interested in eating. “On the bike, I carried Mother’s Frosted Circus Animals, Glukos electrolyte, Kettle Chips, and donut holes.”
“I wasn’t expecting to need to carry a top tube bag, but I wanted a place to make sure I had all the emergency flat fixing necessities. I made a last minute purchase at Gravel City Adventure and Supply Co, and bought the Revelate Designs top tube bag. In there, I stored by multitool, 3 CO2s, 2 tubes, and 2 Vittoria PitStops! Yes, I was nervous about the infamous sharp flint rock!”
“I used the new CamelBak Chase Bike Vest. I switched CamelBaks at each of the 3 aid stations in order to ensure I stayed hydrated. This vest is light and intuitive. The pockets have the accessibility like a jersey, and it is easily used while riding.”
With all that setup, after almost half a day racing Alison Tetrick’s race came down to a pretty close battle for the finish with 2x DK200 winner Amanda Nauman. Alison tells a great story of her race and the sprint after 206 miles on her own blog (you really should go read it!), only to get showered with champagne by Rebecca Rusch, whose course record Alison broke.
Wrapping it up Alison is “proud to be the Queen of the Kanza, and excited for more gravel adventures.” She tells us that post race the only thing she didn’t weight was the gigantic belt buckle of the winner, because “I don’t think I have taken it off since!”
Btw, we spent some time riding gravel with Dirty Kanza organizer Jim Cummins about a week ago and he talked about how much he likes seeing pros joining & enjoying the race, and how great it is to see the race winners stick around to cheer on the other finishers who continue to trickle in for up to 21 hours after the start. Alison also was amusingly concerned that the DK200 should be renamed the DK206 due to the longer than advertised distance.
Cummins said he wanted to make sure everyone got their money’s worth. How mad would a rider on Strava be if they got back from the DK200 and their GPS only recorded 199.9 miles. So they’ll always err on the side of caution. Be forewarned.