11th annual Dirty Kanza kicks off in Emporia

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EMPORIA, Kan (WIBW)--- Thousands of cyclists from seven different countries and 44 states took off from Emporia early Saturday morning to conquer the unpredictable terrain of the Flint Hills.

"The Dirty Kanza is one of the toughest gravel grinders you will ever do," cyclist, Frank Dreiling said. "The hills are long going up and fast coming down and you never know what you are going to get into."

The Dirty Kanza 200 is an annual race that starts in Emporia, Kan. and takes riders through a variety of tracks including a 200 mile race, which organizers say is the ultimate challenge.

"We're know for our Flint rock and our sharp gravel, it can trip bicycle tires, and this is what the riders have to deal all day long since they left the starting line at 6 am this morning," Executive Director of Dirty Kanza, Jim Cummins said.

The course is so challenging that some cyclist suffered injuries along the way which was the case for Dreiling.

"I took a left turn and I took it too fast. We tried taking care of it as best we could but we left it and kept going," said Dreiling.

The popularity of this race keeps growing every year bringing an economic boost to the city say Emporia business owners.

"It's got about a 3 million dollar impact on the Emporia community and it gives us international recognition we have people here from 46 states and 6 or 7 foreign countries," Executive Director of Emporia Main Street, Casey Woods said.

Even though Dreilings 100 mile journey is over, he encourages others to race in the Dirty Kanza next year.

"It's the real high it's like living your life in a day. You have that many ups and downs so it's awesome," said Dreiling.

The winner of the Dirty Kanza 200 was Ted King from Mill Valley, California. King finsihed the race in 11 hours, 50 minutes and 19 seconds.