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The Garmin Dirty Kanza 200 has rescheduled from May 30 to September 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Race owner Life Time announced the schedule change Sunday evening. Nearly 4,000 riders are registered in the sold-out event.
Riders signed up for the race have three options: They can race in September, they can defer their entry to the 2021 event, or they can get a refund. Riders have until May 15 to let Life Time know their choice.
Race co-founder Jim Cummins told VeloNews that Life Time spent the last four weeks working on contingency plans for the world’s most famous gravel race.
“Several weeks ago that we announced that we would have a decision made no later than May 1st. And almost immediately we started hearing cries that that was too late,” Cummins said. “We knew all along that we would make the best decision we could as soon as we could. We looked at every single contingency. That process just took time.”
In addition to scouring the calendar for dates that conflicting with as few other races as possible, the Life Time team also has to coordinate with the City of Emporia, Kansas, emergency response, volunteers, sponsors, and others.
As many other summertime gravel races are doing the same thing, the fall calendar is getting crowded.
The new spot on the calendar slots in the week after Rebecca’s Private Idaho on September 3-6. It falls on the same day as Grinduro California. [Editor’s note: This story originally said it came a week before Grinduro California.] The 2020 Dirty Kanza also falls on the date originally held by the Pony Express 120, a gravel race in nearby Marysville, Kansas. The Pony Express 120 moved its date to October 17.
“We called them and told them we were considering that [September 12] date, and asked them to help us brainstorm how we could make it work for the both of us,” Cummins said. “They almost immediately offered to move their date. We did not ask them. They graciously offered to do that for us. Obviously we are extremely appreciative of them.”
Will the Dirty Kanza be accepting new entries?
In recent years, the Dirty Kanza has held a lottery for entries as demand has outpaced supply. With the potential of many riders deferring or asking for refunds for this year’s rescheduled event, others are wondering if they could now get in. This answer, for now, is unknown, but Life Time expects to have clarity on that after the May 15 deadline.
“At this time, registration is closed,” Cummins said, adding that he doesn’t know how many current riders will decline to participate in the September event. “Quite honestly we don’t know what to anticipate. It is conceivable that a large number will defer or ask for a refund, and in that case it is conceivable that we may open up registration again. We will just have to wait and see.”