A flat tire robbed him of a victory in 2017, but this year, Ted King rode Maxxis Ramblers to victory at Dirty Kanza. The 200-mile gravel race is held on June 2nd, with a route beginning just outside Emporia, Kansas. Katie Keough also trusted the Rambler to take her to victory in the women’s category. Longtime Maxxis-sponsored rider and legendary cross country champion Geoff Kabush took the third spot on the men’s podium. And Maxxis’ sponsored rider Rebecca Rusch made history as the first woman ever to finish the Dirty Kanza XL, taking fourth place overall in the brutal 350-mile gravel race.
This year’s Dirty Kanza 200 race was even more of an endurance test than usual, with storms forcing a delayed start and last-minute route changes. An attack roughly three-quarters of the way through the race gave King the lead, and he held the front spot through the finish line. The victory was King’s second ever in Dirty Kanza, which he also won in 2016.
Keough earned her status as the 2018 Queen of Kanza by pushing hard early in the race, and soon gained leads on competing women riders. “The only tactic I had was to try and stay with the front as long as possible and not go into the red because they just pulled me along,” she told velonews.com. “I tried not to go into the red. I threw up three times, and I peed my pants so those were pretty low moments. It was brutal, but it was also amazing at the same time.”
Kabush was part of the front group relatively early in the race, within the first 20 miles. He earned his podium spot with a final sprint against two other riders, sealing his third-place finish. “There were some dark moments out there—thank God for the last feed zone. That was the longest day on my bike in my life,” he told velonews.com.
Rusch is no stranger to the Dirty Kanza, having won the women’s 200 three years running, from 2012-2014. When she was invited to compete in the new XL, “My initial response was ‘Hell yeah!’” she told velonews.com. “Not a second of hesitation.”
Maxxis congratulates Ted King and Katie Keough on their victories and Rebecca Rusch on making history as the first woman to finish an ultra-brutal race, and the company thanks the legendary Geoff Kabush for his fine performance.