Dirty Kanza Kids Bike Race

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My passion is running, my husband’s is biking. Our daughter is still figuring it out. Some days she wants to be a runner like me, other days she wants to follow in her dad’s footsteps and ride bikes. Honestly, we could care less whose footsteps she follows, as long as she keeps moving.

Dirty Kanza Kids Race

Last weekend she surprised us both by riding in the Dirty Kanza Kids Bike Race. It’s something she talked about doing, but with anything, we told her she needed to train (I say this term loosely as training was basically riding her bike) and I wondered if she’d stick with it.

She actually did, and she’s really grown to love riding her bike. The week of the race, she rode 5 miles on a bike path near our home, her longest distance ever, taking the hills and wind head on. She did her part, so I did mine, I registered her for the race, and drove her to Emporia so she could finish the “DK.”

Dirty Kanza kids bike race

The race is sponsored by the Emporia Recreation Commission in conjunction with the Dirty Kanza (a ridiculously tough 200 mile gravel bike race through the Flint Hills of Kansas). The kid’s race is free to participants and you can register ahead of time online, or you on site. This year, the first 200 kids registered received a beach ball and lip balm.

The race starts on the circle drive of Emporia State University, at 12th and Commerce. The kids half mile runners went first, followed by the 2 mile bike riders and finally the half mile bike riders. No worries if your kid wants to run and ride, they’ll wait for them to finish their run before starting the bikes take off.

dirty kanza kids bike race emporia ks

B was a bit nervous before the race but she managed to force a smile long enough for me to take a picture. She’s definitely an introspective kid and thinks about most things before she does them. The night before she told me, “Mom, do you remember when you needed a moment before your race? Can I do that too?” 🙂

dirty kanza bike race for kids

The butterflies wore off and B finished her race without falling or taking out any other riders! She was super excited about riding her bike through the DK finish line and having everyone cheer her on. I think the bike riding seed has been planted. That evening she drew pictures of her bike and her race bib. I see lots of family bike rides in our future!

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About Sarah

Mom. Blogger. Runner. Hiker. Insomniac. Not necessarily in that order.


  1. Kudos to you for encouraging your daughter in a healthy, active lifestyle. Nothing wrong with a little variety. I was never a runner, myself – but I do love cardio. Congrats to your girl for making a commitment and achieving her goals with a smle.

  2. A great way to start the bike riding seed. Our girls love to bike and we just did our first charity bike ride last month. It was fun! We hope to do more each summer.

  3. She looks so excited in her picture!! What a fun race for her, it does sound like she found something she is passionate about.

  4. How fun that she got to participate in the race. The pics are awesome too!

  5. What a great idea. Anything that gets kids outside being active is perfect!

  6. What a fun thing for your daughter to do! I wish my son knew how to ride a bike, but he hasn’t learned yet even though he’s 9,

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