Experience the Flint Hills -DK200
There are probably many ways to "Experience the Flint Hills" but perhaps none better than going to the DK200 especially on the 10th anniversary year - Decade of Dirty. The plan this year was to capture the race with some other photographers. I try to not set too many expectations prior to an event because it takes on its own shape once I'm immersed in it. I knew the race was on because Facebook said so. I knew it was going to be gritty and dirty based on all of the moisture the Flint Hills area had recently received so I was excited to see where that would lead to as far as the race experience for the racers and crew.
Driving into Emporia it was difficult to not know the DK200 was happening by the out pouring of support from the businesses in town. Every store front on Commercial Street had their own unique way of welcoming the racers. The DK200 is to Emporia, KS as is the Leadville 100 to Leadville, CO - A BIG DEAL. Everyone in town helps out in some way which gives the event a sense of community that everyone wants a piece of, it's enticing and addicting.
Practically every car on the street had a bike rack with multiple bikes on it. There was a buzz in the air. Everyone involved with this event had put their heart and soul into preparing for the race on May 30, 2015. You shouldn't go into DK200 unprepared. It takes a monumental commitment. The race is serious that way. Perhaps that is what draws us in. The DK200 forces us to take risks and make sacrifices. We're willing to do just about anything to find the perfect cocktail of anticipation, exhilaration, wonderment, and inspiration. In exchange for some discomfort we gain the access to "experience the flint hills." The goal is to find a balance between adrenaline and perfect tranquility out in the maze of gravel. I know this because I've raced here, this year was no different but it would take place behind the lens. I strived to capture the essence of the race for racers and non racers alike.
My goal for the following visual story is to draw out sensations shared by all riders pros or weekend warriors alike. Everyone was striped naked in the Flint Hills. Digging deep was not an option, it was a necessity. At the awards breakfast Yuri Hauswald was given a stand ovation for his incredible sprint finish leaving every ounce of effort out on the course. Everyone I witnessed out on course did the same thing so the stand O should be for everyone who raced on May 30, 2015. No one was spared this year, the DK200 humbled everyone. Stand tall and continue to do epic stuff. This collection of images may help you share your story with others because after all great adventures, make greater stories.
Another DK200 in the books. See you next year.