Once the sting of gravel steadies into torment and muscle aches grow into screaming burns, mind over matter becomes ritual. It becomes the path by which to push ahead. A cycling war of attrition, the Dirty Kanza snakes through the tall-grass prairies and creeping hills of east-central Kansas. Forget blacktop, forget convenience. The remote 200-mile grind forces even the most unshakable cyclists to question their resolve. Draped over handlebars and heads down, they labor through the muck, their faces caked with more sweat and dirt at each marker. With every shift of gear, another ounce of nerve is summoned. To bow out isn’t to lose, it’s to understand limits— and to understand that training harder is now priority one. Until finally it’s finished. Only then rest.