109: how women leaders are impacting the next era of gravel cycling

“We want to provide these life enriching experiences, and these communities that let you be part, and let you get a glimpse of what life is like there.” 


In this Channel Mastery episode, I had the opportunity to speak with Kristi Mohn and Gabbi Adams, two of the women leading the charge in expanding and developing Gravel Racing across America. The team at Life Time behind the Dirty Kanza gravel race held annually in Emporia, KS have announced their next project – Big Sugar, a 107-mile gravel race winding through the hillsides and waterways of Bentonville, Arkansas. There’s  also a shorter option, called the Little Sugar (50 miles). 

In our conversation, Kristi Mohn, Business Development and marketing leader at Life Time, and Gabbi Adams, Big Sugar Co-Race Director, share their Dirty Kanza race experiences and the impact and growth of the gravel race scene in North America. We also talk about the path-burning leadership of Kristi Mohn, as she was one of the founding members of the team that grew the DK to an event that literally draws thousands of people to ride through the Flint Hills surrounding Emporia, Kansas. In so many ways, Mohn is handing the baton to Adams in the Big Sugar event – not only in bringing the DK team’s dream of bringing a DK-esque experience to other amazing event venues (the first of which is Bentonville in the Big Sugar), but also, as a ‘second generation’ female race director taking the helm of an event that’s destined to be a staple and classic on the U.S. gravel race calendar. Learn how Mohn and her DK colleagues grew that iconic event and the vision for gravel’s future through the eyes of one of its key founders.

This is a very inspiring episode that literally showcases the heart and soul of gravel through the journeys of Mohn and Adams, and the intersection of that journey in the Big Sugar event. 

Registration for the Big and Little Sugar inaugural races opens Friday, Nov. 15, and cyclists of all disciplines and experiences are welcome to experience this incredible course and surrounding community of Bentonville. If you’re interested in the evolution of the hottest niche of cycling right now – gravel cycling – this is one episode you will not want to miss.


Kristi Mohn

Kristi Mohn is a founding member of the Dirty Kanza event team, and a life-long Emporian (resident of Emporia, Kansas). Since selling the DK to Life Time earlier this year (in 2019), Mohn has expanded her role to that of Business Development and Marketing leader at Life Time, Inc. Mohn is a visionary and a pioneering female leader in cycling. She believes strongly in the power of community and inclusivity – two foundational pillars that helped grow the DK into the global leader in gravel. Mohn has witnessed first hand how cycling can empower and change people and communities for the better, and continues to work tirelessly to bring more people into the sport, on their own terms.

Gabbi Adams

Gabbi Adams has been on the racing and riding side of gravel for years, but is now stepping in to race directing with Big Sugar. She’s a winner of the DK in the single-speed category and is a lifer with her gravel community. Adams loves the inclusiveness and community that is gravel, and is wholly committed to delivering a great experience for every individual at the Big Sugar. We can’t wait to see how Gabbi’s leadership takes shape in this exciting new venue, and in the global community of gravel.


Gravel Racing, Dirty Kanza, Life Time Purchase of Dirty Kanza, Women in Cycling, Racer Engagement, Inaugural Races, Emporia, KS Economy


“What I want is for women to find a place at our start line wherever they feel comfortable, and at whatever distance makes sense for where they are in their lives.” – Kristi 

“I’ve experienced the day time finish line, and the 3:00 AM finish line, and you’re right there’s not 12,000 people there at 3:00 AM, but there’s still a race organizer there ready to hug you, and that’s really cool.” – Gabbi 

“We want to provide these life enriching experiences, and these communities that let you be part, and let you get a glimpse of what life is like there.” – Kristi 

“My MO {Modus Operandi}  is just you get s#*! done, and you ask people to come along and enjoy the journey, and you surround yourself with great humans and you just try to make your life better, and everybody else’s life better around you, and that’s just kind of what I do.” – Kristi




Have questions or ideas for Kristin and the Channel Mastery podcast? Email: [email protected]

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