Dirty Kanza 200 is not a race to be taken lightly. Two hundred miles of road cycling in one day is difficult enough. For a gravel race such as Dirty Kanza, the rough and unforgiving gravel road surfaces add another element for a rider to deal with. Over 95% of the roads comprising the course are dirt and gravel, and along with contributions by Mother Nature; wind, the possibility of rain, a plethora of tough hills and at least two stream crossings, distance isn’t the only thing to overcome.
Just finishing Dirty Kanza 200 is a major accomplishment.
Fitness and a solid base of endurance training is certainly a must-have for this event, but so is a good dose of experience. That means, good bike handling skills – gravel isn’t always friendly and you can never totally switch off and relax. Self-sufficiency is a necessity – the ability to perform basic mechanical repairs while on the course. You cannot accept support from your crew other than to abandon, or when you pass through the designated checkpoint / re-supply areas. If you cannot handle this concept, gravel racing isn’t for you.
What follows is not intended to be a coaching plan, nor is it an official training plan endorsed by the Dirty Kanza promotional company. I don’t have a coach or power meter, nor do I follow a strict training regime. I am very unscientific in my approach and ride by feel almost all of the time. I think of my training as a loosely formed plan with some flexibility. If I’m feeling a bit dodgy or need additional rest, I’ll disregard the plan and take a day off. Following my plan will not guarantee success. But as a debutante at the 2016 Dirty Kanza who finished reasonably well, I like to think my preparation worked. I hope this year will see me finish the race well and safely!
A proper training plan for the Dirty Kanza 200 should probably begin about three months before the event. This document is coming to you a tad late, but my training for the event officially began a few weeks ago, at the 2017 Dirty Pecan 150. If you haven’t begun training for Dirty Kanza 200, get cracking now!
Still tentative in nature, the table below lists my past and future planned activities leading up to and including 2017 DK200:
|E = Easy||HT = Hard Tempo||I = Intervals||M = Moderate||G = Gravel Riding||P = Pavement Riding||D = Drive Time||F = Fly Time|
For example: P 2HT + I, 1E = Pavement, 2 Hours Hard Tempo with Intervals and 1 Hour Easy
|Feb 27||1E||G 2HT + I, 1E||Rest or 1E||G 2M||Rest or 1E||Dirty Pecan 150||P 2E|
|Mar 6||1E||G 2HT + I, 1E||D 600||D 600 + 1E||2E||Land Run 100 + D 100||D 1,100|
|Mar 13||Rest||P 2HT + I, 1E||Rest||P 1M + 1E||Rest or 1E||G 110 miles tempo||G 93 miles tempo|
|Mar 20||Rest||P 2HT + I, 1E||Rest||P 1M + 1E||Rest or 1E||P 2E||G Strada Bellamy|
|Mar 27||Rest or 1E||P 2HT + I, 1E||P 2HT + I, 1E||P 1M + 1E||Rest or 1E||G 125 miles tempo||P 2E|
|Apr 3||Rest or 1E||P 2HT + I, 1E||Rest||P 1M + 1E||Rest or 1E||G 150 miles tempo||P 1E|
|Apr 10||Rest or 1E||P 2M, 1E||P 2HT + I, 1E||G 1M + 1E||Rest or 1E||P 125 miles tempo||P 3E|
|Apr 17||Rest or 1E||P 2M, 1E||P 2M||P 2E||D 400 + 1E||Bootlegger 100 + D400||Rest|
|Apr 24||Rest or 1E||P 2HT + I, 1E||P 2M||D 500 + 1E||D 700 + 1E||G 2E||G Paris 2 Ancaster|
|May 1||D 600 + 1E||D 600 + 1E||P 2HT + I, 1E||P 2E||Rest or 1E||G 175 miles tempo||Rest|
|May 8||Rest or 1E||P 2HT + I, 1E||P 2HT + I, 1E||P 2M||Rest or 1E||P 2E||P 2E|
|May 15||Rest or 1E||P 2M||F + Rest||G 2M||G 2E||G Almanzo 100||F + 2E|
|May 22||Rest or 1E||P 2 HT + I, 1E||Rest||P 2M||Rest or 1E||G 3M||P 3M|
|May 29||Rest or 1E||P 2M||Rest + D550||D550 + 1E||2E||G Dirty Kanza 200!||D a long way!|
Race Day Nutrition:
The best approach is to experiment in training. Race day is not the day to try a new energy bar or drink mix powder. But remember, sometimes you have to improvise. At last year’s DK200 and the last checkpoint with over 50 miles still to race, my stomach and mind could not tolerate the thought of solid food. I consumed 2 x Mountain Dews and 1 x Coke – horrendous nutrition but the caffeine and sugar got me to the finish. Mind you, things weren’t so pretty about three hours after the finish… err.
For 2017, I will utilize my support crew well (thank you Kuat Racks crew!), leaving a cooler of food and drinks with them.
On the bike / my person, I may* carry:
- 1 x Gu gel flask, loaded with 90% Gu Roctane gel and 10% water. This mix helps liquefy the Gu a little better for easier consumption. Generally each flask contains the equivalent of six to eight gels.
- 4 x Larabars.
- 4 x Gu Energy Chews (the double-serve sleeves).
- 6 x individual Gu Energy Gels, likely non Roctane.
- 2 x Zefal Magnum water bottles with Gu Roctane mix (2 scoops) and 2 x Gu Roctane Electrolyte Capsules (emptied into each bottle).
- 1 x 500ml Platypus foldable water bottle filled with water (stows in a rear jersey pocket).
- 1 x Sticky rice cake infused with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (great substitute for soy sauce).
- 1 x Hotshot anti-cramp.
- 4 x Gu energy drink tabs – useful for when you’re in a jam.
Generally, I try and consume at least 200 calories per hour and carry more food than I’ll use. Better to have it, than want it!
The cooler with my crew may* contain:
- 6 pre-mixed Zefal Magnum water bottles of hydration mix for the bike – 3 x Gu Roctane and 3 x Gu Hydration Mix, each bottle containing 2 x Gu Roctane Electrolyte Capsules (emptied into bottle).
- Pringles potato chips – salt, fat and carbohydrates.
- Cold Margherita or Veggie pizza – salt, fat and carbohydrates – and a break from all of the sweet stuff!
- 4 x Sticky rice cakes infused with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (great substitute for soy sauce).
- 1 x Bag of raw cashews.
- 4 x Coca Cola – on a hot day, you cannot put a price on a cold, sugary beverage with caffeine.
- 4 x Pop Tarts – for emergencies.
- 1 x Craft beer – just in case 🙂
- Plenty of individual Gu Gels for reloading.
- A lot of cold water.
Event Day – Don’t forget – Ride your own pace, and not the pace of others.
Bike preparation and spares I carry for the race will follow in Part Two.
Thanks for reading!
* Subject to change.