Dirty Kanza Training

Today, while I was out on a 4-hour ride, my mind kept wondering back to Emporia. Last year was my first attempt at the Dirty Kanza, and the outcome wasn’t what I planned. My training last year consisted of a whole lotta miles at or just below threshold. In the 6 weeks before the event, I scheduled 3 centuries a week (Tue, Sat, Sun), with plans for each one to be at threshold. The other days of the week were 20-50 miles near recovery pace, with a shorter, more intense workout one day each week. Considering I didn’t finish, I don’t know if this was the right approach or not.

Fast forward to today. My mind was occupied with what went wrong. I settled on three key areas, each of which I plan to address this year:

  1. Nutrition. My plan last year was focused on eating enough calories every hour along with a steady stream of Cytomax, Gatorade, and water.
    Changes for this year: less solid food, reduced carb intake, and closer focus on hydration. While searching, I found an article on Hammer that states the case very clearly: http://www.hammernutrition.com/hnt/1273/
  2. Pacing. Based on results from previous years, I wanted a pace that would bring me in between 14 and 15 hours. At the start, I watched as a big group shot off the front. The urge to go with them was pretty intense, but I sat down and rode at my own pace. Overall, I feel like my pace was good. At about the 20 mile mark, I let my pace rise several MPH–something about too many rabbits up the road–and while I never went into the red zone, I think that section was intense enough to put me in a deficit.
    Changes for this year: Set it and forget it! I have to maintain my target pace no matter what’s up the road.
  3. Equipment. I packed entirely too much sh*t last year. With rest stops around 60, 100, and 140 miles, there’s no reason to carry more than necessary.
    Changes for this year: no camel back–two water bottles will suffice; no extra tubes–one tube and a patch kit (the Swalbe tires held up great!); no extra food–see number one! Last year I had gels, bars, and who knows what else to eat. This year I’ll carry bottles and a few gels. Equipment probably had the least to do with not finishing last year, but theres no reason to carry the extra weight.

As far as training goes, I’ll probably continue with the same basic program. In addition to upping the mileage as the date approaches, I’ll try to work in more miles on gravel. Last year, I had no idea where to find gravel roads. Thanks to Guru’s and other events in the area, I now have plenty of options.

Look for more posts as the big date approaches. See you in Emporia!

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