Training

DK Women Over 50 Podium - Lynn Malir

Lynn Malir Rocks DK 2017!!!

This year, well over 100 people requested a copy of the 2017 Dirty Kanza training plan. It’s quite humbling (and slightly stressful) to have so many people interested in the plan. Some of the folks that requested a copy stayed in touch over the spring and even followed up after the finish. The best part of offering the plan is hearing all the stories and Dirty Kanza race reports. And this year, the stories have been amazing!

One story stands out because the rider took a bunch of want-tos and turned it into an age-group podium finish! Lynn Malir contacted me early in February, stating that she would “LOVE” a copy of the plan. As I try to do with everyone, I emailed her a link to the plan along with a few questions, the most important one being her goal for the DK. She wrote back and told me that she would like to finish in under 17 hours. We emailed back and forth a few times, discussing training strategies, how to conquer the nutritional challenge, as well as bike maintenance and a few other DK topics. Then, the emails stopped, which is to be expected when complete strangers strike up a conversation on a singular topic.

Then, at the end of February, Lynn emailed, asking if I would help her create a plan specific to her current fitness and time available for training. She said that she was fully committed to finishing the DK and wanted a training plan that would get her there. She also shared that she had a running background and that she had completed the DK Half Pint and started the DK 200 in 2016 but DNF’d due to stomach issues. After learning a bit about her training background and weekly schedule, I  pulled together a complete training plan that included mobility work, strength exercises, and bike workouts. It was slightly overwhelming to see it all together as one plan.

In March, Lynn completed a power test. After a month of training, her FTP was improving ahead of schedule. Her fitness was already better than the 17-hour goal. She was riding more in the 15-hour range. Learning this, I Updated the plan to push Lynn a little harder. And, every week, she reported back with positive news, mostly that she loved the workouts. She was getting stronger and rides were getting easier. As the weeks rolled on and the positive training reports continued, I began to wonder how good she could be. She completed another power test midway through April. Her FTP was up almost 10% since March. It was up so much I made a note next to her FTP number: “age-group podium finisher?” She was doing the work and reaping huge rewards.

There were a few setbacks along the way–a nasty spill during a training ride, travel plans that interrupted a full training week; the typical stuff that almost every athlete encounters during the training season. Then, 2 weeks before the DK, Lynn emailed that she was tired. She was really tired, so much so that she couldn’t complete the scheduled workouts. Did she peak too soon!? We made considerable adjustments to her training so she could focus on recovery. Through all the turmoil, Lynn never really complained. She was concerned, but she listened to her body and made the necessary adjustments. The night before the DK, she emailed me, “I am relaxed and ready to have some fun.”

Malir on the DK Course

Lynn on the Dirty Kanza course.

The next day, I watched my phone as updates rolled in. She arrived at the first checkpoint in under 3 hours. That’s a great time, but I was slightly worried that she was going too hard. Then, the CP2 update arrived before 1 PM. She was maintaining the same average pace. “Wow! She’s gonna do this.” Then nothing. No update for CP3 came in. I checked the weather radar and saw showers moving northward on the course. Maybe that was it. She was behind the rain and slogging through the mud. 5 PM…6 PM…7 PM still no update. I convinced myself that she experienced a technical issue. Then, almost on queue, my phone buzzed. “Lynn Malir crossed the finish at 19:30.” SHE DID IT! And HOLY 13:30-total-time COW. Lynn not only finished, she rode her way to 2nd in her age group and 16th overall!

I’m waiting to read Lynn’s race report. I’m also curious to hear what’s next. Lynn has crazy-good fitness, so she’ll hopefully find another event to race in the next few weeks. Or, maybe she’ll relax a bit and enjoy her amazing accomplishment.

Congratulations, Lynn! 2nd Place Women 50+ Dirty Kanza 2017

DK Women Over 50 Podium - Lynn Malir

Congratulations, Lynn! DK Women Over 50 Podium

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2017 Dirty Kanza Training Plan

In 2015, I offered my personal DK training plan free to anyone that wanted a copy. After sharing a copy with 100’s of folks over the past 2 years, I thought I would update the plan for 2017 and offer it again. So, if you’re looking for a quality training plan that will help you achieve your goals in Emporia, leave a comment and I’ll get a copy to you.

Here’s what a rider that followed the plan last year had to say about the plan:

Training with the plan increased my FTP by about 10% and I’m climbing better than I ever have. The plan was tough, but it helped out very much getting prepared for the 2016 DK200 where about half the field DNF. I made it in to the faster half of my age group (60+ Male). This was my 4th gravel ride ever and my first ultra distance ride. The training along with good mental prep, bike prep and nutrition plan all came together nicely for me. It wasn’t until the last hour really that I noticed my legs getting a bit tired (guess I should have ridden harder!). – Steve

As Steve said, the plan is tough. It is demanding and it will push you.  The results are worth it! The Dirty Kanza is waiting…

And, there’s no catch. I won’t email you or market anything to you. I created this plan for myself (I used it 2 times) but was taken off the bike by an injury suffered while playing baseball. Rather than just let the plan waste away, I thought I would help out as many people as I can so they can show up in Emporia and crush their goal.

Cheers!

DK200 Training Plan

The Dirty Kanza 200: Focus

While the Dirty Kanza is still over 6 months away, it seems that everyone is already preoccupied with the event. Conversations about the race have come up on every group ride for the past two weeks. Those conversations continually include the same two questions: “is it really that difficult” and “do you think I could do it?”

The answer to both of those questions is a resounding YES! The Dirty Kanza isn’t just hard. It’s f-ing hard! It is the single hardest bike ride you will ever attempt. But, any person that really wants to finish can finish. The crucial factors are desire, training, and riding within your abilities.

http://xxcmag.com/Having recurring conversations on this topic have forced me to find words to describe the race. In the 3 race reports I’ve written, I always end up saying that words can’t describe the Dirty Kanza. That’s still true today. I still don’t have words to effectively describe the experience of grinding across the Kansas Flint Hills. But, in searching for ways to describe it, I came up with a way of explaining what to expect throughout the day.

The Dirty Kanza is typically broken into 4 sections, with checkpoints around miles 60, 100, 160, and then the finish. It dawned on me this weekend that CP1 is the easiest (shouldn’t be any surprise), and CP2 is the most difficult.

Start to CP1: Reaching CP1 is relatively easy—any trained bike rider can pedal 60 miles. But, how you get there determines how the rest of the day will go. Go too hard here and the day inevitably ends early.

CP1 to CP2: this section, for me any way, is the real test of the day. With the first 60 miles completed, reaching the mid-way point with a clear head and a working bike is the real challenge. It’s not that the section is any more difficult than the others, but rather the mental aspect of what’s ahead. The negative questions (“can I do this”) always seem to come during these miles. This past year, I rolled into the CP2 full of energy and ready for the rest of the day. The previous two years were a completely different story, though. Both times, I reached the second checkpoint concerned and questioning the rest of the day…and in both of those attempts, I ended up dropping out.

CP2 to CP3: I consider these the lonely miles. Be ready for miles on your own. Bring lots of music. Stop and take a few pictures.  Everyone is forced to ride his or her own pace after the first 100 miles. As a result, even those who planned to ride together seem to end up parting ways during this section.

CP3 to Finish: I may not be fully qualified to write about this section considering I’ve ridden it only 1 time. Then, I was fully energized and riding faster than I rode all day. I’d like to say that is what can be expected, but I’m more realistic than that. I had a great ride during the last section because I rode well under my threshold all day. But, there’s a big lesson in that! Stay focused throughout the day and the end comes easy.

The key ingredient for a successful DK200 is focus. You have to get your mind into the challenge of the day and you have to keep the negative thoughts away. A solid training plan, specific nutrition, and sharp appreciation of what’s ahead will help get you there. And, like I’ve told everyone that’s asked, if you’re thinking about trying the Dirty Kanza, you absolutely should! Sign up, train hard, and go for it!

Riverfront Cyclocross – Year-round CX Training Course

Great news for KC CX’ers: the city of Shawnee has agreed to allow a year-round CX course at Shawnee Riverfront Park.

Riverfront Cyclocross

Here’s the low down from SingleSpeed Pirate.

Great things have happened in the world of Cyclocross here in the Kansas City Metro Area. The City of Shawnee has allowed construction of a Cyclocross Training Course at the Shawnee Riverfront Park, a park that is otherwise undeveloped – with great views and the feel of being in the middle of nowhere.

How awesome is it that you cyclocross maniacs can actually train ON a CX course, and not only the road or a trainer? This is a great opportunity for the cycling community and we are totally psyched to make this happen, for YOU.

FAQ’s

  • The Course is open during normal posted park hours (daylight – 10 p.m.).
  • See the maps below for directions.
  • DO NOT park on the Levee.
  • DO NOT park in the fields.
  • Please use the designated parking area
  • Pack out your trash, there are no ammenites at this park. Help keep the CX course open and the park clean.
  • The course runs CLOCKWISE.
  • Course starts ON the Levee at an orange wooden stake (above the parking area)
  • Group rides and mock training races are allowed, please coordinate events with me at singlespeedpirate @gmail.com
  • DO NOT alter the course.
  • Open rain or shine.
  • Course Length is 2.3 miles.
  • Obstacles – Stairs/Barrier/Steep Descent/Steep Ups n Downs.
  • Course is very fast.

The course is NEW and NEEDS traffic! Expect a bumpy ride until we get enough tires out there to get a line burnt-in and smoothed. Tell your friends!

And a map to Shawnee Riverfront Park:

Juggling Act

I decided a few weeks ago that I would stretch my racing experiences by competing at God’s Country Duathlon. I’ve always done a little running in preparation for cross season, but I’ve never done any real training. Last week, being 8 weeks from the race date, I decided to plan a training schedule. Somehow I have to mix running in with a heavy cycling load. I read a few blogs and Troy Jacobson’s web site, and settled on what seems like a pretty routine mix. I even have bricks on my calendar. woo-woo!

As I planned out the weeks leading up the race day, I noticed something concerning: the Ouachita Challenge, a 60-mile endurance MTB race in the hills of Arkansas, is the weekend before God’s Country. Is it possible to compete in an endurance event and turn around the next weekend for a short run/ride race? March could prove to be an interesting training month!

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!

2010 CX Season. Over.

This past Sunday I raced the De Stad Cross Cup at St. Mary’s College. Just like every year, the course was by far the best of the season. A bit difficult due to soggy, power-tapping ground in a few spots but otherwise fun as hell. Chris has a knack for utilizing the campus to create a fun and challenging course. And those cobbles…

Despite a great start, I found myself only going backwards…and not caring about it. I moved up to 3rd wheel by the first turn, but two turns later, I let the next guy back pass me. And then the next. And then another. Half a lap in I realized I didn’t have any fight in me. D’OH! I twisted through the course, trying to make the most of it but I never really felt like racing. And that’s the real story.

I finished 9th; not terrible but also not as good as the previous races this year. Mentally and physically exhausted, I decided to take off Monday, and then I ended up taking off Tuesday, too. I rode for a little over an hour Wednesday morning just to get the legs going again, only to find myself fighting a stomach thing that afternoon. It still lingers today. I’m starting to realize that this–lack of motivation in the race, sore legs, low immune system–is my body’s way of saying, “take a break!” So today I pulled out the calendar to plan the end of the season. Problem is, the season ended without me really knowing it. Here’s how…

  • Racing tomorrow (Manion’s Cross) is out after being sick all week
  • No races next weekend for Thanksgiving
  • The next race, the Boss Cross MO state race, is December 4. But, we’re out of town for a family function that weekend
  • After that, the next race is 12/31.

Rather than take a break only to come back to race in frigid temps, I’ve decided to call it a season. I’m tired and my body is pushing back pretty damn hard. I plan to take next week off…just to make sure I’m over being overtrained, and then I’ll hit the weights. This isn’t how I wanted this year to go, but some times you just gotta go with the flow. Yes, I’m a dead fish.