Dirty Kanza

2015 Dirty Kanza Training Plan

Registration for the Dirty Kanza 200 closed today. Now, it’s time to get busy! The good news is you have plenty of time to build base and get ready for the grueling event. If you’re like me, you are probably asking Uncle Google for training advice or even a training plan.

You’re in luck!

I have 3 different training plans that I’m happy to share for free (a reference if you share the plans would be nice, but there are no expectations. It would also be great to hear how you did and if the plan helped you. Otherwise, I’m just looking to help you have a great DK experience.) The plans range from my personal plan that I designed to help me finish the DK200 in 12 to 13 hours, down to a version for a buddy who wanted to ride the 100-mile DK Half Pint at a comfortable pace. These will not be customized to your individual needs, but they will provide a great starting point!

Drop me a line or leave a comment below if you’re interested and I’ll share a copy with you. They are Google Spreadsheets so sharing is a snap. Or, I can email a copy if you prefer.

Happy training and good luck!


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!

Dirty Kanza – DNF

I don’t even know that I can adequately describe what happened on Saturday. The ride was so long and arduous it’s difficult to pick a topic to write about. Even then, the only way to truly appreciate the Dirty Kanza 200 is to ride it; words can never describe it! The course, the heat, a total of over 12,000 feet of climbing, and the mental challenge of pedaling all day add up to the hardest day of cycling I have ever endured. The Triple Bypass or the Assault on Mt. Mitchell pale in comparison to this grind.

I rolled out of the hotel parking lot at 5:15, headed for downtown Emporia. The wind and humidity were well above the comfortable level even that early in the morning. “You ready for this!?,” echoed through my mind as I made my way to the Granada Theater and the start line.

We rolled out of town promptly at 6AM at a relatively slow pace. Everything changed as soon as we crossed the bridge and turned onto the gravel. A large group of 20 or so riders absolutely smashed it and were out of site. Within a matter of minutes, the pack had split into several large groups. I settled in with the 3rd or 4th group and started grinding away. The groups lasted only a few more miles, though, when the first short but steep hill split everyone up. Everyone was on their own or down to their riding partner by mile 10.

The first 103 miles were difficult but mostly uneventful. The real challenge started after the 2nd check point in Council Grove. After spending about 20 minutes off the bike, I headed out of town just 15 minutes behind teammates Eric and Jim (and over 1:45 behind the race leader!) but with no other riders in sight. When I rolled into town, I felt great–I was full of energy and excited to keep going. That all changed within an hour of leaving town. It started with a slight stomach ache and culminated with me sitting on the side of the road just 1 mile from the last check point in Alma.

In 40 miles between Council Grove and Alma, I traveled through Egypt, walked with Jesus, and learned what it means to suffer. My stomach ache spun into nausea so intense I couldn’t even drink water yet alone eat. The temps had soared to 96+ with humidity to match. I knew I was a ticking time bomb. I kept telling myself, “make it to Alma and you might be able to recoup a bit and get back on the road.” But my body shut down pretty quickly with little fluids and no food. Both legs cramped into knots, my vision blurred, and I found myself struggling to hold a line. Alma, just a few miles away, might as well have been the finish line in Emporia or Fargo for that matter.

The decision to step off the bike was difficult. All the preparation and training miles were about to end in a flash. But, I knew that I wasn’t going to finish today. I wandered to the first shady spot in the road, rolled to a stop, sat down and called Traci. It was 4:05PM. It took a cold shower, a nap and several bottles of water to bring me back around. I was tired and sore but otherwise OK. Oddly enough, my thoughts were all about next year!

A few key points:

  • 175 started, 63 finished
  • Swalbe Marathon tires!!!
  • Liquid diet only
  • Keep electrolytes in balance. I tried a combo of Gatoraid, Cytomax and Hammer Endurolytes. It wasn’t enough.
  • Ride with someone, even if it means dropping pace a mile or two.

Bone Bender

Bone Bender 3/6With the Dirty Kanza looming on the horizon, I thought it’d be helpful to start racing endurance MTB events. So, this weekend I’m racing the 3-hour Bone Bender Race. The promoter calls this a “3/6 Hour Mountain Bike Odyssey in Paradise.” Paradise? I’ll let you know after Sunday just how close to paradise it really is! Since this is an endurance event, there are no classes…just a whole bunch of angry racers tearing across the course. That should make for an entertaining start, especially considering that I haven’t raced on a mountain bike since college. See ya’ll on the line!