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!


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:
  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!

Inaugural Noodles & Co Hill Ride

Yesterday was the first Bicycle Shack Hill Training Ride, aka the Noodles & Co Hill Ride. It’s always tough to start a new ride, and this one proved to be no different. I put the word out on Facebook and enlisted Ben’s help to promote the ride. Despite out efforts, the turnout was low with only 4 showing up. Hopefully the wind didn’t keep people away! While it was strong out of the south (gusting over 30 MPH), it never really impacted the ride.

I realized after the ride that the low turnout was actually a good thing. The small group provided a chance to feel out the course and consider improvement. For instance, a few of the markers are too close to the turn, and as a result they are not very effective. The intersection at NE Fairway Homes and NE St. Andrews Cir is very confusing, too. I’ll try to fix those this week.

The four that showed up were Ben Simon, Kyle Skinner, Jeff Allen, and myself. There was enough horsepower in our small group to make the ride plenty tough. Perhaps the best way to summarize it is to say that we completed 2 Lakewood circuits with no one getting dropped. The only story of the night was the finishing climb on Rhinehart. The four of us started together but Kyle easily rode off the front, finishing 100+ meters ahead of us. He blamed it on his recent race in Arkansas and the long, steady climbs there. But, strong is strong and he was gone!

After the ride, we talked about possible changes but ultimately agreed that the route should stay as-is for a few more rides. So, next Thursday, 6:00PM…

Switch to CX Training

August came and went in a flash mostly because, as planned, I took the month off the bike. I did a few rides here and there but they were generally easy rides and none of them were “training” rides. I agree with Chris Carmichael that competitive cyclists need a break from training and racing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean getting off the bike entirely. I also added strength training to my weekly regement. The program I put together focused on total body strength with a focus on legs. (It’s been two weeks since my last leg workout and I still feel it on the bike!)

On September 1 everything changed. The knobbies came out of storage and I started my CX training program. The program is designed to peak for the MO CX Championships and the US Nationals. It’s a 3-week macrocycle program–2 weeks of build followed by 1 week of active recovery. I’m anxious to see how this format lines up with the racing season. In addition to the two peak races, I would also like to be competitive, i.e on the podium, for the Da Stad Cyclocross Van Kansas Series. I don’t know if that will fit into my schedule, though.

Two weeks into the program and I can already feel the results, both from CX training and base gained through the summer. First, my legs are tired. The upcoming recovery week will be welcome. Second, I feel a lot stronger during CX-specific workout. Crossing the sand pit isn’t nearly as tough as it was last year! And, finally, I’m mentally focused and eager to race.

I’ve added running to my schedule but this is the one workout segment that I haven’t been too good about doing consistently. I’m running but not on schedule. I’m not too worried about it, though, because I’ve felt really comfortable during runs. My biggest running concern for the season are the 60 stairs of eleveation at the MO Championship course.I don’t know that any amount of running will prepare for that suffer fest.