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Old 05-20-14, 09:08 AM   #1
Ralphie000
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DK200 Questions

Gearing up for the Dirty Kanza 200 in two weeks and, as the title says, looking for some affirmation regarding my training plan and also advice on how to ensure I go into the event in as good as form as possible.

Here is how my training has looked so far:

Was riding 750-800 miles per month June through August of last year. Had first kid in September and got injured in October. Still rode here and there but mileage ranged from only 420-570 miles per month October through December of 2013. I was doing more intensity/interval stuff (Sufferfest videos) on the rollers during those months though.
2014 mileage has looked like this thus far:

Jan - 608 miles, 36.5 hours

Feb -408 miles, 27.5 hours

March - 670 miles, 39 hours

April - 677 miles, 43.5 hours

May (as of today) - 574 miles, 35.3 hours

This is a mix of gravel grinding and road. I am an attorney and regularly work 60 hour weeks, so finding time to ride can be difficult. Preparing for this event has actually been relatively stressful in terms of the time-crunch. When I ride shorter on weekdays, I try to up the intensity, which means a lot of extended zone 3-4 efforts (20 minute interval efforts or an 1.5 hour ride at sustainable but hard effort).

I have done 6-7 hundred plus mile rides this year. About half of those on dirt. My longest ride was the Anti-Epic Gravel Grinder (165 miles) in the beginning of April. I learned a lot on the Anti-Epic ride. Went out a little to hard and was not using any electrolytes (you can fake your way through 100 nutrition-wise but 165 is another story). A severely muddy 4 mile hike a bike section at mile 125 and those other two factors caused a pretty rough patch around mile 130-145. Eventually was able to battle through that rode the last 15-20 miles feeling ok.

I completed my last planned long ride of 104 miles with 3150 feet of climbing on gravel this past Sunday. I tried to ride that at my goal pace of finishing in 14.5 hours. I finished in 7:15 total time and 7 hours moving time. Kept up with fluid and nutrition (including gu brew) and felt pretty good at the 100 mile point. Granted, I will have to go twice that in most likely significantly hotter conditions at the Kanza. However, I had ridden a pretty brisk 75 miler (19.1 mph avg -windy but flat) on the road bike the day before so I was carrying a little more fatigue than I plan to at the Kanza.

As a baseline, the last two road centuries I've ridden, I averaged about 18.5 hours and finished in about 5.5 hours (moving time). I am in slightly better shape now than I was for those. My gravel centuries typically are closer to 14.5-14.8 mph avg. My pace is always somewhat dictated to the group of people I am riding with so it's tough to gauge what would truly be sustainable for me over 100-200 miles, if allowed to ride completely at my own pace.

Here are my questions:

1.) How does my training up until now look? Granted, in a perfect world I would ride 20+ hours per week, but that's simply not realistic given my circumstances. Have I done enough to be prepared?

2.) How should I taper? I am lost as far as what to do/how much, ride, eat, rest etc. for these next two weeks. Please help!

3.) Do you think "beating the sun" is possible (finishing in under 14 hours, 42 minutes)? I am hoping that if the weather is works out and everything is perfect (no mechanical, don't eff up on nutrition), it's in the cards. My plan is to ride each fifty in 3.5 hours, 7.25 hours per 100 to give some room for error. I think minimizing non-moving off the bike time will be key. Plan to eat and recover as much as possible while on the bike moving. Is that a good plan? Or should I try to go out faster and build up some room for slowing. Or vice versa and try for a negative split on the two 100s?

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Ralphie000; 05-20-14 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 05-20-14, 11:28 AM   #2
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to my understanding, the Kwanza uses dirt roads, yes? Are you concerned you might chip your bike, especially if it's carbon?

anyway, you'll probably get better feedback in the other forum:

Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling
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Old 05-20-14, 11:39 AM   #3
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Q1 - doesn't matter. the hay is in the barn, meaning your fitness is what it is, all you can do between now and then is eat well, get lots of sleep, and focus on recovery from your training.

Q2 - hard to say because different things work better for different people. generally, err to the side of rest. i'd probably do short spins of like 1.0 hours 5 days/week with no intensity aside from terrain based stuff, but would focus on ez spinning most of the time. better to be over rested than carrying fatigue - whether it be fatigue from on the bike or life factors.

Q3 - don't really know, but if you're going to be on the bike for over 14 hours, you're going to have to stop periodically. if you think of about 600 cal/hr. expenditure from riding, you're going to need to replace those to avoid a bonk, and you'll need to do it with something your body can tolerate.

forum link creakyknees posted probably has better info than what you'll get here.
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Old 05-20-14, 12:27 PM   #4
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I did DK last year. If you can do a 165 mile gravel grinder, you can do DK, it's just a question of how fast, and how good you will feel.

It is a *****. Be prepared for really strong headwinds on the prarie that can last 100 miles. ( You literally could hear the power lines singing, Witchita Lineman as a earworm gets old after awhile). Also, there's over 10,000 feet of climbing and a few short but very steep climbs.

The longest ride of my life leading up to DK was Cross Florida, 168 miles in 8 hours. However, with the intensisty work of training for more normal races, I think I was adequately prepared for DK.

I did it with the CTS team with Chris Carmichael and Rebecca Rusch. Carmichael said it was the longest, hardest, race he ever did, including anythin he did professionally in Europe. Best piece of advice he had was that at some point in the day, you're going to have a bad patch. Racing for 12-14 hours, it's almost unavoidable. You just have to push through, and it gets better.

That actually happened for me. About 140 miles in, I felt terrible, about to bonk, and really bad hotspots on my feet. I took 5 minutes to get off the bike, take my shoes off, lay down and eat a Gu. Got back on the bike and by mile 160 or so started feeling better.
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Old 05-20-14, 12:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
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to my understanding, the Kwanza uses dirt roads, yes? Are you concerned you might chip your bike, especially if it's carbon?

anyway, you'll probably get better feedback in the other forum:
"Dirt Roads" doesn't really capture it. All of it has gravel made up of flint (i.e. arrow heads) Some of it is pretty decent roadway. Some of it is designated as "minimal maintenance" and is closer to a trail, and only passable by SUV.

You couldn't do it on a road bike. The Organizers reccomend at least 2 inch wide tires. I did it on a Cyclocross bike running 40mm Schwalbe Marathon Supremes.

There's a thread in the cyclocross forum about tire selection.
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Old 05-20-14, 01:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ralphie000 View Post
Do you think "beating the sun" is possible (finishing in under 14 hours, 42 minutes)? I am hoping that if the weather is works out and everything is perfect (no mechanical, don't eff up on nutrition), it's in the cards. My plan is to ride each fifty in 3.5 hours, 7.25 hours per 100 to give some room for error. I think minimizing non-moving off the bike time will be key. Plan to eat and recover as much as possible while on the bike moving. Is that a good plan? Or should I try to go out faster and build up some room for slowing. Or vice versa and try for a negative split on the two 100s?

Thanks in advance!

As for pacing, I don't think you can really plan on completing each split in a certain time, due to the variabilities of wind, road conditions, stream crossings, etc. I did the first 50 miles in a little over 2 1/2 hours, and thought the beating the Sun
Next two sections were 100miles of brutal headwind, a 100 foot wide river crossing, several hundred yards of unrideable mud, and my race with the Sun was over.

I think you need to find a pace early that's a bit below what you think you can sustain, and fall in with a group that matches your fitness level. If you go out easy, you can always build. Go out too hard and blow, and it's a long freaking 204miles.

As for whether Beating the Sun is realistic, just guessing, I think it could be a stretch. I would have been close had I not gotten lost and ridden an extra 20 plus miles.

It will take substantially more effort than the effort necessary to do a five and a half hour road century, for several reasons. Obviously, there's a lot more rolling resistence, and the bike equipped to handle the rough terrain is heavier. And there's a surprising amount of climbing (over 10,000 feet) for Kansas. The wind also can be unrelenting. You can go for miles without seeing a tree anywhere close to the road. Drafting is also hit or miss. Lot's of places there's one rut to ride in, and you have to choose between the smooth line, and the right place to draft in a cross wind. Sometimes you can draft effectively. Other times, it's not worth the effort due to the road.

So I think you may be able to Beat the Sun, but it's going to be a step up from the previous rides you've described.
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Old 05-20-14, 02:46 PM   #7
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Thank you for your in-depth insight, Merlin. It's greatly appreciated. I am hoping for perfect conditions and no nutritional or mechanical mishaps. If there is wind like last year or I'm wasting time changing multiple flats, my goal is simply to finish before the bars close.
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Old 05-21-14, 09:44 AM   #8
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... I am hoping ....
"hope is not a strategy"
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Old 05-21-14, 10:20 AM   #9
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"hope is not a strategy"
Umm... great insight? Very constructive and helpful.
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Old 05-22-14, 06:49 AM   #10
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What he's trying to say is don't rely on hope, have a backup plan. In fact, for something as epic as this, have several backup plans.

I don't do this kind of racing so take this FWIW. I think if you are going to screw up and put yourself in a bad place, it will because you went out too hard to try and beat the sun and blew up. So don't don't do that. Merlin is an experienced national level road racer. If he stopped for a five minute rest every now and then, then you should plan on it. Don't get so caught up in your time that you end up in the sag wagon.

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Old 06-01-14, 05:11 PM   #11
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So Ralphie, how did it go?

I actually thought a few times yesterday where I'd be at that point in the day; half wishing I was there, half glad I wasn't
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Old 06-02-14, 08:31 AM   #12
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So Ralphie, how did it go?

I actually thought a few times yesterday where I'd be at that point in the day; half wishing I was there, half glad I wasn't
not as well as he hoped.....?
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Old 06-02-14, 06:26 PM   #13
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Went well. Had terrific conditions and no mechanical issues or flats. Nailed the nutrition, hydration, and pacing. Beat the sun by over an hour and placed in the top 10 in my division (30-35). All in all, very happy with the result.
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Old 06-02-14, 06:31 PM   #14
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And thank you again for your thoughtful response, Merlin. It was just one of those great days where I just had it. Went in well-tapered and relaxed. Lucked out with the conditions. Wind was only 11 mph, so basically a non-factor. I never even really felt bonky.
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Old 06-02-14, 06:43 PM   #15
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Great work Ralphie!
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Old 06-03-14, 07:46 AM   #16
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Good work!
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Old 06-03-14, 08:34 AM   #17
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Tough event great result.
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Old 06-03-14, 01:09 PM   #18
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The overall winner maintained an 18 mph average. On 200 miles of gravel and dirt. (I used to live in the area, some of the gravel can also be used as decorative boulders in landscaping.)

Dirty Kanza Domination - Emporia Gazette: Sports

I don't maintain an 18 mph on asphalt. I'm think I should quit and take up horseshoes or something.
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Old 06-04-14, 05:30 AM   #19
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Thanks fellas.
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Old 06-04-14, 07:25 AM   #20
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The overall winner maintained an 18 mph average. On 200 miles of gravel and dirt. (I used to live in the area, some of the gravel can also be used as decorative boulders in landscaping.)

Dirty Kanza Domination - Emporia Gazette: Sports

I don't maintain an 18 mph on asphalt. I'm think I should quit and take up horseshoes or something.
Throw in 10,000 feet of vertical too.

Apparently the conditions were as easy as it gets for DK ( previous record was 1:14 longer, and only 3 people had ever done DK in under 12 hours before)

Nonetheless that's friggin fast.
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Old 09-27-14, 11:11 AM   #21
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Throw in 10,000 feet of vertical too.

Apparently the conditions were as easy as it gets for DK ( previous record was 1:14 longer, and only 3 people had ever done DK in under 12 hours before)

Nonetheless that's friggin fast.
Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I can't pm. Merlin, how did you like your Motobecane for the Dirty Kanza?
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