2017 Dirty Kanza Prep & Training

Note: This post is about my second Dirty Kanza 200 experience on June 3, 2017.

It’s broken into seven parts:

Part I – Prep / Training

Part II – Preamble

Part III – Starting Line

Part IV – Checkpoint One

Part V – Checkpoint Two

Part VI – Checkpoint Three

Part VII – Finish Line

Prep / Training

Many changes from last year’s Part II – Prep / Training plan including…

Changes to the bike

Still riding the Willard.


Raleigh Willard I @ 4am on race day

With a few changes to the setup that worked quite well:

  1. Handlebars – Salsa cowbell type 3, double-wrapped, wider, not as deep in the drops (comfort), double-wrapped to reduce vibration and prevent a repeat from last year’s numbed fingers.
  2. Cassette – Shimano 12-36T – granny gear means staying in the saddle during climbs, adding weight to the rear tire preventing slippage.  Not standing preserves energy reserves deeper into the day.
  3. Tires – Teravail Cannonball – 700×38 – shaves 2mm’s width from the tire with no downside.  Even with goo tubes, they (seem to) roll a bit easier vs. last year’s Schwalbe Marathons.

Summary of changes to bike

Once again this bike gets me across the finish — in time.  I did have a bit of trouble during the 3rd leg.  The afternoon thundershowers brought  with them mud and rocks getting into the gears.  This caused them to grind (hence the name) and required frequent stops to flush.  Otherwise a chain or derailleur surely would break, and did for those who didn’t pay heed.

These were extreme road conditions; I doubt anything but a single-speed would have done as well.


Mile 134 (3rd leg) of the 2017 dirty kanza and sloppy / muddy road conditions.


Significant changes from last year.  Here is my 2017 training log:

# Week     Longest Day     Total Miles
1.  Feb  6          83             216
2.  Feb 13          63             201
3.  Feb 20          90             222
4.  Feb 27          58             167
5.  Mar  6          79             207
6.  Mar 13          95             212
7.  Mar 20          45             181
8.  Mar 27         111             213
9.  Apr  3          98             202
10. Apr 10         141             285
11. Apr 17          23              23
12. Apr 24          79             239
13. May  1         160             327
14. May  8          70             199
15. May 15         101             155
16. May 22          55             192
17. May 29         208             252

The strategy included the following:

  • Every two weeks ride a bit further on the long day.
  • Hold the longest day at least one month prior.
  • Don’t ride long during the week.
  • Hills, hills and more hills.
  • Work on speed / intervals.

This made life easier as every other weekend I’d embark on a long training ride.  Sawtoothing my way up to about 160 miles — at the beginning of May.

More hills and interval training (ugh), where things get pushed to limit, but actually spent fewer long days on the bike.  I took it easy during the week with up to 120 miles logged between M-F.

Most of that training was pavement on the roads and trails around Little Rock.


Downtown Little Rock (LR)


North LR (from the river trail)

A lot of time spent outside of LR, in the mountains and deltas.


Harper’s loop

Here’s a descent down Thornburg Mountain:


Another coming off the backside of Wye mountain on Hwy 300:


There was one week grinding Kansas gravel outside Salina, including this century ride on the Native Stone route in Wabaunsee County.


Native Stone trail mile 19


Native Stone mile 84

Always remembering to take a break now and then…


@ Diamond Bear in NLR

Training Summary

I finished the race, shaving about an hour off last year’s time, but there’s room for improvement.  Still, I felt pretty good after the ride, and recovered quicker than last year.


After last year’s fiasco running dry during the 2nd leg, and almost DNFing, I was determined to change.  I added a 2.5L camelbak to my 1.8L platypus bladder (in the framebag), along with two water bottles.  I also paid attention to electrolytes on the long, sweaty rides.

Hydration Summary

Amazingly enough, even with all that water, I ran out about 10 miles from CP2 @ 95 miles.  An improvement over last year, but not good enough.

If you get one thing from this post:

Bring plenty of water for that 2nd leg of  DK!!!  (more later).


My nutrition plan also failed me last year with a bonk on the 2nd leg.  This year I eased my foolish opposition to factory products.


I learned the hard way that nutrition is crucial on those long rides (2nd only to hydration), and started eating those syrupy goopy packages of food.  No, I still don’t like, but to be successful on long rides, one must consume their calories — gradually and consistently.   Eat too much at once and get sick.  Too little and run out of gas.  For me the optimum is about 100 calories every 10 miles or so, which allows me to keep going, seemingly indefinitely.

Food Summary

My nutrition plan was a success in 2017.  I was able to eat, and stay energized, until the finish.

Next Post: Part II – Preamble

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