How would you prepare to ride 144 miles with 17,200' of elevation gain in under 10 hours and in 95F heat?

The ride is July 19 (41 weeks away). I’m approaching it with the 12 weeks of Traditional Base Low Volume (currently wrapping up week one), 12 weeks of Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume, 8 weeks of Sustained Power Build Mid Volume and the 8 week Century - High Volume speciality phase.

I am currently planning one week off in between the Traditional and Sweet Spot Base plans, and expect to make modifications to this structure to include more rest as I go along, whether that be by inserting a week of rest in between each phase or simply adjusting volume down or taking rest days as needed.

Most of the climbs are long and sustained, one to two miles at a time. I’m most curious about whether I should substitute the Climbing Road Race Specialty Plan in place of the Century.

The ride starts immediately with a 1 mile climb at 5% followed by 1 mile descent to a 1.25-mile climb at 4%. That’s followed by another 1-mile descent which leads into a 2-mile climb at 6%. Both climbs are fairly consistent grades, but the final half-mile of the second climb does have some 10% pitch in it.

Following these climbs is a 2.75 mile descent that leads into another 1.25 climb. This one is a 7% average with some 10% to it as well. A final 1.5 mile descent takes the rider back to the start to do everything all over again. Ten laps of this course constitutes the ride.

The ride isn’t a race, but I would love to finish it 10 hours or less. I rode five laps last year in 5:28 moving (5:37 elapsed). Each lap was progressively slower than the first, increasing in 2 to 3 minute increments from 57 minutes to 64 minutes with a more dramatic slowing of six minutes on the last lap (70 minutes).

I prepared for my ride last year, if you can call it preparation, by training for a half marathon and augmenting my running with 2 to 4 hours on Zwift between January and mid-May. With six weeks to go and my half marathon done, I rode 6 to 8 hours a week, half on a Zwift training plan and half outside to get distance.

Temperature at the start is typically mid-70s, but climbs to upper-80s and low 90s within 3 to 4 hours and then rests in the mid-90s from noon on.

Those are all the details. What are your thoughts on my approach, and how would you approach it if this was your A event?

If it matters, I’m 48 years old and weigh 62kg. After a month of unstructured off-season, my FTP is 210, but was 235 at the end of the season.

Thanks for your thoughts and time.

So what is your current training load? If you are currently doing a decent number of hours or TSS, I suspect that the low volume traditional base will be a waste of time.

Id suggest doing something like this:
SSB 1 & 2 Mid volume (12 weeks)
Sustained Build Mid volume (8 weeks)
SSB 1 & 2 Mid volume (12 Weeks)
Century Mid volume (8 Weeks)

With this whole thing, weather permitting I think you should substitute Sunday rides with progressively longer low intensity outdoor rides, just to get used to time in the saddle outdoors. Hopefully building up to something like 6 hours. At least this is how I would approach training for this event.

This is more about a race where there will be surges and what not that you have to stay with to be competitive. From your description it sounds like this is not the case so I think the added endurance gained from doing century plan would be more beneficial.

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One other thing, use your Sunday long rides to try out nutrition strategies as keeping hydrated and fueled is key with these long events.

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I would do the century plan. I did that this year, and I think that fits with the long sustained climbs you are describing. I was well prepared for the death ride which is pretty mostly steady climbs.
As mentioned, nutrition and hydration are key, with hydration being especially important if it hits 95. I do a fair bit of riding in the 90s, and I think that doing some training in the heat helps. They’ve talked about heat adaptation on the podcast a few times, with things like a sauna after the workout also helping without having to workout in the heat. My trainer is in the garage, so during the summer I am forced to adapt.
Also, what ride is this?

My typical early/late season TSS is between 300 and 400 a week. It goes up to 500-600 a week in the summer. I’m coming off a month of 200 TSS weeks and plan to increase that to 300 TSS/wk this month and 400 TSS/wk in Nov. I chose low volume for the traditional build because I love running in the fall and winter and want to have time to enjoy that too.

I plan on incorporating outdoor rides on the weekends starting in April. Some weekends that may be a fast group ride and others it may mean low intensity. The rides will typically be 3 to 5 hours long. Thanks for your input.

I typically ride well in the heat, but I definitely need to dial in the nutrition and hydration. I think my nutrition/hydration habits are pretty good for the distance, but not good enough for the time element I’m adding on.

I’m participating in the 719 Ride and specifically doing the Double 719. It’s a young ride in Colorado Springs that is just a group of friends getting together to hurt themselves. Because it’s laps, people come and ride what their schedule and fitness allow.

I’m going through a similar process training for Dirty Kanza 200 on June 1. I’m going with traditional base, sustained build, sweet spot base, and century. My initial thought was traditional base, SSB, sustained build, and century. But 24 weeks off base is a LONG time.

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Thanks for the alternative approach. What do you consider the downside of being off a base plan for so long? I opted for the long base to because I thought it important to create a super strong foundation for the higher volume in the build and speciality phase. I want to make sure I am amply ready for the increased training stress.

Good luck at Dirty Kanza.