I just finished my cross season with my final race this past Sunday (Nov 4th). I am planning my first gravel race on May 4, 2019. That is 24 weeks and 6 days away from this coming Sunday, November 11th. My training plan approach was:
SSB 1 - 6 weeks
SSB 2 - 6 weeks
General Build - 8 weeks
Climbing Road Race - 8 weeks
This totals 28 weeks while I have just under 25 weeks. So I have to shorten some plan(s). I am thinking of starting SSB1 and complete the last two weeks and just use the fitness I have coming off of cross season. Then following the rest of the plan above. But, is this the best approach? Would I see better performance gains by completing 12 weeks of SSB and and maybe shorten the specialty plan?
Any thoughts are appreciated.
I did my first two gravel races this past month: a 100 mile 35-40% gravel and a 62 mile 65-70% gravel race. The biggest thing I would suggest is to ride as much gravel as you can beforehand, especially downhills. I didn’t find that the races any big difference in endurance training than I would have done for a similar road race/ride. What I did find lack was my comfort level at speed descending on gravel and the feel of grinding up a steep hill with loose rocks under my tires.
Also, check with the race/ride coordinator about the conditions. I asked about pedals/shoes and was glad to be on mtb pedals/shoes as I had to do some hiking. However, I didn’t ask about tires and thought my 38s would be fine and my 42x42 would be fine. Turns out I needed 40+ tires and less than 1:1 gear ratio.