Recommended plan for gravel, DK200, DK100, etc

I am doing DK100 and want to know what would be a good workout mixture to build up to this. I will also have a gravel 100k at end of April to test things out. I have been trainer riding for years. Familiar with training plans and how workouts go. Ive put in about 700 ish miles in some form on the trainer and road since beginning of year, so this isn’t a couch to 100 plan I’m looking for.
Any help from folks who have successfully done this. Thanks!!
Ps: this is my first real exploration into competitive distance gravel. I cross race and road ride.

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This will apply to the DK100 as well.

Some other forum related discussions:

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One bit of advice: do not underestimate how much your body will get beaten up by riding on rough surfaces. If you don’t ride off-road regularly, consider doing some form of strength work and core exercises as part of your training.



I would do A LOT of core work. I race gravel – mostly in Michigan – and the day after my first gravel race (which was only 40 miles) my abs and shoulders felt like they’d been beaten with a baseball bat. During the race I was cramping in my lower back and shoulders.

Since then (as noted on other threads) I incorporate a bunch of push-ups, pull-ups and planks into my workouts and haven’t had the same issue.

On a sketchy surface like gravel you are just unconsciously engaging your core almost the entire time for a whole host of reasons. Michigan gravel is mostly just stones on hard-packed dirt roads. I’ve been told that Kansas/Iowa gravel is much deeper and looser…thus amplifying the need for a strong core.

Good luck!


I am coming up to the start of my specialty training for Dk200 and looking to geek out a bit more on plan choices. I know the TR guys recommend the century plan which makes sense but I also keep thinking about the marathon xc plan.

I have never raced DK but the rumour is it is a lot of rolling hills which makes me think the punchy efforts in the xc marathon plan may more closely mimic the race conditions. This thinking could just be a self-confidence thing - I feel good about long steady efforts but not so much when I comes to short efforts.

Essentially, love to hear others thoughts on why not go with the xc marathon? Keep in mind I have never raced DK and I am new to TR so haven’t tested out either plan in the past.

Century. But search Dirty Kanza. There are several existing threads about training, race prep and gear. @mcneese.chad can maybe connect this thread to one of those

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I have completed DK for the past two years. Both years the roads were in very good shape. Fairly compacted, very fast with only a few loose sections here and there. DK is not a very technical event. But the constant vibration is an enormous issue. Especially after 130 or so miles. As recommended by others I would highly recommend weights at least three times a week! Core especially but arms and shoulder too. I’m just about to finish the recommended build high volume plan and will be starting the century plan. since I have plenty of time between now and the event, I’m going to supplement the plan with more endurance workouts. If I keep my cadence up over 90 every 30 minutes on the trainer equals about 12 miles. A three hour workout is equal to a 72 mile ride which emphasizes fat burning with low TSS. Yes there are hills in Kansas but I’m also in Michigan and our hills are much more epic than anything I did riding DK! I was kinda disappointed with Texico Hill.

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Used the rolling road plan, plus raced a few 100mi gravel races for prep for last minute DK100 (Teammate transfer last of April). Not my A race, but came in 2nd Masters and 13th male, 6:15 105mi. Thanks for the good workouts! 5 stars One question or comment: I had some leg cramps toward the end, but low cadence seemed to help. Avg 68rpm 16.8mph Est. Watts Avg 220 IF.8 TSS478 180# FTP290
Any thoughts on the low cadence? Follow T on Strava to see this activity. Join for free.
Thanks Tim

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Congrats. On the cadence, it may be that the change in cadence shifted loading and stepped away from the overload of a quicker cadence.

Sometimes the continuous repetition with little change can lead to cramps on it’s own. So the subtle differences in muscle activation may have been the key to getting away from the cramps.

I know I can get away from the twinges by altering pedal stroke, body position and gearing on occasion. They just switch up the muscles enough to give the overdone ones a rest.

how did kanza go for you!?

2nd place Masters, 18 out of 751. Gravel was loose on most of the course, so pushing a lot of power all day.


That’s a great result! As to the cadence…well, I couldn’t grind all day like that but looks like you went all Ulrich on the course and it worked for you. Hey, drive trains are a lot more efficient at 60rpm than they are at 100rpm. So there is that. :wink:

heck yeah, awesome work man! what’s next?