Using TR to prepare for Dirty Kanza 200

Posted this on Reddit a few days ago and did get a response from TR and one person. But would love to hear if anyone has personal experience using TR for DK200.

I’m hoping to do the 200 mile version of Dirty Kanza next year, with the goal being to beat the sun. I’m not trying to hang with the lead pack even for the first few miles.

I’m wrapping up climbing road race this week and have my A event on 9/30 (Six Gap century). I’ve got a hundred mile gravel/road ride in mid October and then a 60 mile gravel race November 3.

If if work from June 1, 2019 (DK date) backwards, my 28 week block (with a week or two off for family vacations) starts Nov 5 so that lines up well with my final three events this year.

The base and build phases are pretty obvious to me (SSB mid and sustained power mid volume). [Note: the TR recommendation on Reddit was maybe to try Traditional Base along with some LONG rides outdoors mixed in]

My first question is 1) what’s the best specialty phase for DK200? I can see arguments for 40K TT, Century on the road size or even Cross-Country Marathon in the mountain side. Anyone have experience using TR for DK200? Or opinions?

My second question is whether to do any plan in October or should I just ride and do my events to avoid burnout? Any benefit from doing 4 weeks of traditional base (knowing that I probably be skipping some days and riding outside).



Paging Coach @chad !!


Here’s a great blog post we wrote specifically about training for Dirty Kanza, back in April 2017: How to Train for Unbound Gravel & Newly Improved Full Century Plans

Additionally, we sat down with Geoff Kabush, who raced to 3rd place in 2018, in this podcast episode to analyze his race using Performance Analytics: Race Analysis: Dirty Kanza 2018 with Geoff Kabush - TrainerRoad Blog

Hopefully you find this helpful, and it helps fuel your fire for your own DK200! I look forward to seeing if anyone has personal experience to share regarding using TR to train for Dirty Kanza.


Hey Aydraper,

No personal experience at DK200, but I’m happy to weigh in on your questions. Any of those specialty plans are appropriate, so I’d choose the plan you find the most interesting, the one that’s likely to keep your training consistency as high as possible. For DK, I’d lean more toward Century simply because the efforts are the most similar to the Kansas terrain, but the 40k TT plan could work just as well if you swapped out one of the weekend workouts for some longer, outdoor mileage done at your intended DK pace.

You could definitely see some return on a bit of Traditional Base in those final 4 weeks, especially if you weigh its demands against whatever events (and outdoor riding) you face during those 4 weeks. Don’t overdo it and head into DK with any residual fatigue. It’s far better to feel a little over-rested than still clinging to a bit of fatigue; it’s a long day out there.

Best of luck! Let us know how things go, if you get a chance.


My long distance season starts earlier than DK, so I’m starting base training any day now. Last year, I didn’t start base early enough so I never managed to complete a build phase plan. This didn’t hurt me too much. Then I managed to develop a knee problem and ended up doing recovery rides all summer as it got better. I still managed to finish a 760 mile ride at the end of August

We’re all different, but my criteria for selecting a plan is twofold: one, will I complete it, and two, does it have enough intensity workouts. I know I’m not going to complete a plan that has too many 90 minute to 2hr long workouts. Making progress on a plan holds my interest, and I think that is what avoiding burnout really is for me.

As far as riding outside goes, 60 miles seems to be a really good distance. The only reasons to go longer in my
mind are to make sure your position is good and that you have good eating strategies. Eating is the most important part of riding long distance. If you think your legs are gone, that means you need to eat. In one of the TR podcasts, they mentioned doing fat adapted workouts. I ride Taku before breakfast for that, and it does seem to help. And it’s a lot more pleasant than riding 100 miles without eating. If you don’t do any other strength training off the bike, pushups really help for avoiding shoulder and neck pain on distance rides.

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I am planning on doing sweet spot base mid volume into sustained power, finishing with the century specialty plan. I have similar time goals as you so hopefully this plan works. Are you still planning on following this format?

That’s my plan. I just did. 4 week block of traditional base. During the build phase, I plan on swapping out for the longer optional ride indoors or doing a long weekend ride. Outside of a couple of centuries, I don’t plan on trying to do a 150+ mile ride before DK.

If we both get in, let’s stay in touch during training and share ideas that are working or that aren’t.


I’m actually targeting Gravel Worlds as my A race this year. It’s a bit faster and shorter than DK, so I’m hoping to target a sub 7:30/8:00 finish. I think a lot of the demands on race day will be similar between DK and GW: Tons of rolling hills and potentially long slogs into headwinds.

The Gravel Worlds course typically has about 10,000 ft of climbing over 150 miles, but all of it is in 50-100ft chunks. Looking at Best Bike Split, I’ll need to put out a bunch of a 1-2 minute close to threshold efforts over the course of the day. Based on this, I’m tentatively going for SSB MV → Sustained Power Build → Cross Country Marathon Specialty.


What’s up guys… I’ve used TR/Indoor training on and off over the years with good success getting ready for ultra distance mtb races and then DK200 and Gravel Worlds last year. After doing these long gravel races, at least for me, it’s all about being able to spend A LOT of time in Z3/Sweet Spot and then having the ability to surge on the rollers and to stay with a group. It all depends on how you want to attack these races… If you want to go relatively fast is just like a really, really long road race and takes the same kinds of efforts… then it’s all about eating and equipment choice.

Outside of specific training I’d recommend get really comfortable riding in groups. Riding in a group going 20+ on the road is one thing, riding with a group going 20+ on loose, potentially muddy, gravel is something totally different. I saw too many people who weren’t comfortable making some sketchy decisions and making things kind of dangerous. If you’re not in a group there you’re doing something wrong and wasting a lot of energy. Other than that get really comfortable working on your bike (plugging tires, installing tube, fixing a broken chain) etc.

I hoping to be back in Emporia this year too and starting sweet spot base next week after a couple of months of prep work after ending my season at Gravel Worlds last year. Good luck with the lottery.


I wanted to do it this past year, as I happened to be there at the time, but I had flown in the night before and I didn’t get my act together to figure out shipping my bike (wish I had a cheap bike to just keep there, but I’m usually there at Xmas). I know this year was less climbing than usual. Maybe I’ll get to do it someday!

I used TR and was able to finish DK last year (2017). My approach was Sweet Spot Base, Sustained Power Build and then the Century Specialty plan. I wasn’t particularly fast, yet still finished before midnight, which was my goal. I will say that I had plenty of energy left in the tank at the end, mainly due to me being overly scared of going into the red throughout the day. I finished a lot slower than I was capable of looking back due to this, but it was my first 200 miler, and I was pretty much scared of that kind of distance.

This was perfect for me, even with me carrying a good bit of extra weight around, as I felt that I was moving forward on the climbs, and not losing ground like I would do while riding steeper hills at home (Alabama). I was completely fresh for the last segment also, albeit seemed to be a bit flatter than earlier portions of the course.

Outside of using TR, I focused on riding centuries with the front group, and every long gravel ride within 5 hours or so of the house. My longest gravel rides were a 100 milers, and one 120 miler, and one double century weekend a month before DK, a road century on Saturday, and then a gravel century on Sunday. Longest road ride was 146 miles, and that was early April.

I’m hoping to use the same approach this year (assuming I get in the lottery) and I won’t be metering my effort like I did before, this time with eyes on racing the sun.

Best of luck!

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I’m looking at the DK200 this year and likewise am a bit scared of the distance. Would you mind sharing what IF you completed the ride at, and maybe what IF you think you could have held? My longest rides have only been half the distance ~7hrs at an IF of .78-.8 which was a hard effort. I’m wondering how much my pacing would have to back off to double the distance.

That seems about right for the IF, I had to look back but IF for the DK was .77 for me. Looking at all of my other long rides on gravel and road, they were all between .78 and .85 IF, mostly closer to .8 like you said, the .85 was an outlier and early in the season and I was thrashing myself fairly hard to stay with the group.

As far as pacing, I think that if I had ridden it more evenly I probably would have come close to that same IF overall. But for the first one, I’m happy with the way it turned out, because I didn’t know if my body would totally implode or not after that many hours and miles. If I’m lucky enough to get in this time, I’ll shoot for the same IF, but keep tabs more closely on it during the first segment and pick a good group based off that.

Best of luck to you in the lottery and for the race! It’s a great atmosphere, unlike anything else!


Thanks, that’s good info. I think that’s higher than I could hold for sure. I read the TR blog post about the DK and they said somewhere between 50-70% which is a big range.

Good luck to you too

I think it’s kind of hard to look at the overall IF of DK. I think it’s better to look at IF for the first half when riding (hopefully) in bigger groups and then the second half when are more strung out and there’s a chance of more wind like last year.

I just looked ay my file from last year:

not sure if everyone can see that or not.

I raced in the front group until mile 93 when i cracked my front wheel causing a flat. Luckily I had a spare wheelset at the mile 100+ checkpoint and was able to baby my way there to swap my front wheel.

My IF for the first 93 miles was .93 but i was “racing” and doing my best to stay with the front pack. At 40 years old and not being a professional bike racer I was for sure riding above my pay grade, but I trained hard for DK, and was having a blast. After swapping my wheel and riding solo for quite a bit the rest of the day my IF was .70. We had gnarly headwinds and I had pretty low spot from mile 140-162 but rallied that last 40 miles to finish strong in 12:15. My overall IF was .81.

I personally don’t pace or come up with a race plan with IF in mind because the group dynamics of a race like DK contribute so much to it… but that’s just my experience.

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Thanks, I appreciate the link to your ride file. The idea of breaking up IF into the part when you were racing with a group and the second part riding solo makes sense. I know my IF will be lower than yours for the total. .93 IF for the first 5 hours just seems enormously high to me. May I ask how you estimated your FTP, and how long before the DK you set your FTP?
Regardless, it looks like you had a great ride! If I remember right, you’re NP was only about 30w below Geoff Kabush’s 3rd place finish. ie, you might be on a different plain than I am. My realistic goal FTP is 305-310 (set with the ramp test) and 4.85w/kg (DK age 42).

@adh9w I’ve never ridden DK with power so this is going to be a little bit of a different perspective!

The start is hardest to pace for three reasons:
1.) You’ll be amped! It’s so much fun.
2.) You have to ride a fine line between riding beyond your ability too soon and finding the right group of wheels to follow. You want that group of wheels that is going to carry you at a comfortable but aggressive pace.
3.) From Emporia to Madison (first leg) & Madison to Eureka (2nd leg) is typically a tail wind.

The Eureka to Madison leg of the race is where the truth will always be told. Everybody gets found out on that leg of the race. Lots of riders roll out of Eureka thinking they ‘got this’ & then never make it back to Madison.

Finally, I’m going to (once again) give this advice which is out of step with the forum: get out and do long gravel rides. If something is going to break, make it break in training. If something is going to ache, make it ache in training. If you’re going to bake, bake in training. Figure out your nutrition. Figure out your hydration. Know how long your nav will work with all your gear connected. Know how to navigate in the dark. Work out every little detail that you can on those long rides.


hey dude… last year I was 40 years old, 67 kg, and had an FTP somewhere 305-320. I do do a lot of training with power but I find a sweet spot in my training in the spring I just keep rolling so didn’t do any FTP tests after about april where I was just a bit over 300. FTP is a good number start but not the end all be all… i had really good 1-8’ power numbers which helped a lot with how surgey the first half of the race was. I also had to chase back on after getting caught up in the mud after the first checkpoint.

.93 is high… i wouldn’t necessarily recommend that… but i have never paid attention to that during racing. I went to DK to try and race with the front group as long as possible so for sure burned some matches but it paid off. I’ve trained and raced with power for a good portion of the last decade and have never tried to pay much attention to it during a race.

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My guess is that you had your FTP set way too low. It looks like you did about 290 NP over 2.5 hours at the start of the race (and 285 for 4.15 hours) and I can’t imagine you were going full gas at that point. You’re a stud. Give yourself some more credit!

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thanks dude. you’re probably right. hoping to go back again this year and break 12 hours… if conditions cooperate.