Fast Talk podcast, ep. 49: Training, fueling, and suffering at Dirty Kanza 200

In this episode, we discuss the science of Dirty Kanza 200, including training principles, fueling strategy, pacing, and more.

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The VeloNews Fast Talk podcast is your source for the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Listen in as VeloNews managing editor Chris Case and our resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, discuss a range of topics, including training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more.

EPISODE 49 IS A SPECIAL EDITION of Fast Talk. We’re talking the science of suffering. As many of you may know, Chris has become something of the VeloNews resident lab rat, guinea pig, and/or crash test dummy. A Case study of one, if you will.

This past spring he decided to take a second crack at the grueling, absurd, fantastic, arduous, and downright challenging Dirty Kanza 200, a 200-plus mile gravel race across the Flint Hills of Kansas. To say that he is not built for endurance would be like saying Marcel Kittel is not built for hill climbs. That’s an understatement.

So, with the assistance of Coach Connor, Chris set out to transform himself from someone who loves the repeated anaerobic efforts of cyclocross into someone who could completely empty every cell in his body and still finish strong. In essence, the pair had the goal of turning Chris into Trevor, an endurance machine.

In this episode, we’ll first touch upon the history of Dirty Kanza. Editor in chief Fred Dreier and Chris had a conversation in a recent VeloNews podcast about the phenomenon that is DK — why it’s become so popular, how it has grown so rapidly, and so forth, so check out that episode if you want more. Here, we’ll scratch the surface to give you a taste of the atmosphere at this race. Chris will also describe his history with the event. Hint: It ain’t pretty.

Next, we’ll discuss the challenge of turning Chris into a Dirty Kanza rider, and how we went about working his energy systems to prepare: everything from the nature of the training, to the non-physiological side — strategy, pacing, hydration, and fueling. Chris will explain what it all felt like to do so many miles at or just below his aerobic threshold. You wouldn’t believe what this type of riding can do to you.

Finally, we’ll discuss the race itself. How’d Chris do? What did Chris do right, what did Chris do wrong. And how with even the best-laid plans…things can go wildly sideways.

So, wrap your head around riding 13, 15, 18(!) or more hours. Gather your blocks, bars, gels, enduro-balls, waffles, wafels, whatever you need. Pump up your tires…but not too hard. This is gravel racing after all. Let’s make you fast! But really, not too fast. Steady is the name of the game.

Fast Talk is available on all your favorite podcast services, including iTunesStitcherGoogle Play, and Soundcloud. If you enjoy the podcast, please take a moment to rate and comment on iTunes after listening. Also, check out the VeloNews Cycling Podcast, our weekly discussion of the sport’s hottest topics, trends, and controversies.

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