GRAVEL NATIONALS IS IN 13 WEEKS. Last year's course for my age group was 90ish miles.  One would think I should be doing 100 mile training rides...

... there's a better metric to use for prep.

Rather than try and match the mileage,
consider this info...

  • The winners completed the course in just under 4.5 hours.
  • Add to that, the there isn't a lot of climbing...
  • ... 3500' over 90 miles is only 38'/mile.
  • Way under my climby course barometer of 100'/mile.
  • Most of the roads used look very smooth and fast, maybe a little sand.

... so, what am I gonna do?

That was the question I had this morning as I rolled out...

... how can I best mimic the challenge I'll face in Nebraska?

I had a route in mind that connected the fastest gravel stretches I can ride from home.

My goal was to ride race pace for 4 hours,
then refuel at the little country general store, 
and take it easy for the 90 minutes it takes to ride home.

Things went mostly according to plan...

... until my right pedal exploded.


2.5 hours in, 
I stand up and hear a pinging sound,
looking down I can see the pedal is sliding out about 2".

That pinging sound?

All the teenytiny ballbearings hitting the frame.

First, we need to take care of our gear.  I'd been running these pedals for over 2 years, and never done a lick of maintenance.

Bozo Nono.

Second, things can go sideways in a race, so I pedaled on.

Every few miles I'd unclip and kick the end of the pedal to get it aligned.  This worked mostly good.  I had to slow down a bit, but not much.

Me, being me, there was no way I was gonna quit when I was trying to test my body and figure out a good gravel course.

I arrived at the general store in 3:34,
26 minutes earlier than I'd hoped,
mainly due to skipping bouncy stuff.

That said, my normalized power for the effort was 236, which is pretty good given the pedal issues.

Along with figuring out a 4ish hour test course...

... I wanted to practice nutrition intake.

In race conditions I'd shoot for 3-400 calories/hour, and 1 bottle per hour...

  • I downed 1.7 bottles
  • 700 calories

... for those first 3.5 hours

This was a total fail.

Next time I do this test, I'll hit the sections I skipped and be on top of my nutrition.

For a first crack, 
it was a good effort.

Not great.

One thing I'll be hoping for is some hotter weather.

Today was cool, 
and overcast.

Heat will probably slow me down,
but, it could easily be in the 90's come raceday.

So, why am I not doing 100 mile training rides to prepare?

  • We don't have endless gravel roads here
  • Our local terrain has a lot more elevation gain
  • I'm much more interested in being able to rip it up for 4.5 hours

Time in the saddle is a more important training metric for me, than miles.


8 hrs sleep
PullUps, PushUps, Presses
10 minutes recovery 
30 minutes reading + Journaling 
101 (finally broke 100!)