Today we’re discussing the science of suffering. As many of you may know, Chris was 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 an endurance machine.
In this episode, we’ll first touch upon the history of Dirty Kanza. 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, finally, we’ll discuss 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.
Chris Case and Trevor Connor