For Dustin Stock the training for Dirty Kanza, The World’s Premier Gravel Race, was somewhat unconventional.
Having committed to doing his first marathon, just four-weeks prior to the DK-100, he needed a unique training plan that included both high-volume runs and rides. A challenging combination to balance for even the most experienced Athlete.
In addition to the substantial time commitment that training for both types of events would require, Dustin had to contend with a winter full of unpredictable weather that included rain, snow, and extremely windy conditions.
However, despite these significant challenges, Dustin had very successful performances at both the Wisconsin Marathon and Dirty Kanza-100.
Following his epic day on the Flint Hills Gravel, we caught up with Dustin to talk about the events and his new-found love for Gravel racing in a four-question interview. Enjoy!
Dustin rode hard all day and attacked the heralded Flint-Hills gravel to finish his DK-100 strong! Photo Credit: Dustin Stock.
Primary Sport/Discipline: Gravel Riding/MTB/Running
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 8-12hrs.
Upcoming Goals: The 2018 Dirty Kanza 200-Miler
Question #1: Congratulations on a great ride at Dirty Kanza Dustin, as your first gravel 100-miler, what was the most memorable part of the race?
Dustin Stock: Well… sometimes it takes and event like the DK to make you a tourist in your own state!
The DK takes place only 100-miles from where I live, and yet I have only passed through Emporia on the interstate.
For the race, the town opens its doors and gravel roads to the DK riders, it was a beautiful thing to see.
It’s a non-stop party, throughout the town, until the very last rider passes the finish!
The event features incredible views of rolling green pastures in the Flint Hills and miles of minimally-maintained gravel roads.
I couldn’t ask for anything more for my first gravel race and can’t wait to get back next year for the full 200!
Coaches Perspective/Coach Brian: Talking with Dustin leading into Dirty Kanza, I had trouble describing the experience he was about to have. Any gavel race is an adventure, but Dirty Kanza is not called “The World’s Premier Gravel Race” for nothing!
He was in for more than an adventure, it was going to be a full-on epic day in the saddle!
Yes, the route was amazing and the course was brutally challenging, but it is the Mid-West welcome party that each finisher receives that lifts this event to legendary status.
I am excited to report that Dustin had such a great time that he immediately said, “I’m hooked!” following the race and committed to doing the 200-mile DK next year.
It will be a stiff challenge, but one I know he will excel at!
Dustin paced a friend during her first marathon, while on his first marathon, just weeks before he tackled the DK-100. As you can see, he was all smiles! Photo Credit: Dustin Stock.
Question #2: You did your first marathon only a few weeks before Dirty Kanza, and then completed your first 100-mile gravel race at DK. What was it like to prepare for, and do, two vastly different events so close together?
DS: To be honest the most difficult part was training in the winter. Luckily, Coach Brian made it easy for me. I looked at my schedule on TP and just made it happen.
Doing a combination of running and riding every week kept training entertaining. It also gave me flexibility in my training schedule, which was necessary due to the unpredictable and inclement weather.
Having been through it now, I can say that it is much easier to knock out a 90min run in cold, windy, and/or snowy conditions than a 3hr. bike ride!
Coach Brian: When I started working with Dustin it was apparent that he needed a flexible schedule that would prepare him for both the Wisconsin Marathon as well as Dirty Kanza.
In addition, the piercing wind, frequent snowstorms, and driving rain he confronted while training made flexibility more than a convenience, it was a necessity.
Although marathon training and preparation for an endurance cycling event such as Dirty Kanza bear many similarities, completing both in such close proximity is difficult for even the most experienced Athletes.
Luckily, Dustin is very dedicated and tough-as-nails, so putting in the requisite time and preparation for both events was never in doubt.
Question #3: What is one of your long-term cycling goals? And what is next on your cycling ‘to do’ list?
DS: Before the DK I would have told you some bike-packing and single-track fun rides, but now I am hooked on gravel racing!
I had a blast at Dirty Kanza and am looking forward to more. My “A” goal for next year is to compete in the DK-200… and beat the sun!
**Note: It’s an unwritten goal for most DK riders to complete the race before sunset, a suitable challenge and accomplishment by all accounts!**
I have a few other gravel races that I hope to do leading up to Dirty Kanza, but those will depend on my schedule.
Coach Brian: When I followed-up with Dustin after the event, his immediate response was, “I’m hooked”!
Hearing his enthusiasm and recount of the experience was awesome, I was so excited for him and proud of his efforts.
What’s more, he immediately said, “let’s find some other gravel events this year and start the planning/training process for the DK-200 next year”.
As a Coach, that conversation was immensely satisfying, Dustin had worked so hard and now he was already thinking about what else he could accomplish, very cool!
There is no doubt that 2018 will see Dustin pushing his limits at all sorts of gravel events as he prepares for his assault on the DK-200.
The finishing chute at Dirty Kanza offers a hero’s welcome to all riders that complete “The World’s Premier Gravel Race”. Photo Credit: Dustin Stock.
Question #4: Describe your favorite workout in your training program, also, please share a ‘knowledge-bomb’ you have learned while training with Big Wheel Coaching.
DS: For some reason I enjoy anything with intervals, the higher the intensity the better!
Being a newbie to training, early-on in the training process, I would go too-hard on easy rides and not hard enough on interval days.
With Coach Brian’s help, I believe I have the whole physical effort (Perceived Exertion) scale figured out, and strangely enjoy the P.E. 9+ efforts most!
Coach Brian: I love hearing that an Athlete loves hard training and challenging intervals!
Once Dustin learned how easy a recovery ride should be, it helped him go even harder on interval training sessions.
By blending his hard-core work-ethic with this method of training, which had him riding more at the extremes of the spectrum, very easy and very hard, definitely took his training to the next level.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about Dustin Stocks’ epic ride at the DK-100, as much as we have enjoyed sharing it!
Having had a taste of the adventure and excitement that is Gravel Racing it’s easy to see why he is hooked on this type of riding and already looking forward to the 200-mile edition of Dirty Kanza in 2018.
Whether your cycling goals take you out on the open-road, onto the single-track trails, or to the back-roads of a gravel event, custom-tailored training and individualized coaching can be your ticket to success.
Couple these resources with a well-developed work-ethic and ample recovery, and tasting success is only a matter of time! Just ask Dustin Stock.
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching