Multi-day gravel 'race' prep advice, please

The Oregon Trail Gravel Grinder is a ‘race’ in late June. It’s 5 days, ~350 miles and +30k of climbing. With 23 weeks until the event, what’s the best training plan(s) to tackle this effort?

I will take a 4DP test in 6 days to re-establish a baseline.

Thank you!
Pat

I know nothing about gravel racing, or planning for one, but sounds awesome. Good luck w that!

Hey @pathlete, congratulations on getting in the grind! That one is on my list too. So, unlike a lot of the gravel events out there this one you want to treat more like a stage race. You need to be strong and well fueled and learn how to recover properly between efforts. It’s not so big every day but will still be hard and the stress will be cumulative. If it were me I’d do 2 plans and definitely with strength.

Where you start depends on what your baseline hours are but it is completely fine to start with a low volume plan, especially if you have had some time off.

As you mentioned getting some info with a week of rest, prep and testing is going to be important. From there I would start with one of the low or moderate volume XC mountain bike plans with strength (even if you are not a mountain biker) This will have lots of cadence and high torque work which will be key to building on-bike strength. I have found that the gravel beats you up way more than the road and strength is the key to combating that.

For the second plan, I would choose a moderate or high volume 100 mile gravel plan with strength and have it end on your event. This will continue to give you the strength and power work that you need and several doses of back to back training to prepare you for multiple days in the saddle.

You mentioned that you have 23 weeks and these plans are 12 weeks long, I would start by loading the second plan to finish on the correct date, then work back from there as to when to start the first plan. You will have just a little overlap, which is ok, so removing the first week of your last block should set you up nicely. But DO NOT skip the recovery week before starting #2. You want to be fresh going into the second 12.

As I mentioned previously on of the biggest keys to this event is fueling and recovery. Practice this during your training and find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

Have a blast!

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Jeff,
Thank you very much for your advice! I will take it to heart and set up a plan as you suggest.

All the best in 2022!
Pat

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Thank you Coach Jeff!

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Pat, I’m not doing Oregon Trail, but I am doing Gorge Gravel and maybe the Saturday of Cascade, and most of the Oregon Triple Crown series. If you are in the Portland area and want company for some outdoor training rides or a carpool partner for any of the above events leading up to Oregon Trail, hit me up. With all the good things Peter Stetina has said about his experience at OT last year it should be quite a blast this year. Here’s wishing that you don’t die of dysentery!

@Coach.Jeff.H @pathlete might want to look at the 200 GG plan as well. It might help with the multi-day aspect of the event to get him/her/they ready for the stresses of riding many km/miles in the saddle. I was looking at doing a 80km event this Winter and I was using that plan to get in saddle time.

@ryanm Thanks for reaching out and creating a potential new training/connection. I love this community!

Coach, I’ve been doing this for like 25 years and am well aware that the social aspect can be as powerful of a motivation as any internal drive!

And I feel sort of guilty about the carbon footprint of driving for hours by myself to get to races. Sometimes it feels pretty silly to drive 3-5 hours each way for an event that is only 3-5 hours on the road. The West can be pretty vast and sparse. It was easier to carpool as a road racer when I was younger and raced with a team, but the gravel scene is definitely a little more lone wolf / privateer.

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Thanks for the invite! I’ll be up there just in time for the ‘race’ with my buddy. We did it last year and, joined at the hip, we died of dysentery - which was a huge bummer. Watching the pros slay the climbs (from behind) was astonishing - and then we got to enjoy dinner with them (probably asked too many questions, tho).

Here’s to being prepared in 2022!
All the best,
Pat

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It depends. We do Patagonia, AZ rides and several that go to them carpool to:
Conserve resources (yeah)
To have someone schlep us home if we bonk or push it just too far (boo)

So, it might be fun and be a way to meet a new riding partner!

Welcome @pathlete! I’ve got the OTGG penciled in for 2023. Hope you have a great time this year.

@ryanm, I’m also going to be doing the OTC series. Maybe we can catch up at one of those events.

I’d enjoy meeting like-minded Sufferlandrians, Ryan!
I live 1100 miles from Oregon so doing the series would be a challenge. I figured I’d bite off the biggest chunk first and perhaps next year, make a month of it in the NW. (Summers are too hot around here.)

Enjoy your time on the trainer!
Pat