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The following training plan is provided by our The Dirty Mitten sponsor, Kari Stuart with Stuart Coaching:

The training plans I’ve developed for this event provide a very simplistic and minimalistic approach to training for a race.  The plans build slowly and safely, with a recovery week and taper, ensuring you are recovered, and ready for race day. If you are able, I’d recommend that you start training earlier to build base mileage and get a jump start. 

There are four different types of training sessions in this plan.  

  • Sweet Spot Tempo Sessions

Tempo efforts are steady and moderately prolonged intervals at a challenging but manageable effort level. These are uncomfortable but not draining.  They are easy enough that you hang out here for a while, but hard enough to build resilience and mental stamina. 

If you have trained in zones, these are the high end of zone three, and maybe you tickle the low end of zone four.  88-96% FTP and 93-96% of lactate threshold heart rate. If that last sentence blew your mind… just ignore it and ride hard but not too hard.  

Go easy with a quick cadence on your rest intervals.   

  • Progression Ride

Progression rides are a great race simulation where your effort gradually increases for an extended duration. Keep your cadence steady throughout as you increase effort.  Make sure to start easy and break as needed.  

  • Endurance Sessions

The long stuff is where your body adapts to go the distance. Progressively longer distances will build mental toughness and serve as a great simulation for race day. Endurance sessions provide the opportunity to experiment with nutrition and hydration, gear, etc. 

I’d recommend doing your longer sessions on a gravel route similar to race day.  

  • Recovery Rides

Recovery Rides are low intensity sessions that help you with active recovery without accumulating training stress. Recovery sessions are typically within 24 hours of a hard session to maximize physiological adaptations. Recovery rides are optional so listen to your legs and do what they tell ya.   


Rest days and active recovery

This program includes two rest days.  For more experienced athletes, one of those rest days can be used as a low impact cross training day. One day should be 100% rest.  In short: for the love of all things, do not skip your rest day.

Active recovery includes any type of low impact exercise that stimulates your cardiovascular system. 

Strength Training and Cross Training 

I highly recommend strength training and cross training for all athletes to prevent injury and maintain a balanced body. This plan does not include specific strength and cross training activities, but both are encouraged.  If you have questions about strength training, please feel free to inquire about our coaching services.

Additional Help with Training 

If you decide you want more specific help, Stuart Coaching would be more than happy to discuss one-on-one coaching to give you a more customized approach and support to reach your goals.  

We also have more detailed training plans for these distances which will sync to TrainingPeaks, and provide workouts directly on most training devices!  Your plan can be purchased here and includes a 15-minute consultation with Kari Stuart of Stuart Coaching. 

Click here to download The Dirty Mitten Gravel Bike Race training plans. There are options for the 28-mile and 50-mile courses.


The following training plan is designed for educational purposes only and is not a prescribed training plan for any particular individual. I am a certified coach and have created this training plan with safety in mind, but you should understand that there is always the possibility of injury with physical activity. Participation in this training program is at your own risk. As a voluntary participant in these activities, you assume all risk of injury to yourself. You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program.