You might have already entered your first gravel event, or are thinking about one - but is it really any different to a road cycling event? Si and Katherine are here to talk you through how to train and prepare for this growing discipline.
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Riding your first gravel event is a bit different to what you might be used to, whether that’s road racing, sportives or your local club run. Endurance, Self-sufficiency and comfort are probably areas that are going to be more important. And Katherine here knows all about it as she’s getting ready for her first big event, the Dirty Kanza.
Yes, so while I work through my training, nutrition and equipment, we thought we’d create a guide for you guys too. Here’s how you get the most out of your first gravel grinder.
As with preparing for any event, the first thing that you need to do is actually choose and enter your event.
How ambitious you’re feeling will depend on what level you’re at already, whether you’ve been riding a few years or relatively new to cycling, or whether it’s a new discipline to you altogether. The usual advice is to start with something manageable and work your way up. If you’re new to road riding you’re unlikely to choose a 5 day stage race for your first participation event and being on gravel is no different.
Training is not just about getting your body in the right shape, but also your head. Giving you the confidence to be able to tackle and enjoy the ride. It is also a great opportunity to run through other really important aspects of the event, like big, kit and nutrition.
Yes, making use of long training rides is the perfect opportunity to test out your kit - remember it’s OK to make all the mistakes here so that you can avoid them on the actual event! You’re likely to have less support on a gravel event than a conventional road race or sportive, especially as they can be quite remote, so being self sufficient is key.
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