Name: Trey Harrison
Event Category: Masie’s Ride for Pride in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas
Course description: 104 mile gravel race in the Flint Hills w/approximately 8000ft. of climbing.
How’d the race go down for you?
With a good sized field with quite a few fast racers, the pace went out pretty hard. The first fifty miles were ridden at 20.5 mph with a pack of six riders. Last year’s winner (and 6th at last year’s Dirty Kanza 200), Ashton Lambie, rolled through the neutral drop-bag spot at the half-way mark since he was wearing his water (hydration bladder).
Following the resupply spot, Ashton had a several minute lead. Over the next 10 miles, I was fortunate in that there was a loose hilly section with about a six-minute climb. This allowed me to shake the others and bridge up to Ashton and work with him.
We put a good gap on the others before Ashton started backing off due to hydration issues. I was relying on him for navigation because of a Garmin malfunction, but luckily had put a cue-sheet in my seat bag. Ashton stopped at a convenience store for water and I pushed on. Ended up using cue-sheets to navigate in the last 25 miles, old-school style.
The last 15 miles was very hilly and straight into a strong headwind. Suffered like a dog, but made it to the finish with minutes to spare. Wasn’t sure how I’d perform, as this race came at the end of a pretty hard training block, but it turned out pretty good.
Which coach do you work with and how did your training help you prepare for the event?
Adam Mills. I’ve put in a lot of time doing tempo and threshold work on gravel to get ready for such efforts. Almost all of my mileage is (and always has been) on gravel roads. I’m getting up there in years (I’m fifty), and Adam has helped me find a proper balance between intensity, recovery, and non-biking stressors (I’m a high school teacher).
What advice do you have for someone up and coming in your cycling discipline?
First, give gravel racing a try. I still race on the road, and some cyclocross most years. Gravel training/racing has enhanced all aspects of my bike racing with the exception of criterium racing. Training/racing on gravel allows you to feel like a kid again and explore, helps you avoid traffic (hours at a time without a motor vehicle here in the Flint Hills of KS), requires you to minimize coasting as you always have resistance, improves bike handling immensely, forces you to be very self-reliant (nutrition/hydration/mechanics), and teaches you how to suffer for long periods of time. Second, get a coach. Carbon wheels and electronic shifting represent marginal performance gains. A good coach represents substantial performance gains.
What is your next event? Dirty Kanza 200 on June 3rd .
Best of luck at DK200, Trey! We’ll be cheering! Photo Credit: “Gravel Guru” (Matt Fowler)