British Cycling 12-week Dirty Reiver 2020


Insight Zone


12 Weeks

Typical Week

1 Day Off, 5 Bike, 1 X-Train

Longest Workout

5:00 hrs

Plan Specs

cycling cyclocross advanced power based tss based

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Includes Structured Workouts

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Learn More about Structured Workouts.

The British Cycling 12-week Dirty Reiver 2020 Training Plan is designed to prepare you specifically for this iconic 200km gravel event.

The plan and the workouts within it are most suited to power users but can be adapted for heart rate. All of the cycling workouts are fully built within the plan and so, it’s compatible with smart trainers and many head units.

To start the plan, you should ideally be riding three or four times a week, be familiar with structured training and be capable of riding for 3-4 hours or 100km+ fairly comfortably.

The volume of training is between 5-13 hours per week, including a cross training session. If you’re already familiar with TrainingPeaks and its metrics, weekly TSS starts at 423 and peaks at 587.

During the plan, you’ll typically have three solid weeks of training followed by an easier recovery week. For the first two 4-week blocks, on non-recovery weeks, the structure is typically three midweek rides and two weekend rides.

The midweek sessions are most suited to an indoor trainer but can easily be adapted to outdoors. They are typically around an hour in duration and should fit in fairly easily around a working day.

Throughout the plan, we’ve opted for a double weekend ride for a number of reasons. The first is that, because of the time of year, we don’t want to schedule rides that are so long that they force you to ride in the dark. Second, by splitting the ride, you’ll get a very similar training effect to doing one massive ride but it’ll be psychologically far easier and physiologically will require less recovery meaning that your overall training can be more consistent. Finally, for the bulk of the plan, it’ll allow you to divide your riding between on and off-road. This will be more forgiving on your bike, body and will allow you to more easily incorporate specific efforts.

In Weeks 9 and 10 however, you will double up off-road to really try and replicate the demands of the Dirty Reiver.

There is also an optional session that gives you the opportunity to do some cross training. Cross training, although optional, should be part of your training. Don’t worry if you can’t manage dedicated sessions, even doing regular mobility work at home will benefit your riding. Cross training helps to prevent boredom, provides options if you are unable to ride and builds all-round injury preventing robustness. Be aware though, having done your midweek rides and often with two sessions at the weekend, you might need to make your cross training more restorative or even take an extra rest day.

The plan is fully supported by content on the British Cycling Insight Zone, where you can find advice on skills, training, nutrition, equipment, clothing and maintenance.


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 09:01
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 09:01
Average Weekly Breakdown

Back to Plan Details

Sample Day 1

BC Threshold Test

For full protocol and links to zone calculator,

This test protocol can be used for both Functional Threshold Power (FTP) and Functional Threshold Heart-rate (FTHR).

Sample Day 2

BC Big Gear/Low Cadence

You can think of this session as "weight training" on the bike. 

Gravel cycling is often referred to as "Gravel Grinding" for a reason and the ability to be able to dig in and churn a big gear is essential.

All the efforts are seated and you should be really disciplined about sticking to the low cadence targets.

The efforts are all 5 minutes long with 3-minute recoveries.

Sample Day 3

BC 3 X 10 minutes Sweet-Spot

After your Threshold Test and yesterday's Big Gear session, this session, although lighter, will still seem fairly tough.

This is a great stepping stone to the classic 2 x 20 minutes sessions.

It'll teach you pacing at this key intensity but, with the efforts broken into shorter blocks, is more manageable and makes it easier to maintain good form.

Sample Day 4

Cross Training

This is not an essential session; add it to your
training if you have the time.

Choose an activity to help develop all-round
fitness and flexibility.

If you already do another exercise session, structured or social, then continue to fit that into your week. If not, then maybe try something new; for example gym work, swim, jog or a fitness class.

Remember to start all new activities slowly, don’t overdo it and that gentle restorative exercise, such as yoga or Pilates, can
complement cycling well.

Whatever you choose to do, it's important that it doesn't impact negatively on the quality of your cycling training.

Sample Day 5

BC Endurance with 4 X 10 minutes Tempo

This session can be on your gravel or road bike.
These efforts begin to introduce some structured intensity into your endurance rides.

Sample Day 6

Gravel Endurance

Your gravel endurance focussed session of the week and you should really try and do it off-road and on your gravel bike.

This is your opportunity to practice the pacing, fuelling and hydration strategies that you'll use on the Dirty Reiver as well as fine tuning your off-road riding skills.

With fatigue from yesterday's session in your legs, it'll mimic the sensations of the second half of the ride well.

Sample Day 8

BC 20/40's

Some quality to start the week. It's important to develop or maintain some top end fitness for a gravel event. Whether it's putting in a burst to overtake a group of riders before a singletrack section or putting in some hard pedal strokes to maintain traction on a climb, it's handy to have some oomph in your locker. Quality work is best done fresh so that's why this is the first workout of the week.

This session develops your ability to sprint and recover from multiple hard efforts.

British Cycling 12-week Dirty Reiver 2020

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