I had written, way long ago, about my commitment to riding hard three times a week, or TAW. Times change. Riding changes.
I spent the winter and spring readying myself for Almanzo and the Gravel Metric. Mission accomplished. I’m comfortable riding at 85% for very long periods of time. However, I’m not comfortable riding at 110% for short periods of time…so on this summer’s road rides, I’m getting hammered. Hence, a change in tactics. TAW with long rides have been supplanted by SAW.
Monday: Hard ride with 2 x 20 minute best effort intervals, trying to keep a neutral or negative split.
Tuesday: Recovery ride, with 3-4 short (30 second) sprints.
Wednesday: Group hammer ride.
Thursday: Recovery Ride.
Friday: Hard ride with 2 x 20 minute best effort intervals, trying to keep a neutral or negative split.
Saturday or Sunday: Group ride or longer ride.
I’ve been at this for all of a little over a week now, so it’s too early to tell if it will impact my cycling. My legs feel pretty worked today, so tomorrow’s 50+ mile gravel ride will be interesting.
However, Wednesday night, I had the best group ride I’ve had all year. I rode hard, rode well, and felt like I was able to push myself harder than normal. Normally, if (when) I fall off the front group, it feels like a muscular strength issue–it feels like I cannot push the pedals any harder. Wednesday, I hung on longer, rode faster, and tangibly produced more wattage. The one time that I appreciably fell off the lead group was because I puked.
No, really. I rode until I puked. And then I smiled about it, because it was the hardest I had ridden in a long time. I felt like I had unlocked some hidden ability in my legs. It was great. (Yes. I acknowledge that it is weird to celebrate riding until you puke.)
The other thing I’m emphasizing is riding in the drops. Formerly, I would spend 95% or more of my time on the hoods and flats, and go into the drops only for special occasions. I’ve realized that I ride a super-aero road bike, with super-aero wheels, and have a super-aero build (read: thin), and I’m riding with the profile of a brick wall. Part of that is a flexibility issue, and part of it is a comfort issue: I’m used to riding the hoods. But now, I’m focusing on riding the drops as much as possible, even on recovery rides, to get used to it, and to shave a considerable amount of drag at higher speeds.
I haven’t been blogging much because my free time has been more devoted to riding. I also need to work on offsetting some of this extra riding with extra calories. Things are busy these days.
Six a week. Thanks, Lenny.