After Saturday’s debacle I went out for another ride today. I really wanted to stretch my legs so I planned a long version of an after work road route I have. I bumped it up to 50 miles and feed in a bunch of climbs to push the climbing up. I found it tough to get going today. After about 75mins my legs still felt like they do in the first 20mins when I’m warming up. I stopped to put my saddle up about half a cm because I felt like I wasn’t getting a full leg push and hey presto suddenly my legs felt OK and I wasn’t fighting myself up he climbs. Funny how one small difference like this can have a huge effect on how you are feeling. My toes got properly cold again today, even in the Northwaves. The increase in speed (compared to riding off road) brings with it an increase in wind chill. This has been fairly easy to cure else where, I had 3 layers on under my windproof soft shell but your feet are a bit more of a pain. I might have to start wearing my over shoes for road rides. Speaking of my soft shell the zip broke after about 2 hours and the zipper was jammed about half way up. It’s a good job I had my camel back on today or I would have looked like school kid running round the play ground pretending to be Bat Man.
When I ride on the road I’m pretty much always on my own so I tend to go at it as a training ride rather than just going for a burn. I have been trying to maintain an average speed of 15mph but this time out I wanted to go with trying to maintain a certain effort. In this case I was using heart rate zones. My target was to try to stay in zone 3 (70-80% max rate) as I want to maintain the intensity as evenly as possible to build my endurance. Also I would like to train my body to use mostly body fat as energy and not to burn up glycogen stores. I deliberately only had a bowl of porridge before the ride and then no food at all while riding; only water. I have found that since I have been riding with no snacking on route that actually I don’t get particularly hungry any more. More importantly I have also noticed that I don’t seem to have any drop in performance or get the bonk. Fingers crossed this means I’m doing something that is going in the right direction.
|Zone 1:||30 min|
|Zone 2:||1 hour 18 min|
|Zone 3:||1 hour 14 min|
|Zone 4:||41 min|
|Zone 5:||1 min|
Inevitably when climbing you will go over your target zone, but I did my best with gear changing and breathing properly to control it and felt that I did quite well in that respect. I only spent 42 mins of an almost 4 hour ride in zones 4 and 5 and that was with quite a lot of steep hills. I think more work is needed on not hitting the bottom of a hill to hard. I think it would be better to conserve the energy until near the top then push on when I know the end is in sight and rest on the descent rather than trying to tone down the “second half” of the climb. The surprising fact about my zones was actually how long I spent in zone 2. I wonder if I could have stayed in zone 3 for an extra hour, how much more tired I would have felt and if I would have got up to 15mph?
In general terms I found it interesting that previously I had been aiming at 15mph and have been there or close. With this ride I hit an average speed of 13.2 mph, so clearly I wasn’t going as quick. This ride was 9 miles further (not significant in my opinion) but more importantly there was about 1800ft (not quite double) more climbing. I was also riding for roughly an hour longer. Monitoring effort level seems a far more sensible way to maintain energy as opposed to maintaining a speed. Actually I hadn’t really thought about it before but its now obvious that maintaining a speed is about time not energy. I guess it depends what your goals are though as to which is better.