Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bread & Butter Beal's

I have described this route a few times here, but finally rode it as a recovery ride on Thursday with the Garmin on board (sans the HR monitor), and was surprised it came in at a bit more than 2,400 ft of climbing in 33 miles. My time was almost exactly my average time, at 1:54, although in-town traffic can make for some unavoidable variances there.

Passing the Cash Bridge at 10:00 I was struck by how ugly the view is from below the bridge. The construction scars on the land are still fresh, and double rows of razor-wire-topped chain link fence 8ft high, and grass that hasn't seemed to have taken root, make for a pretty thorough eye sore - in contrast to the beautiful view above the bridge. However, the view of a now brimming Folsom Lake more than made up for it. The birds were out in force, the air was cool from the 55 degree water, and it was blue to within a stone's throw of the picnic area. Nice!

I rode in the morning to avoid the heat expected later in the day, and felt really sluggish the first 5 miles or so. As luck would have it some fool blew by me who looked to me to be a wanna-B, so I found some motivation to quicken the pace at about the 5 mile mark. I jumped on his back wheel and drafted until my lungs opened up and my heart stopped pounding, and then went past him on a 2-5% climb of about 500 yards. Good-bye, see-ya. Gone in 60 seconds, but at least it got me moving.

I pushed the climbing pretty hard, and noticed that my out speed only averaged 2 mph less than my back speed. I pushed the top 300 yards very hard, staying in the saddle, cranking out 480 watts at 105 rpms doing just a bit over 13mph. The ride home was uneventful, but it was striking how carefree I could be in assaulting short climbs because the short route meant my legs, lungs, heart and glycogen were all available with plenty in reserve.

This demonstrates an important point about training rides. You stress one or two things at a time, and keep the other supporting factors in reserve so they can be used to push the target factor to the max. In particular, my long, and very hard ride on Sunday didn't improve my sprint or overall time at all on this rather easy ride, but I'm sure next time I ride it I will feel a sharp improvement in endurance. F.I.T. peaking works.

As a final aside, you can trade Frequency, Intensity and Time-duration off to create higher and higher levels of fitness when building fitness. Each peak builds on the prior peak. After attaining a high fitness level, and transitioning into maintenance mode, you can back off the Frequency and Time by at least 1/3rd without losing fitness, but if you back off on Intensity, you lose about 15% of your fitness in 15 weeks. Reducing the Time-duration of rides by 1/3rd can actually increase your fitness by 5%, provided you keep the intensity up.

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