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Did another 100 KM ride yesterday; Major fitness improvements.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

Scenic view on yesterday's ride.

Scenic view on yesterday’s ride.

The weather was so beautiful yesterday morning that I could not resist taking the day off. I have some unused personal days, which I save precisely for days like yesterday. I notified work that I was taking a sanity day (“You’d have to be insane to not go outside on a day like this!“), grabbed my Madone and headed out…

I was in the mood for a long ride, and so I decided that I was going to do another solo metric century (100 kilometers). I love group riding, but I also quite enjoy long solo rides. Sometimes it’s nice to put in the earbuds, get some great music going and disappear into my own world while I ride.

I did another solo metric about a week ago, and so I thought it would be interesting to compare the data from that ride to yesterday’s ride. I was pretty surprised by what I found:


100 KM ride: April 29, 2013 vs. May 7, 2013

 April 29, 2013May 7, 2013
Distance (miles)63.162.1
Elevation (feet)1,4162,109
Average Speed (MPH)17.918.4
Average Power (watts)158175
Average Heart Rate (BPM)169161
Energy Output (kJ)2,0052,124
Suffer Score238166


This data is extremely encouraging to me. The mileage on both rides is nearly identical, but that’s where the similarities end…

Yesterday’s ride had 33% more climbing than the April 29, 2013 ride, yet my average speed was a half-mile per hour quicker yesterday (18.4 MPH yesterday vs 17.9 MPH on the 29th). Put another way, over a 62 mile/~3.5 hour ride, that half mile per hour difference amounts to almost 2 additional miles covered in the same time. Considering the increased elevation and the wind yesterday (which was another challenge not present on the previous ride) that’s a nice improvement, I think.

I had to get a picture of this.

I had to get a picture of this.

The above on its own would be enough to make me smile, but the rest of the data is the icing on the cake. My average heart rate yesterday was 161 BPM, while it was 169 BPM on the metric I did a week ago. Over a 3.5 hour ride, this is a pretty significant difference. This is evidenced by the Strava Suffer Score, which was 166 yesterday vs. 238 on the 29th.

Here’s yesterday’s ride on Strava.

In just one week I’ve been able to go further in less time and output more power with less effort–and I did this on a decidedly more difficult ride.

So far this month I’ve ridden 170 miles (7 days), and over the past 9 days I’ve ridden 240 miles. The road rides I’ve been doing over the past 9 days are clearly responsible for the fitness improvements I’ve documented here.

When I did the April 29th ride, I was feeling pretty much at the top of my fitness game. At that point my trainer rides had been getting progressively better, I’d been outputting more power with less effort, workouts at my last measured FTP (270 watts) felt much easier than they did just six weeks ago, and so on.

Next week I’ll be doing the “8 Days of California” challenge, and that should bring about even further fitness improvements.

I didn’t expect to see improvements to this degree in such a short period of time. I think I’m going to keep the ball rolling and continue focusing on road riding and trainer riding this month. I’m very encouraged by what I’ve accomplished so far, but I know I can do much, much better.

John Stone Fitness Comments

7 Responses to “Did another 100 KM ride yesterday; Major fitness improvements.”
  1. John, which tires are you using these days? I seem to recall you mentioning that you’d switched to Continental Gatorskins, is that correct? I’d be tempted to try long distance solo rides like yours if I didn’t have concerns about having a puncture in the middle of nowhere that for some reason can’t be repaired.

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      • I always carry those items, but I still worry about having a flat that I can’t fix. I’ve only had one flat so far, and I was lucky that it happened after a long ride only a short distance from the parking lot. Rather than trying to fix it, I just rode the 200 yards or so back to my car. What I noticed is that even with no air in the tire, it remained stiff enough that I could still ride on it. Since Gatorskins reportedly have a very stiff carcass, I wonder if you couldn’t just keep riding the bike even in the event of a puncture (if you absolutely had to).

        That 30 mile long trail you mentioned in another blog is one I’d like to try, but those who have been on it warned me that parts of it are very remote, so riding it solo would be more of a concern.

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  2. Here in my area, Southern Ontario, CAA (like AAA) covers you for assistance and towing if you are out bike riding too. Came in handy once when I was about 34 kms from home and my tire split on some metal debris on the road. I had a full patch kit and pump, but that is no good if the tire casing splits. A call on my cell to CAA, a 20 minute wait and then a quick ride home with my bike on the back of a tow truck. Great service!

    The CAA tow is good for 200 kms, up to 3 times a year and covers you in any vehicle you might be on/in. Check your AAA membership to see if it covers bicycles in your state.

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