Yesterday I talked about some of the exciting fitness improvements I’m seeing since completing TrainerRoad’s “8 Days In California” challenge, and on yesterday’s ride I saw some more encouraging results.
Yesterday I rode a little over 23 miles at a moderate pace: my average speed was 19 MPH and my average heart rate was 156 BPM. I did a similar ride back in March (same basic route), and on that ride I did 18 miles: average speed was 17.8 MPH and my average heart rate was 168 BPM.
That’s a pretty big improvement. Yesterday’s ride was longer, my pace was faster and my average heart rate was 12 BPM less. Of course these improvements are not just due to the 8DC, as I’ve been training hard since March.
Drilling down a little further, there’s a 1.0 mile fairly straight segment on this particular route that has a slight, gradual climb of about 23 feet. In March I set a new PR (and KOM) on that segment with a time of 2m35s: average speed was 24.2 MPH, average power was 298 watts and average heart rate was 184 BPM. My KOM was beaten a few days later by a strong rider named Harv (we are constantly trading KOMs on this route!) with a time of 2m32s.
Yesterday I hit that segment for the first time in several months, and turned in a time of 2m20s (new PR and new KOM): average speed was 26.8 MPH, average power was 381 watts and average heart rate was 183 BPM.
15 seconds is a pretty nice improvement on a 1 mile segment. Compared to the PR I set in March, yesterday I put down significantly more power, rode 2.6 MPH faster and my average heart rate was lower.
I also set a new PR and KOM on a short little climb.
I’m encouraged with the results I’ve seen over the past few months, but I truly feel I’ve only scratched the surface of my potential as a cyclist. I’m about to re-test my FTP and start a new cycling training program: Intermediate Build I.
I think this 9 week training program is going to take my fitness to places it’s never been before. The training program I just completed worked on my aerobic base, while the program I’ll be starting now is focused on improving my maximum sustainable power. I’ll be doing a lot of painful aerobic capacity work (VO2max), which should bring about significant improvements to my ability to slay those short, intense efforts and then settle back into my pace without much damage.
I think I’m going to re-test my FTP today. I expect it will be around 285, but we’ll see. This is not a fun workout, but its necessary. Time to embrace the suck!