The day after I completed the “8 Days in California” (8DC) challenge, I went for an easy and short 32 kilometer/20 mile ride. My legs were definitely feeling heavy, and I was quite fatigued in general. After 8 straight days of very intense riding, it was a little strange to be soft peddling around at 18 MPH in Zone 1 (Recovery).
For yesterday’s ride I increased the distance slightly, and I also increased the intensity to Zone 3 (Tempo). My weighted average power was 245 watts and my average speed was 20.2 MPH. I was feeling surprisingly good, so I decided to load test my legs by hammering a ~1-mile segment. On that segment I set a new PR for time, and I also set a new 2:08 average wattage output personal record of 413 watts (click to enlarge):
That new wattage PR smashed my existing 2-minute wattage PR of 376 watts, which I’d just set on Sunday during Stage 8 of the 8DC. I actually averaged 418 watts over 2:10, but the first 2 seconds of my effort was not part of that segment.
I think the fitness benefits of the 8DC are going to be huge. I’m already setting new time and power PRs, and I’m still not recovered from the event! In addition to the increase in fitness, the 8DC seems to have recalibrated my pain gauge. Hammering the above segment just didn’t hurt the way it usually would. I felt good. Really good.
On the subject of recovery, this morning I took a look at my “Fitness & Freshness” chart on Strava (this is a premium feature and requires a power meter), and saw that as of Sunday my Fitness has peaked at 77, but my fatigue was quite high at 106 (click to enlarge):
As you can see, since Sunday my “Fitness” has dropped only slightly to 74 (obviously a good thing), but my “Fatigue” has fallen considerably to 82 (also good). This is the expected result from a couple days of shorter, easy(ish) rides.
The other metric on the “Fitness & Freshness” chart is “Form”, and that score is derived from the Fitness score and the Freshness score. Strava models these scores along with projections (indicated by the dashed lines) showing where the athlete will, in theory, be strongest (also known as “peaking”). Click to enlarge:
The trick to actually realizing that projection is to resist my natural urge to ABH (Always Be Hammering), and let my body to rest and recover. Today’s ride will be low intensity, and not terribly long. I’m very interested to see how I perform when Strava thinks I should be peaking.