Breakthrough training ride yesterday.
Yesterday morning the weather was absolutely stunning! I figured the beautiful weather was a directive from the Universe for me to get one last hard training ride in before I start easing off in anticipation for this Sunday’s Horrible Hundred. I whipped up a 90 kilometer (56 mile) route that included about 2,000 feet of elevation, and set off by myself.
The temperature was perfect: mid to upper 60s (F) and sunny. The winds were moderate at up to 8-10 MPH and they were mostly out of the north. That meant I’d have a headwind for most of the second half of the ride, but whatever–it was a training ride! 🙂
My goal was to ride very hard, but sustainable. I figured I was looking at at more than 2 hours and 30 minutes in the saddle, and I wanted to finish with a weighted average power somewhere in Zone 4 (Threshold). My FTP is currently 291, so that meant sustaining 261+ watts for more than 2.5 hours. I knew it would be a challenge, but I was in the mood for one.
I probably shouldn’t have done this, as it made the latter part of the ride more difficult, but early in the ride I hammered the hell out of one of my favorite roads around here, Binion Road.
Binion is about 4.5 miles of scenic, rolling blacktop. There are twists and turns at all the right spots and, well, something about the road just makes me want to ride fast! As I rode I felt incredible, and knew that I was probably going to set a few new power personal records if I didn’t blow up…
Well, I was just fine, but about a mile into my effort on Binion I was forced to come to a complete stop for construction. The delay was less than 30 seconds, but I also had to slow for the stop and then get back up to speed. I just sat and shook my head at my bad luck. The stop was a huge bummer, but once I was allowed to resume I decided to continue with my hard effort.
There are three Strava segments on Binion, and even with the forced stop (which affected all the segments) I only missed the KOM on all three by no more than 4 seconds, and as little as 1 second on one segment (I took 3rd overall on all three segments, as the top two on the leaderboard were riding as a group). Whatever, I’ll go back and get those KOMs, what I really was hoping for was wattage personal records–and I got them! More on that a little further down.
After I came off Binion, I backed off to recover for a short time, but I knew I would be close to a 15 minute power output record if I kept the effort up. So after about 40 seconds of active recovery (which, happily, felt like plenty), I began laying down the power and chasing that 15 minute average power PR.
I set new 10 minute (327 watts, +12 watts over my previous best) and 15 minute (309 watts, +5 watts over my previous best) power output PRs. I seriously considered going for my current 20 minute power PR of 306 watts, but with the stop (the zeros count) and the 40 seconds of active recovery I knew that I would be shortchanging myself in establishing a new FTP. Besides, I also had a hell of a lot of hard riding ahead of me! So I backed it down and settled into my hard, but sustainable ~260 watt groove.
Unfortunately, later in the ride, I had to stop again (on Blackstill Lake Road) for construction, this time for about 3 minutes. That stop felt like it took forever, and all I could think about was all those power zeros being factored into my average. 🙁
Despite the forced stops for construction (and yet another stop for an 18 wheeler turning around), I managed to set three more power PRs yesterday–and these are the power PRs I was really going for. The new power output PRs include 1.5 hour (252 watts, +6 watts over my previous best), 2 hour (249 watts, +11 watts over my previous best) and 2.5 hour (244 watts, +20 watts over my previous best).
My total moving time was 02:39:43, which means I was forced to stop for more than 5 minutes (total ride was 02:45:15) for construction, stop lights and traffic. More than five minutes of zeros being averaged in is a non-trivial power penalty, but that’s just part of riding on public roads.
The total distance was 55.8 miles (89.8 kilometers), elevation was 1,916 feet (584 meters), average speed was 21 mi/h (33.8 km/h), average weighted power was 261 watts and average heart rate was 165 BPM. Strava’s “Suffer Score” for the ride was 150 (“Extreme”) and yeah, it was a tough one.
I love breakthrough training rides like this. There’s really no feeling quite like doing something better than you’ve ever done it before, and chasing that feeling is what drives me every single time I click into my pedals.
Of course an important part of the game is proper recovery, and that’s exactly what’s on tap for today: a nice easy ride. 🙂