The last three Saturdays have found me on the bike doing what I can to improve my riding for the upcoming season. It’s a little hard to believe but race number one, the Summer Open Sprint is only five weeks from this coming Saturday. Crazy!
While the bike was probably the part I enjoyed the most in my races last year, it’s also been my weakest event. Indeed, in my two Olympic events, the Creek Streak and the TriRock San Diego, I only averaged about 18.9 and 17.2 miles per hour, respectively. That’s not bad for a first season, but at the same time, I see some opportunities to improve my pace and therefore my overall time.
A key point of the book Heart Rate Training talks about the usefulness of doing interval training. The basic idea is to go harder than you would expect to be able to sustain over the full distance of a race and then build recovery intervals into your set. During those intervals, your heart recovers to the lower end of Z1 and then you’re ready for the next set.
I’ve been reading about this and planning for it during much of the off-season. On Saturday, March 24th, I took to Cherry Creek State Park for my first ride:
The park is relatively flat so it’s a good place to go at a true speed without hills factoring in too much. There are few, but they are not terribly steep and are short. When I did the Creek Streak at this location last summer, I found the cycle course to be not as challenging as I expected.
A factor that can’t be selected, however, is weather. Specifically, high winds, which have come back to Colorado as they do every spring. My day started out pleasant enough, but the wind soon made riding at my targeted speed of 20mph pretty much out of the question:
Last Saturday I was back up in Weld County. It was a cooler day than either of the last two and I had hoped that wind would not be a factor, but alas, it was. The back roads were relatively free of traffic which made the ride more comfortable. But the wind out of the east was pretty strong at points and again, it kept me below my target pace on most of my intervals:
The video below is of the second ride on March 31. While Cherry Creek is relatively flat, the road is bumpy (as you’ll see). That definitely takes its toll over the course of the ride.
Thanks for reading!