Monday, October 30, 2006

A Tale of Two Rides

Last weekend I had the chance to go on 65ish-mile rides on two consecutive days. The first ride was advertised as a relaxed-pace charity ride but I knew differently. I would guess that of the 50-60 participants, over half of them race competitively so it was a fast-paced ride and--from what I could tell--nobody stopped at any time during the ride even though there were reportedly two SAG stops along the way. The second ride was a leisurely solo ride over rolling hills, the purpose of which was to continue to develop the endurance that will help me during two of my "A" races (both of which are over 100 miles) next year.

The fact that I was able to ride at all was pretty darn satisfying given that Wed-Fri of last week was a total rainout. In fact, up until about 2 hours before the Saturday ride, I wasn't sure if the rain was going to let up. By the end of Sunday's ride, the sun was out and were it not for the wind I would not have even needed arm warmers. The combination of the two rides made for one of the most enjoyable cycling weekends of the year.

Here's a comparison of the two rides:

Saturday: About three hours, 67 miles, 23 mph, NP of 255 watts
Sunday: 3 hours 45 min, 68 miles, about 18 mph, NP of 230 watts

Saturday's ride was typified by high intensity surges and drafting; Sunday's ride was more of a steady-as-she goes effort with a couple of hill efforts. I spent neary 40 non-contiguous minutes above 320 watts on Saturday but only about 16 minutes at that wattage on Sunday. My average heart rate on the Saturday ride was a full 20 beats-per-minute higher than on Sunday. On Sunday I intentionally did not look at my speed, heart-rate, or average power during the ride--I just got out there and rode.

What's interesting is that the Training Stress Score for Saturday's ride was actually thirteen points lower than Sunday's ride (223 compared to 210), due to the fact that it took me 45 minutes longer to complete. Since meeting my goal at next year's Assault on Mount Mitchell will likely require a TSS of over 400 points, I need to plan on one or two long rides every week between now and then.


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