While most of my colleagues top off their glycogen reserves during lunch, I periodically attempt to fully deplete mine. Hard to do on a lunch break, but it can be done. Takes upwards of two hours of mad pace riding chocked full of intervals.
Tuesdays are usually my most intense days even though I'm not usually recovered from weekend activities. Last week I did a 40 miler, hitting a couple 600 footers along the way at all-out VOmax intensity. A few riders may be familiar with Pead and Purgatory Hills. Yesterday I throttled things back just a notch, hitting four shorter hills in a 31 mile loop. These were the double Pine Hills, Tyng Hill and Ponemah Hill. Durations range from 3-4 minutes at above 5.5W/kg intensities. With Newton's Revenge coming up Saturday morning, I don't want to embarrass myself by imploding half way up from major midweek training load.
Looking over my Excel training log for the first six months of the year, I see a trend continues. In my log, I note rides as being either trail or road. My 2009 average speed for all riding is around 15mph. This wouldn't be bad if half my miles were off-road. But this is not the case this year. My road-only average speed is 17.8mph. It is ironic that the slower the speed I train at, the stronger I get. You do not have to average 26mph on your Wednesday night worlds ride to get fast. In fact, many riders will derive junk training value from such rides. To get fast, you need focused bouts of intensity. This is best done alone. Only caveat is you need the mental fortitude to push yourself into extremely unpleasant realms with no one to shame you into going harder.
Several years ago I logged over 10,000 miles of riding. It was one of my worse seasons. Lots of junk miles were involved, very little focused intensity. But my average speed was something like 20mph. These days I ignore average speed of lunch training rides. The commuters and recreational riders at work love talking about these figures of merit. But they are the bane of quality training. Rather, I head out at reasonable pace to warm up, hit a hill interval, then rest until the next interval. This means doing minimal work, just enough to re-process the lactic acid that was built up from the prior interval. Soft pedalling down the back side of a hill is allowed during these workouts. Interestingly, on a couple of the less steep climbs I'm pretty sure I average a faster speed going up than I do for the overall ride. If I were to focus on the ride's average speed, I would go hard to the first interval hill, not be able to hit it as hard as I should, then maintain power down the back side right up to the next interval. This completely diminishes the value of the intervals. For the Training Peaks users out there, a good interval training session should show huge disparity between average and normalized power.
I typically do not allow for full recovery between intervals. Hilly road races rarely afford this luxury. Thus the suffer factor goes way up by the third, fourth or fifth interval. Plan is to do them until power drops dramatically, or in other words, bodily failure. Mission is then complete and it's time to head back in.
Weather looks good for Mt Washington on Saturday - narrow temperature range from upper 40's to low 50's, 30% chance for rain, and not too windy at 30mph. This summer, or lack thereof, will continue to play into my favor by staying cool. I need not worry about overheating. Getting cold will not be an issue either. Looks like more riders are jumping into Newton's Revenge. Maintaining my slim points lead is not going to be easy.