Tuesdays are normally one of my hard training days. Over the last several weeks, this has been on skis at Weston. I'm about ready to give up on the ski season. With some very warm temps and rain in the forecast this week, it might not be worth any additional investment in the ski season. It will suck to have a whole season pass without a single ski marathon. Might as well shift focus to the bike. I opted for wheels instead of skis Tuesday.
I wasn't expecting much for my lunch ride. I hadn't taken a rest day since the weekend. Yet I had a window to ride and the weather was decent. I chose to do one of my frequently ridden hilly loops through Hollis and into Milford and back. It hits a series of small hills that are perfect for 2.5-5 minute VOmax efforts. This would be a good opportunity for another bike fitness benchmark.
I was surprised to break five minutes on the first climb, considering there was a headwind and I was wearing winter layers. That hurt awfully bad, but it was a good morale booster. I didn't have my Garmin setup to show average power for the interval, but I knew it had to be pretty decent. I'd find out when I got home.
There's a second climb on Pine Hill Rd I also hit hard with barely a break between the two. Even coasting, there's not much recovery time. Tyng Hill Rd comes in quick succession, a much shorter climb. Then the orchard climb on Rt 122. Recovery time was less than interval time for each hill. Masters road races are often like this, where different teams will attack on recurring hills. Either you recover quickly from VOmax efforts or you get dropped.
After a several mile break, Ponemah Hill is hit. Given I was quite ragged by this point, I was surprised to break five minutes on this one too. Riding with a power meter after several year hiatus was quite revealing. It was incredibly hard to keep the power up on the less steep parts and almost as hard to not go too hard on the steep parts.
At home, I was pleased to see I averaged 410W for nearly five minutes on the first interval. My weight is back to pre-Thanksgiving weight (73.0kg). This equates to 5.6W/kg for five minutes. In my best form, I can do about 6.0W/kg for five minutes, which is 440W at my current weight. So I've made pretty good progress in regaining bike fitness since my test up Uncanoonuc a few weeks ago.
A ride I did last Saturday didn't quite kill me, thus it must have made me stronger. I hooked up with some local strongmen, guys who've claimed national titles and even an overall win on Mt Washington. The 100km ride was chocked full of VOmax hillclimb efforts. Fifteen times during the ride, my power went over 600W. Twenty minutes from finishing, pretty much everything in my legs started seizing up. Had we gone another mile, I think I would have had an Everest Challenge incident. This is where I seized up still clipped in, toppled over and laid in the road for at least twenty minutes, unable to move. I hadn't push myself on the bike that hard in a long time. It was exactly what I needed.
You've heard of that 5 Hour Energy drink stuff, right? Well, there's a new craze now, inhalable caffeine! It is called Aeroshot and comes in a lipstick sized dispenser. All the energy, none of the calories! Kids are going to die on this stuff, and the FDA is already investigating.
Anyway, I felt like last Saturday's ride was an Aeroshot of fitness boost. I need to get kicked out of my comfort zone more often like this!