I’ve mentioned my desire to give a pro riding schedule a try in several posts and it’s been going incredibly well:
Now, it should be stated that I am not independently wealthy and hold down a difficult, full-time day job, it’s not like I can rely on a team of people to do my job for me. I’m the team, so if the family is going to eat, I have to work. I work long, hard hours… I just happen to do that before the June sun comes up so I can get home early enough to get a decent hour or two in on my bike.
At the heart of my new schedule is the notion that a true “day off” of the bike being necessary once every week or two is entirely unnecessary. The pros don’t take days off and ride a whole helluva lot harder than I do and they spend several hours on a trainer to keep their legs spun up on their days off during the tour season.
I’ve got 13 consecutive days and feel strong and good. I’m fast, fit and suffering no ill-affects. Two years ago, when I tried this the first time, I was wiped out and my performance started waning after ten days. By the time the thirteenth rolled around I was cooked.
Another interesting point is that two years ago, 150 miles in a week was a lot. 120 was a decent, average week. This year is different there as well:
Oh, and did I mention that I’m faster too? A lot faster. A full mile per hour faster on our Tuesday night average.
So, if you’re scratching your head, wondering how is this possible in our “listen to your body”, “take days off”, “sleep eight hours” world?…
Three of those seven days a week, I ride slower(ish – damn if she isn’t getting fast), with my wife. Two of those days are very hard (beyond anything that could be called “comfort”) and two are fast, yet sustainable.
I’ve gotta get into average speeds here for a second, so bear with me… And know that hilly terrain, call it 700 feet for every ten miles, knocks the pace down by 1-2 mph. I’m also going to stick with the Tuesday club ride stats because the course is consistent. I did some exceptionally fast centuries two years ago, one in just 4-1/2 hours and we had a 24 mph average (23.8 actual) pulling into the 58 mile rest stop…
Two years ago, my fastest Tuesday was 21 mph. We were consistently between 20 and 21. This year, with more miles per week, many of them slower and fewer days off, that best average is 22.5 and we’re consistently at 22 or just slightly under.
My slow rides, by contrast, went from 18 mph two years ago, down to 16-17 mph this year.
The easiest way to explain this in a sentence is that my hard rides got harder and my easy rides got easier.
So, I’ve only taken one day off in the last 20, I feel fantastic, and I’m faster than ever… All because my easy days are closer to where they should be. Riding with my wife made me a better (and vastly happier) cyclist.
I’m winning on so many levels I’d make Charlie Sheen jealous.
That last sentence is obviously tongue-in-cheek. Life’s good though.
Alas, this great streak will be ending today:
Down in Ann Arbor my wife is doing a sprint Tri and I’m the support staff. We’ve got a two hour window of no rain down here but I doubt I’ll be getting any miles in today with the expected thunderstorms all day long. It’s all good though… Maybe I’ll take a nap.
A fantastic post about strategic positioning on a bike. Excellent explanations.