I just read two posts, one from a really good friend and one written by a friend of his – both about what we can call Average Pace-itis. The basic gist is simple; Cycling enthusiasts place too much importance on Average Pace, choosing routes with prevailing tailwinds, that are devoid of hills, simply so one can pad their stats. As Average Pace-itis progresses, the cycling enthusiast chooses increasingly easier routes to pad their STRAVA (MMR/Endomondo/RWGPS) stats…. All of a sudden, said enthusiast realizes they haven’t seen a hill in a month because it takes their average pace from 20 mph down to 18-1/2.
I have the very simple remedy. Unfortunately this remedy comes with more side-affects than a new drug to market. Fortunately, they’re all good side-affects: Increased confidence, laughter, increased smiling, a decrease in obsessing over average pace… Basically, it’s winning, but without all of the bat-$#!+ crazy Charlie Sheen stuff.
See, interestingly, I don’t exhibit any symptoms of Average Pace-itis. I don’t, because I already practice the answer….
The key is to take one day a week, mine is Tuesday evening, to hammer out an easy route (ours is 29 miles and some change with a total of maybe a couple hundred feet of climbing – 47 km, 65 meters of up), preferably in a group. The group I ride with was around 20 strong this season and, depending on wind direction and intensity, we could complete that route in 1:23:×× to our best, just a few weeks ago, of 1:18:23 or 22.1 mph for an average (or 35.5 km/h). Pull out all of the stops, too. The race bike, easy route, whatever works. Our route is a loop, and this is the only rule: You can’t do a Point A to Point B, taking advantage of a tailwind, and call it an average pace. Doing so, without clarification, makes you a “poseur”, a fake.
Do this, and the rest of the week simply becomes training for the fast night. Add a lot of climbing, triple the distance and drop the group size down to five or six on a Saturday? The average pace drops to 18-19 mph (29-30.5 km/h) but hills make one faster on the flat and who cares about a Saturday anyway? The pace day is Tuesday.
No more Average Pace-itis for said enthusiast.
This has been a public service post for all of humanity, care of Fit Recovery.