Improvers’ Plan – Week 3

I have actually been finding it easier to fit in the mid-week rides, relative to the longer rides at the weekend. A flat tyre on Friday evening’s commute meant Saturday involved swapping out tubes and tyres on my rear wheel, and this lead to various other repairs and tinkering. The flat tyre was due to the failure of a glueless patch. A further annoyance was Parcel force not actually doing what I told them. They took the spare parts I needed to my local post office instead of delivering the parcel to my neighbours.

I ended up buying the 27.5 x 1.5 Schwalbe Marathon Plus slick MTB tyres. Initially the ride felt harsher. As they are narrower I have to run them at a  higher pressure but now I don’t notice the difference.

Week three’s training was very similar to week two. However my Cadence / Speed sensor arrived from China and was also fitted on Saturday. Sundays ride has cadence data. Week four has cadence sessions, so thank goodness it arrived when it did.

Week 3 – Day 2 (Strava Ride)

Distance 22.9 km
Average Speed 16.4 km/h
Average Power 174 W
Average Heart Rate 127 bpm

Tuesday’s ride was the ‘Zone Build‘ session identical to last week. but really it was the first time I’d been able to do this session. This time last week the Lezyne GPS hadn’t arrived. My average speed was obviously slower but my average heart rate was much lower. It was supposed to go like this…

HRZ 1 for 10 minutes
HRZ 2 for 20 minutes
HRZ 3 for 5 minutes
HRZ 1 for 5 minutes
HRZ 2 for 5 minutes
HRZ 3 for 5 minutes
HRZ 1 for 5 minutes

The rides heart rate data looks like this…

Traffic lights near Walkden caused a few interruptions to zone three sessions. I tried to throw in an extra set of Zone 2 / Zone 3 near the end. This replaced my traditional 10 minute cool down.

Although I couldn’t follow the Zone Build session exactly the one thing which has given me hope is seeing how my heart rate can drop 20 bpm relatively quickly when I switch down to a lower zone. That gives me hope I’m making progress with improving my fitness.

Week 3 Day 4 (Strava Ride)

Distance 17.0 km (Last week 22.3 km)
Average Speed 16.6 km/h (Last week 16.3 km/h)
Average Power 183 W (Last week 173 W)
Average Heart Rate 140 bpm (Last week 132 bpm)

Thursday’s Tempo interval training was shorter than the equivalent session last Friday. My average’s above are all approximately 5 – 10% higher than the previous Tempo interval session. This is mainly due to me cutting short the route so I finished the session nearer home and avoided a unnecessarily long cool down. When your 5 km from home and you have to ride in the active recovery zone it’s frustratingly slow.

I suspect my detour around a few hilly streets near my house pushed up the average, but like for like I felt I was quicker for an equivalent effort. I am able to see more structure in the heart rate data as my pulse reduced quicker when ending zone three efforts.

Week 3 Day 7 (Strava Ride)

Distance 20.6 km
Average Speed 19.2 km/h
Average Power 220 W
Average Heart Rate 154 bpm
Average Cadence 78 rpm (Max 101 rpm)

Sunday’s ride should be a 2 hour endurance ride. Sundays weather was awful. I didn’t fancy riding in the rain. Sunday lunch was still sitting heavy on me, but at around 6pm after returning home from the mother-in-laws I looked at my total distance ridden this week and it was below my 77 km / w average. I need to do 77 km / week to stay on track for my New Years Resolution goal. This motivated me to strap up with sensors and jump on the bike.

I had my new tyre and cadence sensor fitted and didn’t really want to go on a long ride, so I just cycled up to Heaton Park to find it locked up at night. Sensible I suppose but where are all the teenagers going to go for nefarious activities away from adult supervision.

There was a lot of what I understand is called ‘Bobbing’ in the saddle. At this point I doubt high cadence is for me as i spin out at 100 rpm with a stomach full of chicken curry and apple crumble.

I did get three PR’s and it certainly has increased my power output and speed but I was in Zone 3, 4 and 5 for most of the ride.

With my legs going up and down in a relatively easy gear I felt I was wasting a lot of energy and sweating loads. Lets just say I’m glad I was wearing my Halo Headband. This headband has a flexible strip that diverts the sweat away from your eyes. One of my club mates recommended them and it’s proved invaluable so far, no more stinging eyes during hard training sessions.

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Author: David Jackson

Hello, I'm a 40+ yo cyclist trying to get back into cycling after the Covid-19 pandemic. I have hardly been on a bicycle in the last 2 years.