As we move into week #3 of the Cycling for Optimum Weight mission, I began a new workout sent to me by Darryl of Loving the Bike. To recap the last two weeks, I’ve just been riding to get in a total of 5.5 hours in the saddle. Pace and distance weren’t as much a priority as getting the time in. This week though we move into more of a ‘training’ mode and start interval training.

Saturday’s Ride

Before we dive into intervals, I wanted to talk about Saturday’s ride. I slept in till about 9 AM on Saturday morning. I wasn’t worried about getting out real early because I wanted the temperature to climb some. It did and when I rolled out the temp was hovering around 55F. It would climb into the mid-70s in the afternoon. Awesome.

I headed out to ride the same route I had ridden the previous Saturday. Traffic wasn’t bad at all because it was still early and my overall numbers for the ride were OK. I rode for 1h:26m for a distance of 20.47 miles and an average speed of 14.3 mph. The avg speed was 1.1 mph faster than the previous Saturday. More importantly though was how I felt on the bike. I felt AWESOME!

Seriously, I haven’t had a ride where I felt like that in a long, long time. I’m sure the weather (good temps and no wind) helped but I know the plan Darryl and Kelli have put me on helped too. I felt like I could have ridden another ten miles easily. If you can’t tell, I was totally psyched about that ride.

Interval Training

This weeks riding schedule was sent to me by Darryl on Friday. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Ride #1 – 60 minutes of intervals. Warm up for 10 minutes at regular pace. For the next 10 minutes sprint it out (in a bigger gear) for 1 minute, then regular pace for 1 minute, and so on, for 10 minutes. Then 10 minutes of regular pace. Repeat the sprint intervals again for 10 minutes. The remaining 20 minutes I was to complete at alittle bit faster pace than when I started.
  • Ride #2 – 60 minutes at regular pace…always trying to get it a little faster.
  • Ride #3 – 60 minutes of intervals the same as in Ride #1.
  • Ride #4 – 105 to 120 minutes of riding at regular pace.

Believe it or not, I was expecting this. Maybe not the exact schedule he laid out but I was expecting intervals. Why? I’ll explain why in Wednesday’s post.

Today’s ride – 60 minutes of intervals

I altered my route today so I could ride a convenient loop to do my intervals on. It turns out that the University of North Florida is just about 10 minutes away by bike (perfect for the warm up) and has a loop around campus that’s great for repeating intervals. The loop is also lite pretty good too so I can see my computer (it doesn’t have a backlight).

For the 10 minute warmup I started off at a pace that was a little faster than normal. Before I reached the campus I reached the 10 minute mark. I shifted into the big gear (haven’t been in it in a long, long time) and started that first interval on time. Before long I was sprinting at about 24 mph and before I knew it that first interval was over. During the next minute I downshifted and took it easy. I also turned onto the loop around the campus during the rest period too. I alternated between sprinting and recovery for the next 8 minutes to complete the first interval set. By the time I was done I need the next 10 minutes at regular pace. My legs and lungs were on fire.

Following the ten minute recovery pace period (it flew by) I started the next ten minute interval set. While I couldn’t get my speed up as much during this set, I was still able to sprint up to about 19 mph with a few in the 18 mph range. I know some folks normal pace is that speed but for a big fat dude trying to do his best Cavendish impression I was happy with it. As I continue to do the intervals I’ll get stronger and be able to maintiain higher speeds for longer amounts of time.

I’m glad there weren’t folks out there to see or hear me during that second interval set. It would have been ugly!

Lessons Learned

Here are a few things I learned on today’s ride:

  1. I don’t need to dress as warm for these interval rides. The temp when I left the house was a nice 52F but the intervals really made me warmup and I could have done without the jacket and ear band.
  2. Carry more water. while I didn’t run out I went through my large water bottle a lot faster this morning.
  3. Setup the timer on my bike computer. I seem to remember that I can setup my bike computer to countdown specific time intervals and it beeps when the time is up. It would be a great feature to use during the intervals without having to keep an eye on the display.
  4. There is a corrolation between the number of intervals you do and the speed you can maintain. I drew a picture to explain (artwork inspired by @Bikerly).
Intervals vs Speed

Number of Intervals vs Speed. Click for full size. Not to scale.

Overall, today’s ride was great. My legs are feeling it but I feel good. The numbers were: 57m, 13.73 miles, 14.4 mph average.

Are any of you using intervals in your workouts?

Thumbnail PhotoC: Steve Caddy