Intervals

Today is Armed Forces Day, one of those holidays that most people aren’t even aware of.  There were also rumors that today might very well be the day of The Rapture.  In honor of my military brethren and on the off-chance the world was going to end (thus making future cycling opportunities exceedingly rare), I took to the streets in an attempted interval workout.  As of this writing, it appears The Rapture has failed to materialize as some had promised, which   gives me a chance to render this report.

My interval workout went well.  I did a ten-minute warmup, followed by 20 minutes of hard riding and ten minutes of easy tempo.  I managed three intervals during my 28 mile ride.  It’s pretty difficult to determine whether there was any value of the effort, but it did seem difficult and I am slightly sore, so I guess I accomplished what I set out to do.  Traffic lights make sticking to the sprint portion of the workout a little difficult, but a review of my heart rate data shows I was able to keep my rate high during the sprints and low during the recovery periods.

I deviated from my workout at one point, where I broke my personal speed record on a nice hill descending to Davis Ford.  40.9 mph is quite a speed to be traveling on a bicycle.  I have vague memories of pushing 45 mph on a descent of a Rocky Mountain pass in the mid 1980s, but that would have been measured on an analogue speedometer with me glancing at it for fractions of a second (speeds over 40 mph have a way of keeping you focused on the road).  So today’s mark stands as the official personal record.

In other ride news, I had two cars honk their horns at me today.  I have no idea why the first guy beeped.  The second person mistakenly thought I was hogging a turning lane on Hoadly Road.  When she realized I was heading for a bicycle lane, she recognized her mistake and gave me a wave of apology.  Riders in one other car derisively shouted, “Lance!” as they drove by.  This is what happens when I head toward the busier parts of town in the middle of the day.

It’s a good thing today wasn’t Doomsday.  I don’t like the odds of the folks who honk and yell at cyclists without cause.  I suspect there are a few things on my tally sheet as well!

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11 thoughts on “Intervals

  1. I’m pleased to be still here myself. Mind you I wasn’t expecting to be raised up. I am glad not to have your motorists on our roads but I could do with some of your warm weather. We are struggling to get over 55º here.

    I hope your hard work pays off.

    • If the drivers in your neighborhood are similar to those I found in the Midlands, then you are right to be happily free of Northern Virginian motorists. You are also right that the weather has been glorious, if a bit rainy. Next week promises to have temps in the low 80s each day.

  2. Ah! Intervals. The most painful training ever created. I suppose it is an entirely appropriate choice given that according to some this was going to be the last workout that you did!

    Drag about the honking cars. I get that every now and then as well and it is usually just some bloke who has something against cyclists, probably because he wishes he was one!

    As for being called Lance, perhaps given the latest breaking news that’s no longer such a compliment?!

    • I think passers-by are amused at the cycling attire and assume that I fancy myself as some sort of professional cycling wanna-be. They don’t realize that I (and most other cyclists) have gravitated to this gear over time in an attempt to keep are rear ends from looking like hamburger meat.

  3. Hey Speedy! 40 mph usually keeps me just glancing at the speedometer also. It’s also the point at which I begin easing on the brakes. It’s my top speed, and as I consider cycling through the Rockies and the Cascades, I promise myself that I’m NOT going faster than that. A single bump in the road can create a wobble that would be the end of us….. rapture or not.

    • It sounds like you’re ready. By the way, you may want to consider picking up a spare set of brake pads. Seriously. You will tear up your brakes keeping your fully-loaded LHT under control on the mountain descents. Just a thought…

  4. I’ve been assured by people who are suppose to know that this type of training is the best (overall) that you can do for yourself. Nice work on 3 sets – something I haven’t had the courage to attempt yet. I’ll give it a shot this week.

    • I had no idea three was a lot of sets. I’m not even sure that my timing is right (20 minutes of sprinting and 10 minutes of spinning). Hopefully, I’m close to the mark! 🙂

      • I’m not sure 3 is a lot either, but 1 more than me, so I’m going up! Yes, from what I’ve read and heard I think 20 min hard, 10 min easy is what we are supposed to be doing.

  5. It depends on the training benefit you’re looking for but one of the most common cycling intervals is the 2×20.

    Ride 20 minutes at the fastest pace you can sustain for an even effort throughout. You’ll be breathing hard and rhythmically but not ragged. To keep your heart rate in the right place, you’ll probably have to push harder down the hills than you’re used to. Also find a flat route without stops if possible. You should be able to keep your heart rate within a 5 bpm range. From glancing at your garmin connect files, I’d shoot for a range of 165-170. If this is too high, you’ll be able to tell because you won’t be able to do it for 20 minutes, so you can go lower if need be.

    At the start, give your heart rate a few minutes to build to your heart rate range; you don’t have to sprint to get your heart rate up at first. If you know your ‘threshold’ heart rate, this is your target for a 2×20.

    The standard 2×20 has five minutes rest (riding easy) in between, but you can do 10 if you like. From looking at this post’s ride, you’ll be going harder, but for one less interval. More intervals is not necessarily better, because you can go harder if there are fewer.

    The 2×20 should be helpful increasing your average speed on your regular rides, as you’ll be able to go faster with less effort.

    Good Luck.

    • Thank you very much, Russell. You’re spot on with the bpm analysis. Upper 160s stresses me very well and I cannot hold anything over 170 for more than a few minutes. I felt a little guilty with the 10 minute break because I felt ready to go again after 7-8 minutes, which means I could have forced myself to go after 5 minutes. I’ll definitely give the 2×20 workout a shot.

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