The Occasional Athlete

A cyclist trying to be fast(-ish) again

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Out of Hibernation

Finally, some not-awful weather! On Friday I ventured out of the garage for the first time this year. I feel a lot stronger than my previous outdoor ride, though I still have a way to go on the climbs - basically I’m too heavy! I started my build phase with a ramp test last week. My new functional threshold power (FTP) is 258W, an increase of around 4.5%. That’s a fairly sizeable improvement, but I’m still finding the hard sessions too easy! Not as easy as before my FTP bump, but more comfortable than they should be. Perhaps I test a bit low with the ramp test. I’m not going to do another test, though. I’m just going to lengthen or increase in the intensity of my planned sessions as previously.

Today also marked my first club ride of the year - the weekly Sunday bash. This is a hard chaingang ride of around 50km. If you can’t keep up, hard luck, the group won’t wait! The last time I rode this session was way back in September last year, and I was noticeably stronger today; I was holding my own against riders who previously dropped me with ease.

The significant change I am making for the next phase of training is an increase in volume. Since I coped well with 450-500 training stress score (TSS) per week, I’m going to add a second mid-week easy ride of 60-90 minutes, which, along with slightly longer hard sessions will increase my weekly TSS to between 550 and 600. When the weather is good, I’ll also replace one of the quality TrainerRoad workouts with the Sunday morning bash. My week now comprises three quality workouts, one long ride on the weekend (2-4 hours), and two shorter (60-90 minutes) easy mid-week rides. As for events, next weekend is The Rawlinson Bracket - a 93km sportive taking in Warwickshire’s toughest climbs. With gradients hitting over 16% in places this will be a tough one and an excellent test for Fred Whitton.

So, what have I learned over the last six-week block? Well, we all know consistency is key but yesterday’s ride really hammered it home to me. I’ve not felt that strong in literally years! What hasn’t gone so well? I’m still too heavy, even though I’ve been training loads and eating reasonably well. Hopefully increasing my training volume will sort this out. If not I guess I’ll just have to eat less. I hope it won’t come to that though, as I do really like eating!