Wednesday 25 June 2008

A Great Cycling Evening: Time to Squeeze the Orange!

Heart rate profile for June 24th ride

Some days you just don't feel like doing anything. I had a nice ride home on the bicycle and then sat in the kitchen, looking at some new cycling books VeloPress sent me to review and scanning some of the several thousand slides from my time in Germany and Washington, DC that I have yet to scan, a really boring job. The weather was wonderful, and I had the sliding door open so Ms. Chipmunk ran and in and out for peanuts. It was very pleasant, and doing intervals was far from my thoughts. Besides, I thought, Tuesday evenings the bicycle club has its women's time trial and I did not want to get out there and interfere by riding the course.

Of course, the I opened up an e-mail from my Coach of Cruelty. I had sent him a long message a few days ago analyzing my times at the three tts I have done so far and trying to figure out where I could improve. He sent me a long e-mail, which was primarily philosophical, and was very supportive of my ideas. Of course, I realized that sitting at home was not going to improve my time on the course, so I got the bike out and rode as he suggested, a task that included four 90 second intervals at race-pace. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it--it is always the same: once I make the effort to get on the road I always enjoy it. It was wonderful, riding in the cool evening air, watching the groundhogs by the river, and seeing the sun begin to set. I felt at the end that I had accomplished something by sticking to my training. And for fun I pushed the Tarmac up past 50 km/h again.

My coach's comments included:

This is how a true TT man thinks: What was my speed last time? I want to match it or go faster!
This is also how the TT man thinks: Consistency is also a marker of improved fitness.
What made Lance amazing? Indurain? Anquetil? All these guys not only did fast TTs, but more importantly, consistent TTs. Every time. Like clockwork. They knew they could win the Tour de France, because they would have a good TT every time.
You noticed guys who are currently racing now, had much slower times in the past. They too at one time saw great gains in short amounts of time. Now their gains are not as much, time wise, but believe me, their gains are monumental physically. Think of it (and yourself!) as a orange: in the beginning when being squeezed for juice, there is lots, so with an easy squeeze, a lot pours out. As you get to the end of the squeezing the orange, there is less juice and you must squeeze harder to get even a little bit of juice. Those men are squeezing their hearts out for mere seconds at this point.


Groover said...

It feels more like sqeezing lemons ...

Sprocketboy said...

I found doing long time trials makes me feel more like the squeezee...