I want to ask you seasoned gurus out there a question that has at times been a mystery to me and is something that can be quite bothersome.
What makes for a bad day on the bike? There not that often say a handful in any given year, but boy they suck. Specifically for me a bad day starts off with the signature sign of an elevated heart rate….the kind when you hit the first little hill and uncharacteristically your heart rate (HR) shoots over your Lactate Threshold (LT). Often days like this result in rides that are suffer-fests; where your body feels like and IS inefficient. A 50 mile ride might feel like 100, you feel like crap by the end. As Steven Tyler might describe, “your get and go must’ve got up and went”. Looking back at my HR data, bad days have me spending way more (>30%) time over LT than on comparable rides with comparable efforts, a big difference.
I have pinpointed two reasons for this. They are:
1) Drinking alcohol (not that much ~3 drinks, wine is the worst) the night before, perhaps leading to dehydration, although for the most part I pride myself on drinking lots of water or;
2) Eating too much heavy food, too soon before riding, leaving feeling of being full while riding.
Other reasons that seem plausible but that I have not personally identified include a combination of the 2 reasons above and/or stress, caffeine, lack of sleep, over training, allergies, cold medicines, anxiety before a ride event and probably other reasons.
The biggest goal of my season is coming up, a century heavy with climbing and if I have a bad day, I’m pretty sure I won’t make it. Chances are things will be fine but I am looking for insight on how to prevent this scenario. Conversely, I hope that insight obtained here on this subject will lead to more good days
Btw, I ride quite a bit (avg 2,500 miles a year, for the past 5 years), feel like I stay tuned to my body’s well being and have monitored my Heart Rate and performance on the bike closely for the past 3 years (using a Garmin Edge – 305 and SprotTracks software). Thanks!