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Old 05-02-21, 10:17 AM
Super-duper Genius
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Location: Muskrat Springs, Utah
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I have a favorite ride I do when I want a "workout," i.e. riding more for fitness than fun. It's fun too, but it's in no way casual or relaxing. There's a park with a 1.3 mile paved loop, very popular with pedestrians and cyclists. The loop includes two flat areas separated by two short, fairly steep hills. So every time around you get to climb twice, descend twice, and recover twice.

I always take one of my fixed gear bikes, usually with 49x17 gears, which is enough to turn my skinny legs into jello on each climb and to allow about 18 mph average speed around the loop. I force myself to stand up and sprint as hard as I can for the climbs. In fact, that's pretty much the only way to make it up the hills with this gear ratio. On the steeper of the two descents, I spin as fast as I can. The rest of the time, I take a pretty moderate pace. My personal record lap time is about four minutes flat or maybe just a few seconds less. I usually shoot for 4:05 - 4:10 average lap time, and I do 10 laps (13.5 miles). It's a very strenuous 45-ish minute routine. It's fun to look at my heart rate graph after the workout--20 spikes into the anaerobic zone for several seconds, separated by 20 troughs.

The upshot of all this is yes, you can definitely get a good high intensity interval workout on a bike, perhaps especially so with a FG or SS.

I always finish this ride feeling completely spent, and I believe if I could do this consistently twice a week, over time I'd gain excellent cardiovascular health. Alas, life intrudes into my plans and I don't get to go there as often as I'd like.

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