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Bike Ride "Quality" - You Never Know

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Bike Ride "Quality" - You Never Know

Old 11-09-19, 09:51 AM
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DaveLeeNC
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Bike Ride "Quality" - You Never Know

Wednesday I was pretty tired so I took a day off. On Thursday I expected to feel relatively fresh and expected to see ride data that was 'good' by my standards (which drop pretty much every year now that I am age 70). I didn't feel bad but certainly didn't feel fresh and the power based ride data (a tad under a 2 hour ride) looked more like I might have expected without a rest day.

So on Friday I had no expectations of anything positive and didn't feel fresh out the door for sure. But by the end of the ride (same basic area as yesterday, just rode 4.5 fewer miles for no particular reason) I felt quite strong and by the end my avg power on Friday was 20W higher than the previous (rested) day and my NP was 16W higher on the second day.

You just never know.

dave

Last edited by DaveLeeNC; 11-09-19 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 11-09-19, 10:13 PM
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I can usually predict my average speed on familiar routes just by how I feel. But occasionally I'll fool myself.

My fastest time on a familiar 30 mile route was back in early September at night. Warm but not hot, low wind, my legs and lungs felt great. So I wasn't too surprised to set my fastest time.

But Saturday I felt kinda puny. Been fighting off respiratory cooties for a couple of weeks, and for some reason my legs have felt like jello. Even doing lunges, squats, etc., at home, the legs feel kinda wobbly. So I wasn't expecting much from Saturday's 35 mile ride, even though conditions were nice -- cool but not chilly, low wind, sunny and clear. But I set several new PRs and overall one of my fastest solo rides in a couple of weeks.

At first I was inclined to doubt my "feels like" radar. Then I remembered I'd made a few changes to my bike and kit. I switched both wheels from low profile 32 spoke all purpose wheels to sorta-aero 30mm profile 16 spoke wheels. And I wore my snuggest fitting kit, and a new aero helmet with visor. I've been a bit more conscious overall of getting a little lower and more aero on the bike.

So chances are the slightly faster times were due to those changes. I doubt I was too wrong about my "feels like" gauge. On my steel road bike and casual fitting kit and standard helmets, I'd probably have been 1-2 mph slower, which is pretty much how it usually works out.
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Old 11-11-19, 04:58 AM
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At the extremes, my "feel like" gauge is pretty good. But, sometimes it will be a marginal call and I drag myself out to get in a ride. or do a spin class or do a Zwift ride in the basement. Sometimes I'm struggling and just slow. Sometimes I feel like I'm struggling and look at my heart rate and realize my body is not struggling, my mind is! I push a little harder and shave a few seconds off the time I did when I felt great!

It is one of the reasons (unfortunately, drugs are another) why sports results are so variable!
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Old 11-11-19, 07:34 AM
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I remember back in the early 80's when I was a 'serious' runner (2500 miles per year). There would be days when I 'just felt puny'. When I felt like that I used to do a couple of hard quarter to half mile interval like sprints and then coast for a half mile. Sometimes that would 'wake things up' and sometimes I would just feel 'a bit more puny than before'.

Such is the nature of endurance exercise I suppose.

dave

ps. Back then when I was young it never occurred to me that maybe 20 straight days of running without a day off was a bad idea. Ah, youth - I vaguely remember that.
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Old 11-11-19, 09:07 PM
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There are so many other factors at play. While my "how I feel" meter is fairly solid, there have been a good number of times where I've not felt my best, nor felt particularly strong, where I've set PRs according to Strava. I live 5 miles from the ocean and my normal ride takes me there, then along the coastline, and finally back home. Maybe there's an onshore vs. offshore flow. Maybe crosswinds mess with my ability to stay on my line. Maybe humidity is significantly different. Or a combination of those factors. And I've had the opposite too. Where I felt very strong, yet Strava doesn't even register a top 3 medal in any of my segments. I'd say 2/3 of the time how I feel is borne out by the data, but 1/3 of the time there's a mismatch, and I'm guessing it's due to the highly variable environmental patterns living near the ocean presents.
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