ROAD TO LEADVILLE: MORE INTERVALS
Wednesday, July 28, 2010 – I woke up at 510am this morning, feeling well rested and 20 minutes before my alarm was to go off. I bounded downstairs (not really; I’m actually too old to “bound” anywhere at 5am, especially down stairs), made a mad cup of joe, ate a banana and drove to Crested Butte for classic Wiener 20-40’s up the ski area access road (See July 13 “Run for the Hills” for details about 20-40’s.) I was riding at 6am sharp and it had rained overnight but it wasn’t muddy and the traction was killer. Lots of clouds, very moody look to everything. Awesome.
I warmed up riding from town and then climbed for about 5-10 minutes on the ski area before launching into set number one. As always, it hurt but I came around pretty well between each all out 20 second sprint. That forty seconds goes by fast but so does the set. Before you know it, you’re on the last one, for me that’s number four. I got a high HR of 164 in set number one. Then, I keep climbing in my SRAM XX 39×34. I’m able to stay in the 39 almost the entire climb. I love that drivetrain and gearing.
I climbed steady, my HR hovering in the low 140’s for about 10 minutes before beginning set number two, the final set. This time I maxed out at 166 HR. Not the best HR’s I’ve had lately but I’ll take them. I then continued to the top of the Silver Queen lift – dropped down into my 26 for one steep bit by the patrol shack – topped out, put my windbreaker on, snapped some pics and headed down stretching the ride to an hour and a half with 2,500 vertical.
Back in the car and headed down valley, I had another cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal in front of me my by 830am. Off to work then but I got done and was able to sneak back out on my bike just after 2pm. Instead of my usual full sandwich lunch, (I’m a 3 square meals kind of guy myself. I know some who don’t eat breakfast or lunch and just eat energy bars all day and then eat dinner. No way for me!) I had a simple but hearty peanut butter and honey on Great Harvest whole grain bread. No chips, no cottage cheese, no leftovers.
I was back on my hardtail (the same as this morning) and set on doing some off-road intervals. There was a dark storm over Hartmans but the hills behind WSC were in the clear. I started back there with about a 2-3 minute effort, a 5-6 minute one and then I noticed Hartmans clearing. I did a 2 minute effort on the flat road around the runway and then did one up Kill Hill, meaningful to any of you Growler veterans out there. Between these efforts, I’m riding very easy. This is much different than a race simulation, fo ahz hahd, or even JR in that I’m either on the gas hard, harder than I’d ever go in a race, or spinning lightly, HR less than 125 and if it’s flat enough, more like 100-110.
Truth be told, I wasn’t getting great HR’s out there. The High 140’s felt hard, high 150’s extreme, and the few times I saw low 160’s, it was all due to the gear I was in and the terrain. The terrain could get my HR up but me just pushing on the pedals alone wasn’t cutting it. But that’s why I don’t put much stock in HR anyway. I like to see what it’s doing but don’t get all in a tizzy about trying to achieve any particular HR. Perceived effort is more my marker. Also, I was following my typical rule of resting at least three times the duration of the last effort before beginning the next one.
Also, Dave Smith would break down what I call “intervals” into other sub categories depending on how long they were and what target HR you were trying to achieve. I can remember a few. LAT or lactic acid tolerance were short, 30 seconds to a minute. Then came AP’s or aerobic power. These were 2-3 minutes. Finally, IT’s or intensity threshold. 10 to 15 minutes for these, all going essentially as hard as you can for those durations. Before and now, I’ll just call them intervals. But on a day like today, I almost considered them more “efforts.” Yeah, efforts, I like the sound of that. So I ended up doing “efforts” and feeling pretty good about them. I didn’t blow, was out for 3 hours and climbed 3,500 feet. I’m pleased about this (this is something a Kiwi friend of ours used to say. His name is Nathan Faave and while staying at our house years ago, he left me a note, stating, among other things, that he had given my dog Josh some sort of treat. “This pleased him,” we wrote.
Weights for sure tomorrow. My morning is busy with work and that could stretch into the afternoon. I’m thinking about riding less than more; easier than harder. One of these days I’ll get this written before 9pm. Right now the clock says 11:23pm and the alarm is set for 6am. We can sleep when we’re dead. Once again, good night.