So I figured the time had come to stop playing around at riding bikes and get serious. ”Just riding more” has served me well for the past 12 months, but I feel like I’ve plateaued & need to up my game a fair bit. To that end, I have engaged the services of Tom at Custom Cycle Coaching to provide me with an ongoing training plan from now until the TD itself.
The first step in the process was to undergo a fitness assessment with Tom at his lab at Oxford Brookes Uni. Having never been through a fitness assessment before, I suspected it would involve being humbled by a stationary bike and a computer, and that was pretty much how it went. The motivation provided by having someone “encouraging” you to “keep going” is tangible, and it seems, measureable. 7 beats per minute. That’s how many more beats my heart was pounding during the fitness test than on the hardest climb I’ve winched up on the singlespeed (at least when wearing a hr monitor). So, my maximum heart rate is 182. Completely average for my age, but also determined by genetics so thankfully out of my hands. In a nutshell, the test revealed that my endurance/efficiency is really good (with all those long rides under my belt, I was hoping that would be the case). But, my VO2 max / aerobic threshold is pretty rubbish. Tom didn’t actually use the word “rubbish”…he’s far too professional for that. I think he said something about “room for improvement”, but I think he really meant “rubbish”.
So, my first 4-week training plan block started this week, and so far it’s going ok. Predictably, he’s gone straight for the jugular & is cutting out the long endurance rides in favour of lots of high intensity stuff. Hello turbo trainer. This is fine, it is exactly what I figured I’d need to be doing. The long term plan is that all this high intensity stuff will eventually allow me to ride those long endurance distances at a faster pace than before. Sounds good to me.