Wilting In The Heat

Today I decided to kick off my second build/intensity period by joining a 53-mile ride with the Morris Area Free Wheelers.  This was billed as a “B” ride, whatever that means.  In the MAFW, ride categories seem to depend sometimes more on the identities of the riders who show up than on some kind of absolute pace.  This ride was originally canceled by the club due to expected high 90s temperatures and then reinstated.  I counted 20 riders at the start.

I’d just had a quiet rest week.  I’d gone out Saturday and done 51 miles on my “test ride.”  During each rest week, usually on a Saturday, I find a long hill and test my five-minute wattage.  The highest wattage ever for me in five minutes was 339 out of Flemington on a Princeton Freewheelers ride two years ago.  My best this year so far had been the 311w performance up Zion the week before.  I was hoping for a performance in the 330s.

Well, I used Dutchtown-Zion Road in the Sourlands, which I find nearly ideal because it gets steepest toward the end, counteracting the natural tendency to relax when climbs level off.  I gave it a good effort, the top felt like it arrived earlier than usual, and then I checked the reading.  It was 324w.  It was the fifth highest I’ve recorded on any climb, but it was a bit disappointing.  My normalized power was 335w, so I figured maybe I hadn’t given it full effort for the whole five minutes.  Sure enough, the climb did end too quickly.  I started it 30 seconds too late.  My first 30 seconds was 230w, while my last 4 minutes 30 seconds was 336 watts.  So my goal of a reading in the 330s was within reach, had I started my big effort a little sooner.

As for the MAFW ride today?  Don’t ask.  Temperatures rose into the high 90s and there was a spirited group of riders at the front, not a good combination.  My overall numbers (157 watts absolute , 202 normalized, 180 combined) looked a lot like those for the WJW ride last week (148 absolute, 210 normalized, 179 combined), but that ride had more big climbs and less of the fast flat to rolling terrain that gives me more trouble.  I ended up getting dropped twice today from the front group, spending a lot of time alone fighting the wind.  Also, two weeks before on another 51-mile MAFW ride I’d managed 220 np, a good 10 percent better than today.  The heat and the less hilly terrain were probably responsible.

I’ve learned that brevet riding often entails riding alone, so from a training perspective, this was fine.  The trouble was the heat.  I definitely was pushing it too hard for the weather.  It was good the ride was relatively short.

WEEK 7 hrs 1 min

GOAL 7 hrs

I’ve now completed the full four weeks of the first of two build/intensity periods.  I’ve just entered the second of those periods.  I hope to ride another shorter high intensity ride Wednesday or Thursday, then will use Saturday for my third intense ride of the week.

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