Finding The Time To Be Intense

I know that my intensity training is paying off.  I feel stronger on the bike, particularly in shorter bursts, such as catching up with a group and climbing hills.  My power numbers are also on the increase.  I was rarely topping 400w for one-minute segments or 300w for 5-minute segments a few weeks ago.  Now I do both routinely.  I am not in peak shape yet, but I am certainly, for me, in good shape.  My weight is hovering about 165, which is normal for me this time of year.

The big problem is finding the time to be intense.  Last week I had Monday off, so despite the 98-degree heat, I joined a 51-mile Morris Area Freewheeler ride out of Pluckemin.  I suffered in the heat, got dropped twice and spent much of the last 30 minutes trying to catch the lead group, ultimately not succeeding.  Last Thursday night I did another MAFW ride, riding 31 miles and averaging 217w for 30 minutes, which is good for a club ride.  I stayed with the front group until near the end.  Saturday and Sunday I did rides of 49 and 101 miles, respectively, with my local group, the Cyclepaths.  Sunday I averaged 269w for 10 minutes up Tunnel road, with a normalized power reading of 283w, with a five-minute section of 300w.  That is a steady climb, a much shorter version of a climb like Whiteface mountain.  That is probably my best effort at climbing it.  It helped that I had Jeff S., a very strong rider, riding with me.  Motivation is especially important during this part of my training.

I have learned that I work best for intensity training with at least three intense days a week.  I try to have 1-2 hour intense rides Tuesdays and Thursdays and try to have longer rides with some intense sections on both weekend days.  This week, I am struggling to find the time and opportunity to  get the shorter rides in.  Tuesday there was no chance of doing a club ride, as I had work commitments, but I had time to do something close to home.  That meant either the spinner at the gym or some kind of interval work.  For the first time this year, I did some serious intervals.

The only interval course close to home is Dutch Rd.  That lasts about a mile and a half.  While it has stretches of 6-8 percent grade, there are also flat and downhill sections.  It is not ideal for steady, maximum power, more like a sprinter’s hill, favoring short bursts.  Despite some traffic, potholes and intermittent rain, I did it seven times in a row, averaging about 220-250 watts each time, just below my red zone.  I averaged 17.8 mph, including seven climbs and six descents.  My wattage numbers were 197w absolute and 221 np, which were roughly equivalent to a fast club ride, without the extreme efforts of a club ride.  Today it rained in the morning.  Tomorrow I’m going to try to join a Princeton Freewheelers ride in the evening.  Nothing like the fear of getting dropped to keep up your intensity.

WEEKLY TIME: 16 hrs 14 min

GOAL: 12 hrs

I am now on the second week of my second cycle of intensity training.  The target event is exactly a month away.


4 comments to Finding The Time To Be Intense

  1. George S
    July 14th, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Hey Jud, Sounds like you’re right on track for an outstanding performance at Quadzilla. All the best to you in your training. I hope you have a great time on that event. I had a ridiculous spill on the Cranbury 600 which has left my shoulder still a bit twitchy. Had an MRI this morning. We’ll see what that turns up. I had to DNS the LOL 1000K, but hope things are better in late August for Tom’s Endless Mountains 1000K. I’m off to Europe for vacation with my family next week. All the best and keep the rubber side down! George

  2. Roy
    July 14th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    It certainly looked (from a ways back) on Sunday like your intensity training is very effective. It makes me think I ought to do more than just read this blog.

  3. jud
    July 15th, 2010 at 12:01 pm


    For me, the trick seems to be keep going hard without overdoing it. We’ll see how the last month goes. BTW, you’ve been doing more than blog reading, or we wouldn’t have done 150 miles together last weekend. I look forward to the NYC 200k this Sunday.


  4. jud
    July 15th, 2010 at 12:04 pm


    Sorry to hear about the crash and subsequent DNS on the Lap of the Lake. I had to drop out of that ride myself for family reasons. I am also signed up for the Endless Mountains 1000k and look forward to seeing you there. I’ve been reading some of the rider accounts from Quadzilla. It looks like there is nothing but endless short and steep climbs and descents. It sounds like Tom’s rides in PA. In fact, Tom completed Quadzilla in 2007, just before doing PBP. That must have inspired him.

    Hope you’re feeling better,


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