Superhot Intervals

wild horses

I squeezed in an interval workout on my ride home from work.  It was super hot leaving the office, like somebody left the oven door open.  At least on the bike you create a bit of a breeze…unless you’re stopped at a traffic light.  With temps in the 90’s and high humidity, it was going to be an interesting workout.

The workout was 3 x 10 minutes at threshold.  If I were following the ski program religiously (I’m not since I’m trying to heal this foot spur) I would have done this as a running workout, followed by a nice swim in Walden Pond.  Instead, I was doing it on the bike and I haven’t done many on-the-bike workouts at this intensity level.  While my engine (cardio) has improved over the past few months, the transmission (cycling-specific leg strength) still need some tuning.   I expected to be riding in the low 170’s but could only sustain mid-high 160’s.  I’m always amazed by how dynamic cycling is relative to running or even nordic, where the output can be more measured and the swings are less dramatic.  It much easier to fall behind or get in too deep on the bike, even with all the years of experience I have.

For example, I hit a hill a few minutes into my second interval.  My legs balooned full of lactic acid.  I could barely turn over the gear.  My heart rate jumped up to 175 and my whole system was shutting down.  Yeah, I’m a bit out of practice with this end of the business.  But I’ve made some good progress in accessing the upper end of my heart rate range while running so I believe I can do the same on the bike. Given some more time.

polar rcx5 heart rate graph threshold intervals

My average heart rate during the interval effort was between 163 and 165.  Ten minutes is a long time for an interval.  A long time to hold the concentration.  To apply yourself into the pain.  It’s also hard to find enough uninterrupted road.  I needed ~ 6km/interval so I had to improvise along the way to avoid getting stuck in traffic or at a stoplight.  It makes it a little more interesting, more like a race where you don’t necessarily know what’s around the next corner.  I found myself psychologically trapped between pushing harder to get the heart rate values up and bargaining with myself to back off a little.  The worst of it was due to some chafing on my inner thigh which hurt more than anything else.

I finished up the third interval, dropped it into a low gear and soft-pedaled most of the way back home.  I was wrung out.  I stood on the pedals and jammed hard a couple of times.  I could feel the damage in my muscles, all the lactic acid locked in there setting up like cement.  The micro-cramps.  It would start to heal up over night and I would be that much stronger for it.


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