So, I have been thinking about next year's goals and I have some ideas. Not that this year is over, far from it, but I am going to be recovering from this crash over spring, summer is a dead zone for any races/endurance events in my area...too hot...although fall is always a great time to ride. That kinda leaves a bit of time for me to consider what went well this year and build on it for next.
This year I was focused on two things...strength and endurance. I relied on the SS to build strength and it worked just fine. I will continue to ride SS as much as possible and hopefully use it in some events next year. SS is just sooo much fun that the pain involved becomes part of the package. I also built up to longer rides than normal, usually on the geared bike. It left me out of several group 'fun' rides that were too short to meet my goals but the end result of all that reasonably focused riding and time spent alone was enough fitness to survive Vision Quest, my main focus for early 2009.
I love long rides so that will continue for this year and the SS will still be cracking the whip, so I will retain my base of endurance and strength, but I feel that I am missing one key thing: Speed. I am not fast. I am pretty strong and very steady but fast? Not.
It should come as no surprise as it is something I do not try to get better at. To begin with, I have always sucked at anything that required a fast, high output start like a classic NORBA race. By the time I wake up, the race is over. A lot of that is just genetics. I think my VO2 max is pretty sad. But I never, well, never seriously and not recently, focused on the one part of a training regimen that makes you fast...intervals. Intervals hurt. Intervals are pain and suffering without a reward. Long rides are their own reward. How bad can it be, spending all day on your bike, even if it does hurt? But intervals are like eating your vegetables when all the lasagna is gone and those asparagus spears are laying there on your plate, all limp and cold. You know they are good for you but the process is awful.
I spent some time poking around the net on sites like this looking at interval training for cyclists.
I have no Power Tap hub or bike computer but I can steal my wifey's heart rate monitor if I need it. I hope to understand the basics, work out a plan and tweak it until it works for this old weekend warrior. When I usually get dropped, it is because I cannot maintain a high enough power output for a relatively short distance or period of time. I need to get better at working at a high pain threshold.
So, I am in search of speed. I am not sure how big a difference I can make. It is not like I am getting any younger, but I am confident that I can improve some. I am also certain I will like the results. I am just as certain that I will hate the process.
Who knows, one day I may even learn to like eating asparagus.