I’ve rambled over the last few posts about the effects the crisis has had on my cycling plans and the type of riding I've been doing, so I thought I'd take a slightly more detailed look this month at how Liam and I have altered the training to suit this.
Having put all my efforts into long, mountainous endurance events in recent years, my ability on shorter, more 'British' hills had rather plateaued, and while I always enjoyed busting myself up them for five minutes, I never saw myself as competitive with the fastest hill climbers in the UK.
With the decision I mentioned last time to target some of the bigger Strava KOMs, it was clear my short term power would benefit from some work, as many of these segments would be a pretty stretching target for me. It's been a gradual process over the last few months being based in the hills, and as always, we've had to balance the specific sessions with slightly freer days when I can just go out and do what I fancy.
The first change I noticed in the training, was harder intervals around and over my threshold. For the endurance events, Liam usually has me completing a high volume of work around 10% under my threshold, as Liam explained it; this was down to the fact that in Gran Fondo events, this is the intensity that you ride the race defining climbs. However, for a one off Strava effort, the focus is very much on power, rather than repeatability and fatigue resistance. This means we’ve been working over my threshold in order to try and lift that power.
Since then we've cut the volume back somewhat in order to keep the legs that bit fresher for the harder efforts on the hills. Judging from the data over the last few weeks, the work has been successful – more so than I expected. Having bagged a few of the 'top 100' including the 'Killer Mile', Pym's Chair, and the prestigious Winnats Pass, I've also managed to update my 'power curve' for all durations from 3 to 20 minutes, which as anyone who rides with power knows, is just as satisfying as the KOMs themselves!
The irony in all this is that my switch of focus hasn't made my riding more compatible with Hannah's. We had the slight problem last year that my long endurance training miles
were less than conducive to her goal at the hill climb nationals; this year we appear to have swapped, as she has just demonstrated the ultimate in endurance challenges; setting a new women's 'Everesting' world record and outright British record!
Anyhow, I'm not getting too carried away – this will be a brief interlude for me. I have no illusions about being competitive at events like the Monsal Hill Climb, and we are still hoping to get away into the high mountains later this summer. It will be great to put my updated power curve to the test on the legendary climbs.