I finally gave in and started doing interval training. Up until now, I had a more organic approach to cycling and training. Interval training just didn’t sound fun, it sounded like work. I was more concerned with the experience of the ride; the sense of freedom being out on the road, the sound of the wind blowing, the light peaking out from behind the trees, Texas wild flowers on the side of the road, the places my mind wanders during hours in the saddle, the conversations with the people I was riding with or the characters I would meet at the little shops and cafes out in the middle of nowhere. I was more concerned with the metaphysical than structured performance gains. Sounds dead arty, what do you expect, I went to art school.
In preparation for PBP, I’ve decided that I need to do anything possible to have a successful ride. Also, for the amount I ride, I’m tired of getting whooped by old dudes on the trails. Drudging out long ride after ride doesn’t actually make you faster. It builds endurance, but not speed. Intervals and speed work help raise your average speed and also help you recover from hard efforts like having to climb a hill. My friend Brian, whom I have ridden a couple brevets with, was nice enough to email me a couple workouts he does. Brian is an experienced PBP rider, so a great source for training advice.
I don’t have any sort of computer on my bike. I usually know the distance I ride because I have mapped it out before or have a control sheet if its a brevet. I stopped using a computer because the last thing I would want to know when battling a 25mph headwind for 200km is that my average speed is 8mph. That would be soul destroying. I stopped wearing a watch a long time ago. If I need to see the time I can look at my phone. I don’t need another reminder that I am running late. I do own one, an old Casio digital watch. I had to figure out a way to keep track of the interval training, but really did not want to put a computer on the bike. It turned out the stop watch was a perfect fit for the handle bars.
It turns out that interval training was actually kind of fun. I think anything that mixes things up so you are not always doing the same ride helps keep things fresh and helps avoid burn out. I will start doing these sessions twice a week and also add hill training once a week. I am already looking forward to the next session. Hopefully it will make me faster. I bet in no time I will get totally obsessed with performance and start getting all the fancy training gadgets like multiple computers, power tap meter, heart rate monitor, vo2 gauge, gps tracking, theremin, flux capacitor, etc. If that happens please tell me “chill the f**k out, pal”.