Sunday, 18 March 2012

Super Compensation

Briefly and probably not entirely correct but super compensation is the post training period during which the trained function/parameter has a higher performance capacity than it did prior to the training period. ( thanks Wiki)

I have no idea what the time scales actually are ( days, weeks or whatever) but I can usually feel when such a period 'maybe' approaching and can last a day or even up to a week depending how well fuelled my muscles are at the time or how hard I go during that time. I think the last time was about 3 weeks ago and didn't last long at all as  it coincided with a huge weight loss program. Last week, in hindsight, must have been the recovery phase as its when I've felt the worst, kept plugging on nice and easy, my speeds relatively slow but also due to the very high pressure system we've had. On my last commute on Thursday I could start to feel my muscles being repaired as the pain had almost gone. The evening commute I hammered it as hard as I could as I had planned a 40mile easy ride but was told to get home asap :). Quite slow again due to the high pressure and very low temps. I ended up doing 10 hill sprints and a 12 min threshold with as little rest as possible, just a couple of minutes rest altogether. 13 miles at 20mph. Comparing it to other rides, when I reached the top of wood street, I was only doing 13.5mph but have done 16mph quite 'easily' in the past yet I really went as hard as I could.

Friday morning I could barely walk so could only manage a 30min spin which was unbelievably difficult but on Saturday I was allowed to play out on my TT bike. Now the air pressure had dropped considerably so that might have had an effect on the 'feel' but I was going fast, for the damp conditions, with little effort. I kept heart rate as low as possible as not to build up lactate but still maintain a good speed. It just didn't fee like I was trying too hard. I ended playtime when the rain started to pour down, I could have gone on for ages. My position looked really  low and fast! but super comfy. 20 miles @ 21.9mph. 

Sunday 18th March

The legs were itching to go out and ride hard. I readied Scottie the night before as I planned to put a time into Cragg Vale as I hadn't been up for ages prior to last week. I remember a couple of years ago I must have averaged 22mph possibly even higher for the 2nd half of Cragg Vale which would have given me a super fast time but I must have had a massive tail wind and perfect conditions. I actually stood up all the way and ran out of gearing on a 53-12/11? Shame I have no time for it as I didn't have a Garmin then. On waking at 6.30 it was raining, just about stopping and super humid and very cold! About 2-3 degrees. I put Scottie back into hibernation and got my commuter bike ready. Why Jamis? I have, after 3 years of trying, totally perfected my position. Focus bike is new and adjustments still need to be made but not on a ride like this. Took with me 2 gels and 750ml of diet Ribena. Just a cuppa tea was downed before setting off, no food. Wasn't too sure of the distance I wanted to do but it is easily adjustable on how I feel just as long as I get my main objectives in there.
On setting off I was really pee'd off. The air was thick, cold and humid the worst possible combination. My speeds were well down on what I expected but my legs were strong so I decided to take it easy for a while and bide my time as I knew the sun was coming out later in the morning. 
Even if I wanted to go faster I just couldn't, was it the cold? the air?humidity? My heart rate hovered around 120 which is quite low. My first task was Burnley Rd from Bacup to Burnley and is a Strava segment. I wasn't breaking any records today due to the head cross wind and solid cold air but I still made it up in a good time, keeping fresh. I was planning that crack at the time up Cragg Vale at some point but since it was still cold (but sunny) I diverted my ride to continue to Halifax to give the air and my legs a chance to warm up.

At the foot of Cragg the temperature had now risen from about 2 degrees to about 5 degrees which wasn't ideal, in fact I wasn't expecting much, but I couldn't be bothered waiting any longer. I thought the Strava segment started further up the climb so didn't get going straight away, probably took me 3 or 4 mins which was my warmup time as I was still cold. I should have hit it from the turning point. *TimeTrialMode* ON.  I treated it like a proper TimeTrial and went in 'the Zone' when you block all pain sensations and just go all out for as long as possible. My cadence was really high around 90-100, surprisingly as I tend to churn a big gear up hills but I have no idea what gear I was in. The lower half is the steepest and struggled with the changes in gradient. I like a nice even pace when sitting down. I had to ease off a little on the really steep little section as my heart rate and breathing got a bit out of hand but it didn't take long me me to settle into my rhythm again as the gradient levelled out again. The second half is not steep at all. I tried standing up like I have done in the past and flew up at 20-26mph but I didn't have that tail wind or good air to float up and it felt like I was slowing down. I was content with 18-20mph. I really don't know how or what kep me going but it isn't easy going flat out for 20mins. It felt easier to put the power down than any flat TimeTrials I have done (not many) though. I reached the summit quite content that I had given it my best shot despite the conditions. At least there wasn't a roaring head wind like last week. 

 Going back down Cragg would give my the recovery time required to get a few more miles in. I had just done 45miles and was hoping for at least another 20-30. Wan't expecting them to be fast miles but under the belt they would be.  The air was starting to warm up suddenly, the humidity lowering massively and the difference was amazing. It was easier to keep a more controlled but higher heart rate but my attainable speeds were 15-20% higher with very little effort. The temperature hit about 11-12 degrees in no time. If only I could have waited another hour or so for climbing Cragg! Having no breakfast, just 2 gels and 700ml of water I thought I wasn't going to last any longer but I felt GREAT! I could have just carried on and on but had to get back to see the missus. This could have been due to the low heart rate at the beginning only using my fat stores and having trained to adapt to be more aerobically efficient.I have never done 'base miles' before and all my training has been experimental, I find it difficult to trust other people until I have experienced it myself,  but there seems to be something in training at a low HR for long distances as previously I thought they were wasted miles.

 90 miles completed on Jamis the commuter in good time, ~5000ft ascent, ride time 4hrs 45min. Quite iimpressive.

So what of CRAGG VALE? 5.4miles of climbing, averaging 3.4% with 1000ft of ascent. Out of 72 riders on Strava I placed second with a time of 19mins 53 and average speed of 16.2mph.

 So that completes this week with 340miles done! My weight is slowing dropping off and am now 67kgs. Just contemplating whether I need a rest or not even though I think I could go on forever. Just when I think I'm fading I go and pull one out of the bag ( The day after- Monday my legs are still feeling awesome)

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