The struggle has started. AKA the hashtag comeback. Did you ever see those Nike ads with Lance Armstrong? The ones where he returned after cancer. Riding on an indoor trainer. I’m going to do that. I already am. No, I’m not saying my crash and resulting injury was as bad as cancer. Don’t be ridiculous. But I was off the bike for 2 months. I now have a chance to have a massive comeback. I won’t take any performance enhancing drugs either. That was the 90s, man. This is the, teens, clean sport is all the rage these days.
I think my time off the bike, forced time off as I wasn’t happy about it, has definitely given me extra drive to get back. That and my friends now being way better than me. So, I’m well up for a bit of a hashtag comeback. A story of survival and redemption. No, redemption isn’t the right word… Regardless, I reckon I’ll take some footage of me riding at 170w with a heart rate exceeding 180. For the non-cyclists reading, that’s pretty shit fitness levels compared to where I was. And I'll make a mad montage with rocky 3 music or something, with a finale of my climbing up a big hill. Or maybe taking a corner without crashing into the floor.
I’m ready to build my watts back up. A watt is measurement of power that only the most awesome cyclists use. Every scientific thing can be put into either a pyramid, matrix or a Venn diagram. Endurance training is a pyramid. I know facts and that’s probably one. So I have to do my base training. I’m the Egyptians building their pyramids. Cairo wasn't built in a day. It'll take time, but it is good right now because I probably shouldn’t push it too hard anyway. I feel good, but I’m not invincible. We found that out a couple of months ago. Can you believe it’s been over two months? You probably can because you haven’t been living with it daily. Off topic a bit. Back to the pyramids. Or training. Base training to be precise. I'm about to drop a knowledge bomb, so pay attention. The base is important for 3 reasons.
You need to make some physiological changes. Teaching your body to use fat as fuel. Carbs are great and your body can use them for energy really easily, but they also create lactic acid as a by-product. Fat is better because there is no by-product, but your body ain't the best at breaking it down. If you can train your body to break down fats better and more efficiently, you’ll be able to last longer. You also need to increase the capillary density of your muscles. This can’t be done if you go hard, because capillaries are small and will get damaged if you pump blood too hard. So you need to let them grow and adapt by going, not slow, but in between slow and smash. Create enough stress that adaptations are required, but not enough stress that they blow up. Let them grow and you’ll be able to deliver more oxygen-rich blood to the muscles and allow the removal of carbon dioxide better.
Build the foundation of your pyramid. You can’t build a house without a foundation. Yeah, time for a new metaphor. Well, you can, but it’ll probably be a pretty rubbish house. I mean, imagine having a house with no ground floor. Just all bedrooms and toilets. No, you need to build the base to allow for a stunning house to be built on top. It's the same with bike riding. You can only get so good without a base,. Without a base you’re really going to be held back from mad improvements. So, training in zone 2 is important to build a good level of fitness, with those physiological changes above, to build on top of. Then you can smash to build your functional threshold power levels up.
Pros do it. In winter they ride slow a lot. In fact they ride slow only, making sure they build up this base. I've read a pro's biography and he basically told me that. Amateurs don’t often bother. We like to smash because we think if we smash it all the time we'll get faster. Partly because we don’t ride 200km+ and then have to try and break away or win a sprint. Granted. But it’s still important to be able to ride 60-80km and have a stab. That one wasn’t very sciency was it.
So that’s my life now. I’m going to do a month of zone 2 training and see what happens. Recording bits for my montague. I bet you can't wait for that. Fan. You know who you are. My first goal is to be able to ride in zone 2—the “all day pace” they call it—with no lactic acid build up and so no tiring of the muscles. I’ve tried it once so far, and it ain’t easy yet, so my body is clearly using carbs for energy. Bad body. Use up those fats. Burning fats also helps you lose weight. I’m currently 67kg and I need to drop at least 12kg if I want to become a Tour de France rider…
Oh yeah this post was meant to be about building watts, so I’ll do that too. I mean, I tricked you. This post was really about boring base training.