Wouldn’t call it a rest week…

Should you need a “recovery week” after your first block of base miles?  If you’re focusing on Sweet Spot work, then yes — your body needs rest.

Using TrainerRoad’s Sweet Spot Base, Mid Volume 1 as my template, this past week saw me bring the first phase to a close with a “recovery week.” 

Templates are great things because they give you the peace of mind of knowing what you’re getting yourself into without the need to lock anything down. Flexibility is what I’m after as I’m training my way to my first big goal of 2018, knowing that I need to dial some things up and dial some things down. Work has demands, family and friends take their slices, too — so it makes sense to start with a malleable plan. 

TrainerRoad’s Sweet Spot Base, Mid Volume 1 ended for me this week (Week 6) with a “recovery” week of sorts. Here’s what it looked like:  

You’ll see that I only did one of their rides as specified, Wednesday’s true recovery ride, “Taku,” on Wednesday. A 30-minute, .62 FTP ride that only chalks up 19 TSS is genuinely a “spin and chat” kind of affair. 

What you can’t see is what I actually did — TrainerRoad currently doesn’t have a way to log anything other than rides that reflect 1-to-1 efforts against their specific workouts. Instead, you can select “Outdoor Ride” to put a pin in place to say, “Yeah, I really did ride.” 

So, two things
Knowing that my goals involve substantial endurance riding and climbing, I’m ensuring that these remain a part of each week of training. However, rest weeks need to stay comparatively restful.

So, I decided to go —

  • Much longer endurance ride on the weekend
  • Get some climbing work in but nothing that goes beyond .70 of FTP. 

The template stats for the week in TrainerRoad were (just look up to the graphic above on the left side:) 

  • 5:30 hours of riding
  • 240 TSS points
  • All rides in upper end of aerobic endurance range (60ish percent of FTP)

The rides in the template were hour long rides on Tuesday and Thursday, each around 65% of FTP, and 90 minute rides on the weekend days at about the same percentage. 

Here’s what I did, instead:  
I stayed in the .60 – .70 FTP range, but I worked different systems other than just aerobic endurance. 

Tuesday: Nighttime outdoor ride on the Rail Trail Cut short because my old, trusty NiteRider MiNewt X2 battery died. Placed order for a new NiteRider 1100 which arrived Saturday. 

Wednesday: A true easy recovery ride, TrainerRoad's “Taku.”

Thursday: Sufferfest “Power Station” 

Friday: A cool, sunny ride on the nearby rail trail.

Saturday: Sufferfest: “Get to the Other Side” video, connected to the Wahoo KICKR. Slow grinds at 60RPM up several simulated climbs. 90 minutes.  

Sunday: 3-hour Rail Trail ride

Starting Mid Volume 2
This week starts with a new FTP test, which is important. 

Even though I’m tracking all my rides in WKO4 (which models your FTP for you) I still need to test. Why? Because my rides for the last 5 weeks have all been below threshold: lots of sweet spot work, and endurance rides on the weekends. That means my modeled FTP is very low: 209 at last look. 

Take a look at the first week of Mid Volume 2 as recommended by TrainerRoad: I’m already seeing one adjustment I’ll make: the 8-minute FTP test is best, I feel, for crit riders and shorter road races, but I’m focusing on 40ks and a 103 mile slog-fest. 

So, I’m going to stick with a 20-minute FTP test, instead — The Sufferfest's “Rubber Glove.”  

Back to the pattern
I appreciate Coach Chad of TrainerRoad; he’s no-nonsense, has a real method to his madness, and peppers his training with excellent training tips. What I also appreciate is his weekly pacing. 

The last 5 weeks were just about getting back into the swing of things. With Mid Volume 2, we get back into TR’s usual grind: intensity on Tuesday and Thursday, with a harder set of endurance work on Saturday. Wednesday and Sunday, he usually takes it easy on you — but not this Sunday! 

I’ll also be mixing bikes up: I’ll do the Tuesday / Thursday work on my road bike, but Wednesday, and Sunday will see me on my time trial bike. 

There’s no such thing as an “out of the box” training plan. You’ve got to adapt your plan to meet the demands of your big event(s), first, then flex along with your life-needs.

I did ride the TT bike once last week: time to get the body acclimated to the TT position. I’ve also been spending more and more time down in the drops on the road bike, especially on the outdoor rides; focusing on relaxing and ensuring that my pedal strokes are as round as they can be, with as little contribution from my back and shoulders as possible. In other words, whenever I think I’m “pushing,” I immediately try to relax and spread the load out from the hips down. 

Registered and accommodations booked
I’m all signed up for The Assault on Mt. Mitchell. I was the 180th rider to do so. 

I’ve also found a house to shack up in for a few days thanks to AirBNB just outside of Spartansburg. Booyah. This is real. 

I’ve also been making some tweaks to my bar and stem as a result of the longish rides I’ve put in (this past weekend’s 3-hour ride, and a previous week’s 2 1/2 hour Sufferfest Mash-up.)  

For Sale: 
Immaculate 3T Aeronova Stealth Carbon Handlebar 44cm
I’ve decided to sell my gorgeous (but ultimately imperfect for me) road handlebar on my Bowman Palace: R race bike. 

It’s a full carbon, black on black stealth 3T Aeronova. Retails from between $250 – $350 online, depending where you look. But I’m putting it out there for $165. Fabulously well-cared for, barely ridden. Why am I selling? Because although I love the look, the wide flat top, and the smooth, non-kinked, non-ergo drops, the transition from top to hood is a little odd for me. 

Handlebars and saddles are extremely personal things, and I’ve struggled with finding The Perfect Bar for a long, long time. The search continues… My loss is your gain. Hit me up if you want a seriously beautiful and ridiculously light carbon bar. 

Sweat your prayers in the pain cave

Coming Soon:

A brief video tour of the StartConfident Pain Cave

  • My trainer set-up
  • Media equipment and software
  • Creature comforts

Ideas for inspiring your own dedicated indoor training space!

Sam Lowe

I've been a road cyclist with a penchant for speed ever since my first-ever paycheck holiday. I blew the whole wad on a turquoise Schwinn Tempo with then-new Shimano 105 indexed shifting way back in 1985. I've been a voracious consumer of racing-oriented information ever since. Training, nutrition, bike fit, racing techniques, and all manner of "kit." Between nearly 30 years of riding, racing, and reading about racing, I'm ready to help you get ready to race.

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