About a week ago, I mentioned that it was “really cool to see myself develop”. I wanted to expand on that a little.
There are a few ways I can see myself developing:
- Heart Rate and RPE for a certain speed – This is the most unreliable metric for development. Essentially, and this is what I was referring to in the Strava title, if I’m going faster while maintaining a lower heart rate and not feeling as much physical exertion (RPE = Rating of Perceived Exertion), presumably I’m getting stronger. Last Friday, I was holding 19 mph at 120bpm without much exertion (12/20, moderate exertion). I know it’s not due to wind b/c I was able to ride at that speed southbound and northbound. Last year, I wasn’t able to get on my bike without going above 145bpm. A 19mph effort would have made my heart beat at about 170 bpm. Like I said, however, this is unreliable. Maybe my perception of wind was wrong. I’ve upgraded my equipment since last year significantly. My position on the bike is different as well. For more, see the arguments for power meter reliability.
- Group Ride Comfort/Success – Again, not super reliable. As was pointed out by a friend from the team, you never know when others are trying super hard or holding back a little. However, I’m definitely more capable of riding with fast rides. For me, that’s Wed/Fri/Sat, if I go. Last year, I was just hanging on over the hills on the Wed/Fri route (Usually 178+). This year, even in the springtime, fast rides have only gotten up to 165bpm while sitting in the bunch and pulling through as normal (i.e. no attacking).
- Seeing Parallels and Advancing – Last year, I rode our Saturday “B” ride and was an animator in that. One of my goals that I looked forward to was riding the “A” ride, which is significantly faster. Now, I’m an animator in the “A” ride. There are two rides in the area that I want to do: the Waterfall Glen Wed Night ride and the Cafe Ride out of St. Charles. Those are supposed to be really fast and I’ll hopefully see the same development that I’ve seen in Tower’s Saturday rides.
One thing I hope I don’t get sucked into is the “OK Plateau.” I’m by no means dominating any of the rides I go on, but I’m definitely sticking in each one, including all of my races this year (except the Memorial Day Races). The “OK Plateau” is a phenomenon where people don’t improve although they continue to practice/train. I’ve read up on it and found strategies to combat this, so hopefully I’ll be all right.
Here’s to growth, for you and me.