I am still sore today from Thursday's 5-min iso workout. I wondered if it would ever get any easier: yes, it might, because your muscles get used to being worked so hard, you become OK with how hard it is, and you realize that you CAN do it; not, it shouldn't, because then you figure out how to push even harder. Oh, this will be a fun off season.
Even though I was still sore, I decided to go out and ride with the Tristar/Juris team. I race for Harpeth, but sometimes it's fun to ride with other teams, just to see what their dynamics are. Harpeth is pretty easy-going, we never leave on time, few people show up, and the ride often turn into more interval training than endurance or smooth rides, because it seems like most people are out there to sprint rather than ride endurance. At least this morning (I've never ridden with them before, so I don't have anything to compare this to), Tristar rode a fairly even-paced ride. There were a dozen of us, and for the first hour we rode in a double and single pace line at a very steady pace (but very fast). That was a lot of fun, and I was able to hang with the guys the whole time. I did get a push up a couple hills; that was the best feeling ever! I asked the guy if he wanted to race my tris with me and push me then, too, but he just laughed at me.
I turned around an hour in because I didn't need to ride all that far. Lisa told me later that they ended up going 80+ miles and didn't finish until just before noon! Yikes--I definitely need that long of a ride. My legs didn't want to work hard, but I still managed to average 20mph for my 40-mile ride. Woohoo!
Again, I was getting frustrated with my bike's deciding to shift gears randomly, like when we were climbing and I was in the middle of a pace line, so I stopped at my uncle's house to have him check out my bike. He just made a quick adjustment to the rear derailleur and then showed me how it worked. We were just adjusting it on the bike stand, so I'll have to take it out tomorrow to make sure it's in proper working order. I also asked him a quick question about heart rate, since that's been on my mind a lot lately. For the entire 2 hours/40 miles, I managed to average 90bpm. About 2 miles in, my HR went up to around 134 for a minute, and it went up again at mile 11, but after that, it refused to go up. Even when we were climbing. And I was working hard the whole time. I mean hard. I really wanted to keep up with them. Aerobically, I could have continued at that level forever. Halfway through, I increased my cadence to try to get up to at least over 100 but to no avail. So I asked my uncle his opinion, and he said he'd be thrilled with that! That made me feel good, at least. I think I just needed a little affirmation.
He did encourage me to do the following workout to see what my max HR really is: on a stationary bike, do a 40-min warmup; over the next 5-6 minutes, keep a cadence of 90-95 rpm and gradually increase the resistance until you just can't go any more (and get the resistance up high while keeping the cadence); at the end of the 5-6 minutes, check your HR, and that should be about your max. I will definitely have to try that, because I'd be interested to see how high I can get it (I'm guessing somewhere around 200 is about my max).
Then I'll have to go out and do some interval training, where I'd get to max HR/speed for 1 minute, off for 3, on for 1, off for 3, and keep repeating, maybe 10-15 times. That would be really good, because training at high HR makes you work hard and gets your body used to it, even when you're an endurance athlete. You never know what you're going to encounter in a race (like you might have to outsprint someone at the line).
I'm guessing that's partly where Will's trying to take me. I'll focus even more on getting my HR up, maybe by doing even more of a warmup or by at least starting with a higher HR than resting. I really hope this will all translate into a successful season next year, but definitely within the next 2 years while I work up to being a real endurance athlete.