How slow can you go?

by Arlyn on June 27, 2009

I just got passed by a guy wearing shorts and a t-shirt riding a steel bike with sandals. Doh. I’m climbing Torrey Pines, one of my favorite hills in all of San Diego. Looking at my Garmin, I see I’m generating 272 watts – time to slow down again. I push my smallest gear over as slowly as I possibly can. My power output dips to 235 watts and I wonder what it would feel like to be passed by a chipmunk.

I used to think I understood what a “recovery ride” was. It meant you go out and have fun without hammering any hills or sprinting for town signs. Just keep the pace fun. Then I started working with Coach Colin who was much more exact about it – go out and ride, generating between 160w and 260w watts. Don’t go over 260w and average near the middle. Yikes, it doesn’t take very much for me to generate 260w.

The theory behind the numbers is that you want to be rested and fresh so you can give 100% to key workouts. If you aren’t able to go the limit, you’re can’t grow stronger. And it turns out that riding just a little bit is much better than just sitting around. And that’s how you get this balance of riding, but going very slowly.

That’s also how I arrive at my favorite hill in San Diego and get passed by the surfer on his steel bike. By the way, I did eventually catch and drop the running guy, although it was close.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

tamiko August 14, 2009 at 8:13 am

Interesting…and hilarious!

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