These days I get asked how I’m feeling a moderate amount, most likely because some folks know about my health challenges I faced earlier in the year. I’m actually feeling quite well physically as well as most “other” ways, but this is about my current physical status.
The way I’m judging my physical status is basically two ways. The first is just how I’m thinking about my physical status. Are things working OK? Do I have adequate energy? Sleeping well? How am I feeling compared to a prior timeframe like last year or the year before or some other timeframe when I thought things were really, really good. Basically it’s just some sort of overall internal evaluation of how I think I’m doing and generally the answer is “good’.
The other primary way is by my cycling capabilities some of which is how I feel about the various rides and the other measure is the analysis provided by the various bits of technology that I use while riding like a heart rate monitor and a power meter.
Today, I had an experience with both on my ride.
While doing the ride I noticed that I was able to hold 225-250 watts with a moderate amount of effort. Only a very short time ago this was not possible. Granted, I’ve been riding more frequently to improve my fitness, and it seems to be paying off. While riding I was thinking this was the kind of pace I could hold a couple of years ago while cycling around the Kenora area on the Bypass loop. Feels good to be getting back into better shape. Hopefully, in the summer of 2019 I won’t be hanging on for dear life to the back of the pack on group rides and back into taking my full turns pulling on the front like the “old” days. This internal personal assessment was backed up by the Strava stats. This was one of my better rides in quite some time.
Over the Christmas holidays I said goodbye to TrainerRoad and hello to Zwift. TrainerRoad is awesome and I enjoyed pairing it with The Sufferfest videos, but Zwift with it’s interactive and social riding, workout plans similar to TrainerRoad, and integration with my Wahoo Kickr takes indoor riding out of the Pain Cave of solitude into a shared suffering experience of the most engaging kind.
The first few rides were a learning experience as I got used to the controls, routes, graphics and the immersive experience. I’d been used to the TrainRoad training plans, so it seemed natural to latch onto the Zwift Workouts. Even an interval workout is fun when you’re watching other riders around you and watching the ride chatter as people text & ride at the same time.
It’s surprising how engaging the ride experience is. If I’m just casually riding along and someone passes me, the competitive nature kicks in and the next thing I know I’m accelerating hard to see if I can catch a wheel or blow by the other rider.
Today was the 1st attempt at a group ride. I selected the Saturday Sit-in group as it fit my schedule and seemed like a group I might be able to hang with. I “arrive” at the start/finish line to join the group about 10 minutes before the start. Actually, I go by the start/finish a bit and try to turn around and back up a bit (down arrow for a U turn) but it’s not working for me. I switch my view to the ride leader so I can watch for the start and I’m tracking the text messaging countdown.
The ride starts and I start peddling but my display is still locked on the ride leader and he goes by me and now I’m a little lost and confused as to where I am in the group. I can’t get the display to show my avatar (figured this out post-ride) so I opt for restarting the Zwift app and now I’m back and the group is nowhere in sight. With virtually know warmup I’m now hammering to try and chase back, scanning the rider list looking for other SSI riders. After a lap of hard riding and noting from the test messages how far ahead the ride leader is I realize that while I’m gaining a bit, I’m never going to catch up. I slow up a bit but still have some delusions of joining up and sprint away from time to time. Here I am sloughing up a grade on the 2nd lap somewhere trying to catch those guys in the distance.
Not the best 1st experience, but I’ll get the hand of it yet and I’ll probably look for another group ride later in the week.
And of course, Strava says…