Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Ride on the Road with the HRM: Climbing Intervals

Another day, another lesson learned with the new HRM. Today I took it out on the road on the bike for the first time. My goal was to do two sets climbing intervals with some road miles before, between, and after sets.

I warmed up with a five mile ride to Berry Rd, where my plan was to climb Berry Hill four times. That climb is relatively short at about 400 meters,  but one of the steeper grades around. We aren't known for steep climbs in Mid-Michigan, mind you, so this is just about the best we've got close by. After those four, I rode another 10 miles or so to end up at Germany Rd, a longer but more gradual climb that starts at the Lansing Rifle Club entrance and heads East. That's about 1000 or 1100 meters, but I'm able to push a big gear the whole time because it is fairly gradual. I did four of those as well, then headed home the long way through Williamston.

Going in, I was trying to keep my road miles toward the low end of my tempo zone, between 150-160 bpm. I wasn't sure where I'd be on the climbs, but I was trying not to go into the red and instead work just to the edge of my lactate threshold ( ~180 bpm). Here's how it went:

Total time: 1:39
Avg HR: 150 bpm
Max HR: 183 bpm

Berry Hill Intervals
1. 181 bpm
2. 183 bpm (out of the saddle)
3. 179 bpm
4. 181 bpm

Germany Rd. Intervals
1. 177 bpm
2. 177 bpm
3. 178 bpm
4. 177 bpm

What did I learn? It is much, much easier for me to control my effort on the bike vs. running. When I back off just a little, I can easily stay in my target zone. On the steeper climb, I saw the highest HR reading climbing out of the saddle the whole time. I am not sure, though, that this produces more speed except for a short attack. So that's good to know. I also noticed that on the more gradual climb it was easy to settle into a rhythm near the top of my LT range and hold that without getting into difficulty. I recovered very quickly too once the road flattened out. I could pretty easily get back to 145 bpm after the climbs without sacrificing too much speed, just spinning a higher cadence.

Yes, I'm geeking out a little bit with the new toy and the new data. But it was good today knowing that I can hit my HR target zones for both WI and RI portions of a workout.

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