Riding A Bike As Fast As You Drive Is Hard…

So, with gas prices being what they are, I set out to see if I can actually achieve reasonable commuting speeds on my bicycle. And by reasonable, I mean ~30mph. The goal was not actually to hit commuting speeds, but to go out and do some Zone5, otherwise known as VO2Max, otherwise known as EXTREMELY hard, otherwise known as Lactic Acid Pain Cave, intervals. The premise is basically simple, ride about as hard as you can for the prescribed amount of time. If you are not dead or passed out at the end, rest some and repeat. This was the first stint in Z5 in since last year, and it was a bit of a benchmarking workout. It started out okay, doing a couple one minuters in Z5 to get the lactic acid pumps turned on.

The main set was then supposed to be a handful, and by handful I mean five, of five-minute sessions with a rather stingy five-minutes of rest between. When we did this workout in rowing under the guise of 5 x 1500m, we usually got 8-12 minutes. Anyway, I did the first one. And it was hard. It was really hard. Like life-flash-before-your-eyes-and-hope-that-you-die hard. But it was pretty good. Net speed was just over 29mph. So if I ever need to commute ~2 miles, I can do it just as fast on my bike as on a car in town. But I wouldn’t want to. Gas would have to hit about $100/gallon before I would even consider it…

Besides realizing that I cannot trade in my car and strictly commute on my QR, it was also clear that Zone5 from last summer is not the same as Zone5 now. But I took my five minutes and then began number two. Number two did not last so long as number one, despite supposedly being five minutes. Five minutes was actually only two minutes, because then my legs seized. So I decided maybe five minutes of rest was not enough. So I took some more rest. Then I began number two, which was a bit slower and less powerful than number one, but still okay. Except for the intense pain and little bit of becoming reacquainted with my lunch. So, having seen that five minutes was not enough rest, I took a full ten minutes, and prepared myself for number three (or number four if you count the failed attempt at number two). But it was not meant to be. I wished mightily for it to be. And my legs wished mightily that I would find something else to do with my life. And then they went on strike. And so endeth the workout…

At the end of the day, I had some good time in Z5. I learned a valuable lesson about how nice it is to have over one-hundred horsepower accessible by pushing a pedal very lightly, rather than trying to come up with about half of one horsepower by pushing two pedals very strongly. The logical extension of that lesson, though? Nobody has a five minute commute, so let’s ride some more Zone5…

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