Those who know me and maybe follow me on Strava know I have a smart-trainer and use it a fair bit. My Strava feed is littered with various mountain climbs from the continent. I’ve done a lot of famous ones (some for real, some only virtually) like Alpe d’Huez, Col du Galibier, Col d’Izoard, Monte Zoncolan etc. One or two like the Alpe, for example, I use as a guage of fitness. Its a good test. About an hours climb and the gradient is steady. Although it does vary, it doesn’t chop n change too often during the climb, only levelling off a fraction on the bends which allows me to tap out a steady wattage based on how good I feel. I then use my average to compare and see how I am going. Not very scientific but a reasonable indicator for my personal benefit.
Now before Xmas, after a good block of commuting to work, I saw an improvement. All summer my average for an hour was about 260(ish) watts and then I started popping out 275w+. Initially I thought I was just overcooking the start of my rides but my breathing was ok and I was able to just hang on. These were the biggest figures I’ve ever put out on my turbo since I got it. Great news!
Then I got ill….
I got a sniffle which became a cold so I had to take a week or so off, then Xmas week came and a week became 10 days. I went out for an hour on Boxing Day and I was pleasantly surprised how well I went considering the time off and the volume of food and drink I had consumed over Xmas. I sharpened up on the turbo for a few days consecutively the following week before I resumed my commutes in the New Year.
I got two rides in then got ill again. This time particularly bad. Proper flu-like, uncontrollably shivering, felt awful. I dragged my ass to work for the week and booked a docs appointment. The flu-like symptoms had eased but I retained a really bad hacking cough and it felt like a chest infection. The doc told me no antibiotics and I could expect to have it for 3 -5 weeks. I was a gutted I’d lose all that fitness but I had to heed what the doc said. I was off the bike solid for 3 and a half weeks. So I’d managed a weeks riding in about 5 or 6. Fitness was gone and The Mad March Hare Sportive was in 6 weeks. Emergency training needed!
I made sure I was over the virus and cough. I started with a very steady 30 mins on the turbo. I could feel my chest but no cough so all good, so I began to ride it. I needed at least a week or two to get fit enough just to cope with my commute. So for the past two weeks I’ve been on the turbo, when I can, gradually pushing up the watts. My first hour long session I struggled with 180 watts. My joints ached and my calves were seriously complaining. Two weeks later and a test last night on Les 2 Alpes, I banged out 250w for 35 mins which is a BIG improvement (15 watts in 4 days) and confirmed I was fit enough to resume my commutes. So today, 6.30am I rode into work.
4 weeks to go until the MMH, I think I might just scrape round if I keep at it