Better Pw:HR second half vs first half of ride (it’s like the legs just woke up)

This is more of a story or curiosity thread than an asking for advice thread. Has anyone else had a similar experience to this one? At the start of todays ride I felt some slightly heavy legs. As I stated the ride on the hottest day of the year almost, everything pointed towards being fatigued. My Pw:HR was atrocious as was my performance condition on my Edge head unit. I was seeing -9 on my Garmin performance condition. I just couldn’t put the power out in an aerobic zone like I was normally able to. Kept my usual fuel strategy of 50-60 ish g of carbs an hour then all of a sudden…about an hour and a half into the ride it’s like the legs just woke up. I was feeling like I could rip the pedals off the bike. My Garmin performance condition went from -9 the first hour to +4 by the time I finished the 3 hour ride. And this was with even hotter temps and heat stress by the end of the ride. I don’t know what to take away from this experience. Perhaps the first half of a ride isn’t a gauge for how the second half might go? Maybe I was glycogen deficient until I absorbed the Skratch Super High carb mix I use? Either way I’m not complaining that’s for sure. I’m just so confused how a ride that by all accounts was feeling like it was gonna be absolute garbage turned out to be a power record breaker ride for me. Anyone else can relate?



1 Like

If you were low on glycogen when you started, you only got lower as you rode, no matter how much carbohydrate you ingested. Even at rest, the rate of glycogen synthesis is rather low; during exercise it is several orders of magnitude slower than the rate of glycogen utilization.

Physiology aside, the Stetina brothers used to have a rule: no matter how crappy you feel, always start your planned ride. If you still feel crappy after an adequate warm-up, pack it in for the day. However, if you feel better, carry on as planned.

Whether you buy into this action plan or not, this anecdote points out one thing: feeling better after riding for a while isn’t unusual.


Happens to me on the trainer all the time. First interval I feel like “this is going to suck” or even “no way I can finish this workout” and then a few intervals later (or even an hour later, for Z2 stuff) things just get easier.

Not uncommon at all, even Keegan Swenson mentioned it on a podcast a while back I believe. Inigo San Milan (ooo controversial zone 2 talk) mentions that it takes a while before you “rev up” the aerobic system and start to utilise the preferred sub-straits of fuel etc during low intensity riding.

Anecdotally, I absolutely know the feeling you’re speaking of. I rarely feel bad on any of my rides nowadays, but I have an annoying tendency to feel exceptionally, cocaine-level good at right about the 5 hour mark on my long rides. As a result, I extend my long rides and just end up riding way further than planned. Although this isn’t a problem in itself, it has the potential to leave me a bit overly fatigued and sore the following few days…

1 Like