GCN's "How Fit Did I Get Doing Zone 2" results video

File this under “all riding is training”

Basics, sorry if I got something wrong:

  • detrained state, restarted training
  • 33-35 hours over 6 weeks
  • all rides 1 hour or more
  • mostly “zone2”


  • raised low aerobic (top zone2) from 140 to 160W
  • raised ftp
  • raised vo2max

Was pleased to see she used the fact the HR zones don’t change (much) to train to both power and heart rate (https://youtu.be/9qFXEnzItfo?si=SLhSS_eD86XGJiop&t=652). “Free” progressive endurance training.


Might not work for everyone, but it is a compelling story…right up until we want to HAMMER!!!

But a good view into it. Makes me think bike commuting can provide a good benefit given z2 is about as high as one might want to go on the way to work, provided the ride is long enough


You don’t have to do all zone2 :rofl: She did start in an untrained state. Not a lot of riding for tangible #gainz

Posted my longitudinal / long-term results in another thread, re-posting here:

Year Total Hours % easy riding Easy Aerobic Power FTP VO2max “Aerobic Ceiling”
2021 350 hours 80% 170W 265W 4003 ml/min
2022 400 80% 190 270 4146 ml/min
2023 350 87% 200 275 4226 ml/min

During those years I went from late fifties to early sixties, these are the years that your vo2max is suppose to be declining :man_shrugging: and working stiffs like me are jealously seeing retired friends do epic adventures around the world :rofl:


I’d agree! Effective up until a certain point?
There’s also an interesting discussion on specificty in this thread, which applies to this conversation too.

Great point!

SO cool. I want to be like you when I grow up :star_struck:

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For my longitudinal data, I think it helps in Training Years I was only 6-8 years old. Pretty young, plenty of opportunity for consistency to produce compound gains in metabolic and cardio fitness.

So… if you wanna be like me when you grow up, graduate from college, then sit at a desk for ~30 years before you take up cycling :rofl:

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While these sorts of things are fun, they’re of very limited value. It’s pretty obvious to anyone that if you go from not riding to riding ~5 hours a week you’re going to improve.

I think the results are even less useful because she’s coming from being a former pro/successful track racer who is effectively de-trained so going from minimal/zero volume to anything is going to produce rapid gains as she returns to form.

What would happen if she sat on the couch for another year and then did 6 weeks of intervals?

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I’ve got a different point of view on that.

Nobody is going to mistake me for a pro.

Personally I’ve detrained over 4-6 weeks with little to no riding. Using round numbers, my FTP dropped from 250-270 down to 180-200 (leaving out specifics).

Then using only HR zones, did two blocks of easy riding with a few tempo efforts, and some short 8-12 second sprints. That brings me back to within 90% and back into normal training, and after another block I’m back to where I left off. All leveraging the fact that heart rate zones are fairly stable and don’t change.

Thats happened repeatedly since I started road cycling in 2016.

And from top-level numbers, my 2023 nearly matched my best season of 2017. The only differences are I had higher anaerobic capacity in 2017, and I could week-after-week hold ftp for about an hour during spring 2017. Two things I specifically trained in 2017, and did not in 2023. Otherwise the top level numbers are nearly identical.

Not recommended, the growing up part. Always be at least a little child like. Life is more fun that way. :smiley:


Don’t sweat it: thankfully, I am not at risk of acting beyond my years :crazy_face: (mooooost of the time :wink:).


Well, congrats, but that’s you. I seriousely detrainind during the last two years (kids & more kids), and finally started ramping up 2 months ago, mostly Z2. I am still 40w behind my former peak.

730+ days and the stress of kids!

I don’t think I’m getting your point. It sounds like you detrained and then within a similar time period regained most of the lost fitness, which is exactly my criticism of the video.

Yes. Repeatedly lost fitness by taking breaks - usually 2 a year. Shorter breaks saw less decline in fitness.

And over 3 years increased my aerobic ceiling (vo2max), ftp, and low aerobic (“lt1”). Highest ever 1-second power in October 2023 at sixty one. But anaerobic capacity was flat, didn’t train it.

All by riding easy 80% of the time. Fewer intervals than “more structured” plans.

Over the entire 3 years it was about 1100 hours which averaged out to a little over 7 hours/week.

Key here is from a detrained state.

The big questions is… Once you hit that baseline fitness then what?

Detrained state and zone2 are distractions from the key point IMHO. Think back to the old ways, ramping from 10 to 30 hours/week of long steady distance. What did those old pros get? Huge amounts of aerobic power (“aerobic base”) and ability use it for 5 hour rides. Huge amounts of metabolic (leg muscle) fitness and cardiovascular fitness. Then they layered on interval work and racing.

Look, I’m not advocating anyone only ride in zone2.

Came across these on X this morning

need to pick up a copy.


This one put a smile on my face:

because all of my training is aligned to improve those 3 things, along with FTP and Anaerobic Capacity.


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Oh I’m with you. Back in the day (and even these days as a coach) the summer miles you do for the fall XC season gets you 95% there. It’s amazing the fitness you get from just going out there and doing it.

I was just commenting on the “detrained state.” It is a pet peeve of mine dating back to my college days (exercise philology major)… I mean of course you’ll see gains. You’ll see gains if all you did was VO2 as well.

Funny story… I set my PR in the 2 miles when training for a marathon. I didn’t have the top end speed but it felt like I could just run at near my max until the last couple of laps (it then caught up with me) but still had a solid kick.


Problem with all those videos are the people that are doing it. If you go from not riding at all or barely riding to higher volume yeah you will see gains in the beginning and if you were well trained before you probably gain even more back quickly.

But it is clear that a lot of easy riding will bring big benefits, or else high volume wouldn’t be so important for endurance…

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And then GCN drops this so :roll_eyes:

Gotta sweetspot, bro.

Starts with “ONLY zone2”

Yes there are some coaches and influencers suggesting doing only zone2. Could post some links but I think that is ridiculous.