Looking for a bit of advice / help with respect to riding in fast groups, after a couple of recent bad experiences I’m trying to understand where I’m going wrong.
The group I sometimes ride with like to go quick, last ride was 60 miles at around 21.5-22mph average including 3000ft climbing.
The first ride I did with them was back in December and I completely blew up after 2hrs hard riding, then this last weekend it happened again after 2hrs 40mins, I did however have to add miles to join them and get home, so my ride was 100miles/5000ft/235w NP and 19.6mph. The final 30 miles though were terrible, barely able to put out any power and literally turning the pedals to get home.
What I’m finding is that I don’t seem to recover enough after my turns on the front, so my HR is staying high as we ride in the pack at high speed on the flat, for me this means touching 180bpm (Z5) while on the front but staying in the high 160s to 170s in the pack (z3+4).
A bit of history, I started riding in 2017 so this is my fifth year, I started interval training in October 2018 and have seen my FTP rise from 260w to 320w in that time, and my weight drop from 86 to 80kgs. Most recent ftp was 313w at 80kg so I’m hovering near to the 4 W/kg Mark.
I ride a lightweight non aero frame with carbon wheels (35mm) and Corsa G2.0 tyres, happy with bike fit and position in general. It has 170mm compact cranks with a power meter.
Training wise I seem to be able to handle Vo2 Max workouts better than others, whereas the longer Sweetspot / threshold workouts ultimately over time leave me dreading them somewhat! My power profile on intervals.icu describes me as a “Puncheur”.
What I’ve noticed over 4.5yrs of cycling is that these flat fast rides have always affected me, back in 2017 I could ride quick but perhaps only for 20-30 miles, and as you ride with faster and faster people the bar keeps raising up. My most recent ride described above was a huge success for me in terms of numbers but being dropped twice and crawling home left me feeling very dejected.
I’ve had two cycling physiology tests, one in 2018 and one last year, they gave me some benchmarks of HR data at 42yrs old:
Z3 160- 166bpm
I eat a high carb vegan diet and have been trying to reduce the amount of supplements I use, such as gels and drink mixes, after having some digestive problems that seem to be linked to excess sugar, I tend to fuel now using dates, bananas and a weaker carb mix drink, I find on long endurance rides I’m fine with this, but I wonder if I need to adapt more for the really intense rides? If so any tips on getting more fuel in that’s kind on the digestion?
Other things to mention I work 12hr shifts, so get my days off in blocks, and I have a testosterone deficiency which leaves me needing booster injections every 3 months, I’ve never been able to find out just how much this might be affecting my performance on the bike.
I would really appreciate any advice on this, I guess I don’t want to get dropped so much! Certainly willing to put the work in, not following a plan at present, just enjoying riding a varied mix of endurance outdoor and some Rattlesnake / recovery workouts indoors.