When you’re out on an endurance ride and you come up to a short hill, say less than 30sec, do you downshift to hold endurance power or do you get out of the saddle to clear the hill quickly and then back it down to endurance pace (a more natural way of riding)?
I know many will say to manage HR over power in situations like this, and that’s probably the right answer, but I’m curious how others deal with this common occurrence during outdoor rides.
This topic interest me, as I’ve wondered that on MTB endurance rides. When you make a couple strong moves to clear features, HR lags and stays in endurance but power spikes. Do the power surges affect the quality of the endurance ride, if yes, how so? Is HR the important factor as OP mentioned?
My philosophy is to avoid power spikes, but outdoors I prefer to pace a little more naturally. So if I have to up the power for 30 seconds to roughly Z4, that’s fine. I’m just gentle with the throttle. Same for (traffic light) starts.
Power surges lead to fatigue, which is something you want to avoid during endurance rides. IMHO route choice is essential for endurance rides. If you cannot resist the temptation to hammer it up climbs (or grind in some places at low power), opt for flatter routes. Don’t go down the gnarly trail, pick the forest road.
Surging in power on every kicker can add up to a significant time in high power zones. This isn’t the optimal endurance ride execution. If an endurance ride really is your target, do your best to execute it correctly.
There is considerable value in properly executing your endurance work. A large portion of it being the carry over into the following training day/days. Learning proper intensity discipline is a skill in itself.
I often remind myself, like Luke Sky Walker attacking the Death Star…
Stay on target.
I also learned that it’s impossible for me to do an endurance ride on my local MTB trails. So, I never attempt it. I make my MTB rides, hard/fun days etc. This obviously depends on your terrain.
The single best piece of advice I’ve ever learnt in terms of endurance rides is get proper low gearing. Most amateur cyclists are dramaitcally over geared. We are not profesional cyclists, we do not have 6w/kg FTPs. Hence, we need far lower gearing. Without it, we are very limited on what terrain we can execute proper endurance rides.
Work out the math. Work out how low you need your gearing to be to maintain endurance power at an ideal cadence. You’ll likely be quite surprised how low it needs to be to deal with actual steep hills. I began my endurance rides on my MTB, as it was the only way I could get low enough gearing.
Your mileage may vary. A lot depends on your terrain and gradients.
Bin the ego on endurance rides, speed, times on segments etc are totally irrelevant. You want nice steady volume. That is your goal.
Get low gears, play some nice tunes, let the squirrels pass you. Patience, patience patience. Play the long game.
Unless your trails are super flat and feature free, MTB just isn’t the best for endurance riding for this very reason. I still try though! I typically stick to gravel roads, but even then it’s super tough.
I would have thought short hard efforts on a endurance ride would be OK provided there aren’t too many of them and you give plenty of time for recovery between them. Brandon McNulty did 5 30 secs efforts on a shortish endurance ride at the weekend. If its good enough for him. Seriously I seem to remember hearing on a podcast that it really doesn’t detract from the endurance element provided they are SHORT.
I’ve listened to a couple of podcasts with Iñigo San Millán and he advocates ending your endurance rides with an effort. He says to go out, do your endurance ride (Z2 (or Z1 in a 3 zone model)), then, if possible, end with a 3-6min climb or effort where you finish with a feeling of having done some work. I don’t remember him elaborating on the science behind this approach, just that this is what he does for his personal training and recommends for his athletes.