How much adaptation is lost by swapping 2 hour SS rides with 3 hours of endurance? SSB2

So, my two main goal events this season are vastly different in length. One is an 11 mile hillclimb (Whiteface) the other is a double century with 13,000 ft of elevation gain (the 100/200 in Vermont). Both are essentially steady state efforts, so I’m working through SSB > Sustained Power Build > Century Plan. I’m just starting SSB Mid 2, but think I should add some longer rides to help prepare for the double. I do also very much enjoy long Rando type rides in the summer, so want to keep endurance up for that. Looking at SSB 2 it seems I should keep the Saturday over/under rides, and add longer endurance rides on Sunday. What I’m wondering is how much potential power/muscle endurance gains I may be sacrificing by swapping out rides like Hunter (3X20 at 88%-92% 123 TSS) for rides like say Big Mountain (3 hours of 65%-75% 141 TSS)

Just checking, are you looking at the “Weekly Tips” from the plan?
They feature recommended substitutions for the Sunday ride, that are very much like what you are describing.

Example from Week 1:


The rides listed in the weekly tips still fall below the 3 hour sort of lengths I was contemplating. They also seem to be chosen to keep TSS roughly the same as the originally scheduled workouts, which makes sense, but I’m okay with a bit of a TSS bump, as my happy place sort of falls between mid and high volume based on past experience. I guess my question though is really more about if the increased time in the saddle at endurance intensity will pay bigger benefits to me than the shorter interval sessions would, given my event preferences, or if I’m really just better off sticking with more sweet spot work, and having faith in the idea that working at a lower percentage of an increased FTP will just let those longer rides happen.

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There are definitely good adaptations that can come from the longer length endurance rides. Generally speaking, riding 2 or more hours opens the window to adaptations that are new and unique when compared to the higher intensity workouts under 2 hours.

We discussed this at length in the Polarized Training threads (3 total). There is true value in the “long and slow” ride if you can fit it into your schedule. Others can summarize better than I can, but you can skim those threads to see some of the related discussion (I can provide links, or you can search on the “polarized” tag).

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Great, thanks, I’ll take a look at those threads.

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