Ideal outdoor zone distribution for 2h endurance ride

No disagreement from me. Pre-ride, selecting a hilly route is rarely the right choice for a Z2 ride for he reasons stated. Post-ride in this case, where power zone discipline was maintained, the elevation is a non-factor.

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Yep, it just makes it much harder to execute on hilly routes - not impossible, but my point is most people don’t have the w/kg and/or the gearing for hilly routes, even if you ignored the discipline required.



10,000 feet of climbing from 3582’ above sea level to 8356 feet elevation. 100 mile out and back. Before getting a power meter.

Heart rate is color coded and my custom zones. Visually you can see on the climbs I was riding right around the border of my z2/z3 heart rate.

Cadence evenly distributed from 50-75rpm, and then falls off either side.

2 months prior was a 100 mile 8255’ climbing ride:

That was a little “hot” so 1 month later I backed off on another 100 mile / 8322’ climbing ride:

and that was a little too conservative. Trek Domane with subcompact gearing and I think (2016) it was 34-32 climbing gear.

Those were all group rides, I was mostly with a small group of 5 or 6 guys and we let the rabbits run by riding “in it to finish it” pace.

After those 3 rides, my big event ride was 2 weeks after that first one I posted.

Perfectly paced climbs over 15,000 feet of mountains and 117 miles.

All 4 of those were endurance rides.

The mean cadence of those rides seems to be in the mid-60s to low-70s and you spent very little time above 80 rpm. That’d be too low for my taste, it’d make the ride quite unenjoyable.

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Funtastic rides, the opposite of unenjoyable, those were truly epic!

Bonus in two parts: a) ftp fitness bumps, and b) big gains at pushing hard well above threshold. Cadence divas don’t know what they are missing!

I think the main debate I’ve heard in podcasts, assuming a lid on power and coasting, is between: do not drop below zone 2 or keep it chilled…zone 1 is also fine as adaptations from volume are not intensity based (within reason of course as if you’re barely moving that won’t do much).

To be honest I see merits in both and have tried them. Recently I’ve been leaning in the zone 1 is fine camp but I do wonder if I’m leaving something on the table at 10-12 hours per week.

How about if you just add 10 to all the numbers? That’d be fine for me. It’s the range available to you that matters more than the absolute numbers, no?

I don’t think it has anything to do with being a cadence diva, just personal preference what is enjoyable.

For many hilly outdoor rides my average cadence is in the low 80s to low 90s. The hillier it is, the lower the average.

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