First, I have to provide a bit of background…
I’m a pretty big dude, at least for a cyclist. I’m about 6’2" and 240 lbs, about to turn 42. Although I’m only slightly better than a beginner, I love cycling and now have a fair amount of time on my hands, so I’ve gotten serious about training. I joined TrainerRoad and absolutely love the workouts. I’m currently working through the mid-volume version of Sweet Spot Base 1.
What I really enjoy most about cycling is long rides – seeing just how far I can go. I’ve done a couple rides that were between 40-50 miles (admittedly fairly flat) and though I’m slow, overall I felt fine doing them. I’ve now signed up for a couple metric centuries, a true (imperial) century, and I’m even considering a randonneur brevet of 200km.
I have some time to train for the first of these events, and I feel myself getting stronger every day, so I’m not that worried about my fitness when the first event rolls around. I AM worried about my ability to bear the pain of sitting in the saddle that long. This is partly a physical issue. I haven’t found a saddle I love, and have another bike fitting session coming up to try out some different saddles. There is also just the reality of 240 lbs. sitting on a couple of very small surfaces. But I suspect there is also a mental element to it, too. On long rides I reach a point where my arse hurts so much that I just can’t imagine sitting in the saddle for twice or even 3x as long. I can barely even finish my 40-50 mile rides. And during my current 1.5 hour workouts within TrainerRoad, I have to pause the workout and hop off the bike for 60 seconds here and there in order to be able to keep going.
The mid-volume version of Sweet Spot Base 1 includes 2 rest days (Monday and Friday). I was thinking about switching to the high-volume version, but after looking at it, I suspect that would be too much for me, and I would rather ensure that I complete all of my scheduled training sessions, than over-estimate what I can do and wind up bailing on workouts or skipping them.
But I would like to find a way to start building up the physical (meaning: my @$$, not my fitness) and mental endurance required for a century (or longer) ride. In another thread, I was advised that it should be OK to do a steady, low-intensity ride (~45% of FTP) during my rest days.
Any thoughts on the value (if any) of gradually adding longer and longer low-intensity rides during one or more of my rest days? What if I start out with a 2-hour ride at 45% of FTP and add 15 minutes to the length of the ride each rest day? Or is that (a) not helpful in terms of getting my ample derriere to adjust, and/or (b) too long a workout for my rest days, such that it is likely to negatively impact my proper workouts?
Many thanks in advance for your advice,
P.S. I should add that I obviously plan on doing Sweet Spot Base II, Sustained Power Build, and as much of the Century Speciality phase as I can. Those workouts should take care of my fitness. I’m trying to work on my ability to just sit in the saddle and hack it for 5-10 hours.