Chiming in late, but I am fortunate to have some pretty quiet suburban roads near my home to do Z2 work. I’ve had to specifically work on staying in Z2, which is quite challenging! It’s remarkable how headwinds and small road undulations can get you into SS or higher within moments.
I imagine that like many in the Northern Hemisphere, warmer weather is driving our training outside. I try to do as many TR workouts on the road as possible - however intervals are a challenge, as I live in tremendously flat Ohio, and I struggle to keep steady power on the flats to hit prescribed targets. That’s also a work in progress!
Somebody else said same thing earlier. For me it is other way around: VI for Z3+ is always exactly 1 but for Z2 it varies around 1.03-1.05. What could be the reason? Doesn’t higher power requirement for intervals make it harder to overshoot your target?
Or is it more about dipping below?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but my struggles with higher intensity workouts stem around not being able to hold the power steadily - I both overshoot and undershoot outside the prescribed zones. It’s my own limitation, which I am steadily working to improve so I can do higher intensity work outside. Z2 has a very wide range, so I find it easier to modulate power and remain “in the zone.”
Yes! I’ve actually recently had this talk with my coach, and we focused on torque as a driver for steady power. So, a quite similar talk to this cadence modulation you’ve suggested. My goal is to “settle in” to a steady cadence where the power remains constant and there is sufficient torque to maintain said power.
And that’s what I love about cycling - there’s always something to improve!
Gearing must surely be an issue. I tried a Z2 ride on Sunday. There are hills - nothing major but short stretches of 8% or above. Even with a compact and 11-28 cassette I had to go well above Z2 just to maintain forward momentum.
Are people using lower gearing for these Z2 outside rides?
Ability to ride a low speeds with balance & control (specifically on inclines)
Ability to ride at particularly low cadence
I am fortunate to be quite light (143lbs / 64.5kg) with a 230-250w FTP depending on the season timing, with solid balance to ride at 5mph or slower and can roll at cadence in the 40rpm range if/when needed. I don’t always lock myself within the Endurance power range, but I am able to do so when I want with the same gearing you mention above (50/34 x 11-28).
Riders with higher weight, lower FTP and such will likely have more issues holding lower power on 5%+ grades.
Balance control OK I think
Coming from endurance I historically favoured low cadence (sometimes very low) - 3 seasons of TR have seen my average cadence increase by about 10rpm so it does now feel somewhat unnatural at very low cadences.
One thing I did notice on Sunday - I felt fantastic during & after the 4-hour ride and could have done it all again right over. Even upper Z2 felt almost effortless. The real surprise was - it was only a few minutes slower than my usual hard effort rides on the same route.