Out and Fat Again

Christmas Day done and dusted. Back on the bike. And a lot of over indulgence to work off.

Last night, driving home from some Boxing Day family time, I really wanted to get back on the bike. I think that was more my body complaining at being put through a different kind of wringer.

I haven’t gone absolutely crazy this year, but I’ve certainly eaten too much, and had maybe four or five beers, which might not sound like much, but for someone who drinks maybe a pint a week (or less) on average, that’s waaay more than normal, for me.

For this ride I wanted something long (50km) but without too much climbing. I opted for Out and Back Again, a ride that I did as the first ever half century I’d ridden.

I think this is only the second time I’ve done Zwift’s Out and Back Again route, and this time I shaved 9 minutes off my previous time. To be fair, I had no idea what my previous time was, and this was in no way a competition with that previous ride. Rather, I just check just now, and found the stat interesting.

For what it’s worth, I didn’t go too hard on this ride. In many ways, I felt rough during this ride.

Just getting on and spinning my legs, I felt really stiff. Even with just two days off the bike, I felt really in need of the forthcoming longer session.

Starting off, I did two short ramp ups. This wasn’t intentional, although both stints were helpful in giving me the feeling of “opening myself up”. Letting my legs get back into the usual routine. Typically by this point in the week I’d be on rest day, having done a 30km ride on both Wednesday and Thursday.

As it stands this week, I expect to do maybe 30km tomorrow, and then a harder ride on Sunday… but I have some other commitments on Sunday morning, so I’m not 100% sure I’m going to get the exact riding schedule I want.

After I’d done the initial ramp ups I perhaps went too hard on the timed bridge sprint segment.

According to Zwift I hit 201bpm during the bridge sprint. I’m not convinced on this myself, as whilst I was exhausted by the end of it, I wasn’t feeling like my heart was going to burst out of my chest.

I’d done a short blast up the water tunnel exit earlier, and between this and that effort, I totally smashed myself. Climbing up away from the bridge, it became all too evident that I’d emptied the tank, and after this it took about ten minutes to recover. Not ideal.

After ten minutes rest I was feeling refreshed and ready to hit the Volcano KOM.

Seeing the first place time on the board at 7:23, I foolishly thought I had a shot. Surely, I convinced myself, my personal best on the Volcano is somewhere in the 7 minute range?

Insert your own FAIL BUZZER sound.

Not even close.

Anyway, even before the demoralising live ETA appeared on screen, I knew there was no way I was beating any times today.

I’ve said before I struggle on climbs that have flat bits, and whilst that sounds like a big excuse, today it was more a case of I was craving the flat bit just for a brief rest.

There are probably some positives to take away from the climb. I got to the top. That’s one. I’m sure there are a few more in there, somewhere. 😀

For comparison, back in my first / only other ride of the Out and Back Again circuit, I did the Volcano in 12 minutes 11 seconds.

Coasting down from the Volcano I yet again found myself taking my foot off the gas. By this point I was really feeling it. The big thing keeping me positive was the fact that I was on the bike. It was better than the alternative – slouched in front of the TV stuffing junk in my face.

I figured that regardless of how hard I was pedaling, the value of the exercise was “good enough” to see me through today.

Approaching the reverse hilly KOM, and knowing it was going to be the last climb of the ride, I put in a fairly solid effort (by my standards). The legs were a bit gone by this point, but dropping into the small ring, I was happy enough with the results.

It turns out that I can’t quite find the exact segment on Strava, but the close I can find puts this time at 4th, with my best ever being 5:31, back in July 2019.

A better comparison here would be what I did on my first Out and Back Again ride, which was a 6:55. So a strong improvement there.

With all the climbing out of the way I decided to try my best to remain around 160-175w until I reached 50km.

This didn’t work out that well – things were a bit up and down for me as I struggled to keep a consistent cadence and find a rhythm that my legs were happy with.

But I got there in the end, even doing a little in the saddle sprint on the Fuego Flats sprint to see the route through.

After this I continued on, almost to the end of Fuego Flats by which time I’d hit 50km.

A very easy pedaled ~3km cool down was enough to see me through the day. At 1 hour 40 minutes on the bike I was really happy to see 926 calories burned, and felt happy enough with the ride overall.

A good way back on the bike after the Christmas break.

What I will say is that this ride did absolutely thrash me.

It’s 20:47 as I write this, and I’ve felt ready for bed pretty much since about 4pm.

I don’t regret it, and I know I have another ride ahead of me tomorrow, but as I’ve said already once or twice, this one wasn’t particularly easy. Not hard like a climb, but tiring.

I’m semi tempted to do an active recovery workout ride tomorrow.

I know I need to get back into the swing of doing some of the more intense structured workouts, and that I don’t have a huge amount of time remaining on my Tacx Software demo account time limit.

I’m not in the mood for a Tacx ride tomorrow at this point.

What I’d quite like to do is a Zwift group ride. However, finding a group ride that is at a pace I’m comfortable with, and that fits my time schedule isn’t always easy. I’ve not yet checked the app – maybe there will be something suitable.

I hope you’ve had a nice Christmas, and are looking forward to New Years Eve. The indulgence isn’t done with quite yet.

I have work in the morning so at this point I’m wanting to go and lie in the bath and give my legs a nice hot soak.

Until next time!

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