50“I don’t ride that much but very specific, high quality.” Jeannie Longo, One of the Heroes
The myth of season-long, low intensity 6-hour training rides is busted this time of year when a rider doesn’t place in a 200k race or perform well over multiple days in hard tours. Long bike races are less of an aerobic endurance activity and more about speed endurance since intensity is often above what’s sustainable all-day. Little hard efforts over and over decide classification.
Mid-summer’s necessity is to endure long hard races as well as a long season. Optimal preparation consists of multiple sets of hard efforts of varying intensities and lengths to endure repeated-speed fatigue, as well as racing as best preparation for racing!
Such races used by champions of summer may or may not target performance as much as preparation, such as Paris-Nice to tune-up for Tour de France or Tour de France to overreach toward the Olympics.
For example, Longo consistently shines at race selection for the purposes of ramping up speed endurance. She used small Colorado stage races prior to an international tour in America as preparation for gold and silver medal rides in Atlanta. She targeted a win in some form, not necessarily first place, to build confidence and keep freshness while gradually overloading fitness. She chose events that shielded her from the pressures of a relentless French press and venues that simulated if not the humidity at least the heat of a southern Olympic city. Longo’s longevity overshadows anyone in top level cycling. With precision and preparation suited to someone who knows herself well, she outlasted all with a sunny smile while winning one of the most important of her many races solo.
Lengthening summer light casts long shadows in rolling silhouettes on the ground as we ride this time of year. A long shadow can be cast upon performance if speed endurance and rejuvenating races are missing from a training program.
Prayer for Speed Endurance
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.” 51Hebrews 12:2
We are thankful for examples of winning a “war” with many hard battles before it. We ask for speed endurance.
Ponder Can I repeat efforts of varying intensity for as long as my targeted races demand? Affirm I select events that require hard efforts but keep me fresh for bigger events. Watch and work repeatability for speed endurance.
50Conversations with Jeannie Longo, One of the Heroes.
51The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson