Extreme geek alert!
More than I can recall there have been suggestions that I just toss the gears away once and forall. Finit. Single is simple. Liberating. But…it ain’t gonna happen. Here’s why.
Like all of us spokeheads, I often learn via the sensations that come with training on a bike. The difference between pedaling a road bike and a mountain bike are actually quite minor…and that’s about all I know – until the SS obsession struck. I’m in the midst of a big tasty 2 wheeled single geared education.
At first, the SS never got old. I’d just grab it every time I rode aside from the long weekend exploratories. There came a point when it lost it’s charm tho. Something was missing. I craved putting down steady power and that is plain ol impossible on a SS.
In another timeframe I was pretty smoked. Something like 1300 SS TSS inside of a week had me not too excited to do anything on a SS or geary for a bit – yet that is a load that isn’t that big (by my standards) on a geared bike. This told me that TSS doesn’t track well for SS – at least not nearly as well as for geared riding.
So what’s all the rambling about? Two major systems we work when cycling are neuromuscular and metabolic. The latter is all about efficient fuel delivery to working muscles. Due to the high force demands of SS riding and the highly erratic nature of force applications, SS riding is disproportionally stressful to the neuromuscular side. The frequents “rest” periods – when being spun out or coasting – makes it much easier on the metabolic side. The catch here is that TSS was modeled after metabolic strain, not neuromuscular strain. So monitoring EweTSS metrics (PMC stuff in WKO+) while awesome for geared riding is somewhat limited for SS riding. I can have positive TSB and still feel smoked!
In retrospect this is no surprise. The focus of my training the past few years has been the long stuff – increasingly long. Metabolic fitness has been goal #1. Trying to mix SS with my current physiology is a challenge for sure.
Bootstrapping is something you prolly do every day: booting your computer. Starting a process which in turn fires up another process. Recursion is doing something repeatedly…this is the basics of how my training is evolving. The SS is the best neuromuscular training for cycling that I have ever encountered – far better! Geared riding is super for steady efforts. For the past month I’ve been doing blocks of SS riding, followed by blocks of geared riding. Hit yourself at the musular level, then hit at the fuel delivery side, rinse, repeat.
It’s working. My method for testing FT is the average power for 3×20 min intervals. Tuesday’s session put power 25 W higher than what I thought FT was at…that is somewhat shocking. It’s also something I would have no clue about without the benefit of my power meter.
I haven’t been on the SS in awhile – since last week anyway. It looks like there is always going to remain a spot in my garage for gears. For now tho it’s time to diss them gears and dance on those pedals in Camp Lynda.
Speaking of which…here’s the requisite picture for those that found the above waaay too tech/longwinded/boring/understimulating. Camp Lynda hostess or trail bandit? Could be a tough call on Tuesday morning ;)