Working on Cruising Speed

Working on Cruising Speed

Tuesday I went for a longer ride to try and increase my cruising speed on the recumbent. There’s an odd phenomenon on the recumbent that I appear to be “leg-limited”: my heart rate remains below my aerobic pace which is around 120 beats per minute, but if I try to go faster it’s my legs that complain with a slight burning sensation. I guess this is due to working them out in a way they haven’t been accustomed to in recent years, since a recumbent uses the leg muscles in a subtly different way than a conventional bike. If so, I have just under a month to get them accustomed before my upcoming Century ride Oct. 2nd.

I did my Coyote Creek out and back ride to Hellyer park. It felt great on the way out, but it turns out I had a pretty good tailwind which I struggled against on the way back. Average speed was disappointing, 13.2 mph. I’m hoping to get it up closer to 15.

In a second session I did some intervals nearer to home. The route map for this one looks funny because I’m just wandering local streets fitting the intervals in:

My cruising speed doesn’t really matter, worst case it will take me closer to eight hours to finish a century. My main objective is a comfortable cruise on the recumbent and enjoying some Sacramento valley scenery I’ve not seen before. The trick is to use things like improving my cruising speed to motivate me, without letting it spoil the enjoyment.

Yesterday (Thursday) I went longer today, 67 miles total. Average speed was still 13 mph, but it was an enjoyable ride. I covered a lot of ground, South to the East side of Gilroy, then crossed over to the West side and proceeded down to the beautiful bike paths that lead past the Uvas Creek preserve to the Gilroy sports complex. That was 4 hours 10 minutes before lunch. After lunch I did another bit over an hour to get my legs used to the idea they will have to get back to work after lunch on the day of the century.

The Gavilan Mountains from the bike path at the Gilroy sports complex

I did think of one thing about my cruising speed. I have a thornproof tube on my back tire, which can add a lot of rolling resistance. I think in the past I determined this to subtract about 1 mph for the same effort. My next ride I’ll try swapping out for a regular tube and see if that helps.

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