The sun is shining as I ride out to the main road near my home to get stuck into my first speed session on wheels this season. So far, all my cycling sessions have been ‘long’ rides out exploring the open road. But this morning I wanted to try something different – I wanted to go fast and I wanted to feel the satisfying burn in my legs that comes after a solid workout.
The main road near my home has a relatively straight 3km stretch with a sharp hills in it. There are four roundabouts that break the road up, offering natural turning points for me to do a range of different speed sets. When it’s busy the roundabouts are quite dangerous because the road speed limit is 80kph and cars often don’t bother to slow for cars on the roundabouts, let alone bicycles. But I have chosen to ride at a relatively quiet time so I’m not too worried about my safety.
I decide to do three hard sprints around a 2.6km loop. I start at the second roundabout and race down the road at about 42kph, lowering myself onto the drop bars to navigate through the third roundabout. I heard at the last race I attended that this is the best way to navigate a roundabout or turn because it lowers your centre of gravity so now I am trying it out. I exit the roundabout and stay on the drops to hunch my way up the hill on the other side. There’s no traffic behind me so I switch to the right lane, hitting the fourth roundabout at speed, still on the drops, and using it to turn 180′ back to the direction I came from.
Climbing the hill out of the roundabout is hard and my legs are screaming by the time I reach the top. But it’s a good scream – it’s a scream that tells me my muscles are going to get stronger so that I can improve my speed and power. I drop down the hill to the third roundabout and scream around it before settling into the tri bars for a few hundred metres on the flat leading to the slight incline near the finish. I stand again to bang out a sprint to the finish of my first repetition, hitting the lap button on my Garmin: 2.56km @ 33.8kph.
I cruise up the hill to the first roundabout and back down to the start of my second repetition. I ride the 900m recovery at 22.1kph.
My second repetition is the fastest. I ride the 2.56km @ 34.7kph, following it with a recovery of 900m @ 22.5kph.
My final repetition feels good. I complete 2.6km @ 34.1kph.
I know I have worked hard because I’m spent and feel great, with sweat dripping from my body. I ride the 3km recovery home at 24.0kph.
I hope to keep working on my speed, working on getting stronger and being able to do a few more repetitions as I get fitter. The session was short and sharp, leaving me feeling confident and strong.