It is enormously satisfying to achieve a goal.
Last week I discovered that I was on track with, not one, but three of my cycle training goals.
Of course, the real goals come this summer when I try to ride the Raid Pyrenean and La Marmotte sportive.
Back in November, I wrote at length about my testing session with Dr Garry Palmer of Sportstest which had happened a few weeks earlier.
The fundamental point of the session was to give me precise heart rate training zones, and a training plan to follow.
I was a slightly unusual case due to the geography of Scotland where I live. My body had become accustomed to riding junk miles. It was either going uphill, working hard, or freewheeling down, not working. So right from the start it just burned carbohydrate. Endurance riding is all about using fat more efficiently as fuel, so that's what my winter training has been designed to encourage.
I have dropped a lot of weight, including 3kg of fat. Most importantly, the graphs show I am burning fat right up to close to my aerobic threshold. That is exactly what the training has been designed to achieve. But there's a downside...
I appear to have also lost 0.8kg of lean mass. Was this muscle? Possibly, because my peak power has also dropped. Now, there are many possible explanations, so these are just early warnings.
I haven't been training for power and was last tested after a strong summer of riding. But it might also indicate a nutrition issue. Perhaps I have been over-doing the fasted riding? Or not recovering well enough from my shorter sessions?
I now have a, slightly daunting, new training programme to follow right up to the Raid Pyrenean and a taper to La Marmotte. This programme keeps some endurance work, but adds a lot of threshold work and the long rides get a lot longer.
A three hour Saturday ride is followed by up to eight hours on Sunday. When I questioned this Garry pointed out, "er, you're doing the Raid?" Ah. Good point. Time to get pedalling.