Question: I’m a 49-year-old cyclist who enjoys riding centuries at a 5-hour pace. But I also like to time trial and want to break the hour for 40K next season. Can I train successfully for fast time trials AND fast centuries? — Aaro H.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Yes. You can do it if you work on speed as well as endurance.
Training for long rides like centuries gives you a solid aerobic base that you can do a lot with. But endurance doesn’t translate to speed.
Although a 5-hour solo century is a very respectable 20-mph average, you need to time trial at 25 mph to break the hour for 40K (24.8 miles). That’s a huge difference.
So, you need to add speed to your program.
The best single workout is 5 repeats of 3 minutes each, ridden at the same pace you could sustain for just 6 minutes.
In other words, a bit more intense than your pace in a 40K TT and a lot more intense than your century pace.
Also effective are longer repeats — 10 to 20 minutes at TT intensity.