1) The road cycling world championships (BBC preview) take place this week in Yorkshire, England.  It’s a week of bikes races culminating with the women’s (Saturday) and men’s (Sunday) road race. The winner wears the coveted rainbow jersey for the next twelve months.  (Lizzie Deignen, then Armistead, is shown in our banner).

This week’s profile is based on the women’s road race. 

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2) The music for the profile is comprised of songs from Austin City Limits.  It’s a two-weekend music festival in Texas which I’ll be attending for the first time -- FUN! I knew most of the artists prior. Billie Eilish and Tame Impala were previously unknown in my world, but I really dig their sound. Here’s what the profile looks like when synced with the playlist. (scroll to end of post to play the songs)

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3) Yorkshire is the hometown of former world champion, and recent mom, Lizzie Deignan.  Her return to cycling this year has been one of the feel-good stories of 2019.  The women’s race has been dominated by the Dutch in recent years. Look out for American Coryn Rivera, who has the legs to manage the hills and a sprinter’s kick for the home stretch. Personally, if not Lizzie, I am rooting for Marianne Vos.   Cycling News lists 10 women to watch in the race.

4) Balancing family and sport is difficult for competitive women athletes.  Nike recently came under attack for not financially supporting their athletes during pregnancy.  Likely the most successful female athlete of all time, Serena Williams came into the US Open 32-5 in grand slams.  10-6 in all other tournaments. Some rides (tennis matches) are more important than others.

5) Once a month in Bethesda, we do a 90-minute ride.  It gives riders a chance to test their bodies beyond 45 or 60 minutes.  Abut halfway through, I asked riders to check their distance. I then challenged them to double it by the end.  Afterwards, one rider told me: “14.5 miles in 45 minutes, 29.4 miles in ninety minutes.”  That’s what it’s all about!  No disrespect to the 30-second max folks.

6) This week’s metric is VO2 Max or how well your body transports and uses oxygen while training.  It’s used as a benchmark for endurance and assists in determining training volume.  Indoor cycling is often deemed as sprints and recoveries.  Maybe a one song climb. None of this impacts VO2 Max. Intervals, with reduced recovery time, are the key to improving oxygen intake.

7) Runner’s are very aware of their VO2 max as they don’t get to turn down the resistance like indoor cyclists can.  I find Runner’s World explanation of VO2 to be almost flawless:

“A point is reached where exercise intensity can continue to increase without the associated rise in oxygen consumption. This point at which oxygen consumption plateaus defines your VO2 max.” To understand this in more practical terms, take a look at the above diagram


8) The test to find your VO2 involves a trip to a doctor with special machines and such.  There is a DIY option. Many of you are familiar with it, the 20-minute functional threshold power (FTP) test.  We will start part 2 of our heart rate series with one. Don’t stress, it’s only 20 minutes.

9) This post brings us to the halfway point of the series.  And the end . . . sort of. Instead of one 6 week series, I’ve decided on two, four-week series.  In my Buddhist days, I recall many of the teachings advising to read slowly, to take your time and apply the principles.  As such, I want to give folks time to get a heart rate monitor (add link) and explore on their own a bit.  

Over the next two weeks, we will do two benchmark rides.  By repeating week 1 and 2 of the series, you can compare results -- on the Equinox app or via your heart rate monitor’s mobile app.  The series resumes on October 15th.