It's funny how one's [this one's at least] self-worth as a cyclist completely depends on the quality of the last ride. On Saturday, after a five-hour mellow and scenic ride my legs felt great and I was optimistic about Solvang. Tuesday, after class during which I had to scale down my efforts to complete the intervals, I was all bummed and wondered whether it was my legs or I was still recovering from being sick for two weeks and doing zero intensity training during that period.
Who knows. The see-saw that is my opinion of my cycling prowess is on the upswing again after today's class. We did two long climbs -- one a 10-minute zone 2-3 effort and the next a 20-minute zone 3-4 effort. Remembering my flailing two days earlier I approached the intervals cautiously, riding on the lower ends of each zone fraction. The final set was seven two-minute intervals in zone 4, with two minutes recovery between each. I started on the lowest possible edge of zone 4. It was hard, about a 7-7.5 RPE. I worried about how intervals 5, 6, and 7 would feel. I took it really easy during the recovery interval and the second effort felt better than the first. I continued resting as energetically as I could and the intervals went OK. I poked the resistance up by 10 watts for the fourth interval, then by another 10 for the seventh. The last one's RPE was 8-8.5, but since it was the last one it was tolerable. I wonder how we would have reacted had the instructor announced we had to do one more... or two more?
I cooled down on the trainer for 15 minutes, head and legs feeling pretty good considering the volume of work I'd done. And my mood, you ask? My mood is great, but I'm still not going to try to hammer that double.