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New Personal Best on Tunitas Creek — How Can That Be?!

I’ve noticed a marked improvement in perceived power and endurance after 2+ weeks of intensive training, though body weight has (annoyingly) flat-lined, but that is probably “remodeling” going on and at least some fat burned being replaced by muscle. And probably some fluid retention, typical for me under a heavy training load.

I don’t “work” Tunitas that much, and I am sure I could manage a faster ascent, but something very interesting happened today: a new personal best on Tunitas Creek.

Why “interesting”? Because it was achieved coming after 2+ weeks of intensive training after a training season swiss-cheesed by a shoulder surgery and knee problem. And because the total riding weight (TRW) was five (5) pounds heavier than the prior personal best. And because I was not feeling fully recovered (2 prior poor power output days) and feeling lazy.

Improved bike fit?

This is the first good indication that for climbing the improved bike fit might be paying dividends: lower fitness and higher weight, but reduced time at a lower average heart rate implies greater efficiency in power generation, allowing higher sustained power at lower stress levels (by utilizing the powerful gluteus muscles rather than overloading the quadriceps).

Improved fat utilization?

Just as interesting: I forced myself to eat one 182-calorie bar after two hours and climbing 3800 vertical feet (Kings Mtn and Tunitas, for locals).

I had no particular feeling I needed to eat, I just did so for recovery on a descent towards home.

When one burns 1675 calories on a 2-hour ride without feeling any compunction to eat, it suggests a high fat utilization for energy production, meaning more muscle mass producing power more aerobically, meaning glycogen is conserved. Fat utilization is critical for intense long races like the Everest Challenge.

As fat goes, I do remain very concerned about carrying too much weight on 29,000 feet of climbing, as well as the impaired ability to shed body heat (fat insulates).

Power and heart rate with elevation profile, Tunitas Creek personal best

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