The Cycling Cure All
By Peter Wendel
Just under a year ago, I bought my first bike since college and started to ride for exercise. Riding is the latest in a long line of sports I’ve pursued over the last fifty years (soccer, running and racquetball are all high on the list) and, at the age of 67, the repetitive impact involved in those activities has taken a toll on my leg joints.
I had to give up running when I had both hips replaced and I have missed the aerobic challenge. As those who have been riding longer than me already know, bicycle riding fills that need. My doctor also recommended exercise as his preferred method for reducing my high blood pressure instead of high levels of medication.
Because blood pressure management is one of my goals, I really pay attention to the heart rates suggested by VeloPro for my workout rides. The email that arrives from VeloPro on the days I’ve picked for my workouts gives me a duration and a target heart rate to hit during each part of my ride.
For suggested rides that include the FTP check or the Sweet Spot segment, I know I need to spend 20 minutes climbing a Class 4 hill. Lucky for me I have several to choose from near my home. I can match the remaining route and terrain for the other parts of my workout using tools in Strava to plan a route that meets the duration and intensity suggested for those segments. If I need 60 minutes of riding at an Endurance pace and I know that I’m averaging 14.5 MPH when I ride at that intensity, I can look for 14.5 miles of relatively flat ground to ride for that portion of my workout.
I don’t have a way to capture power output via a sensor, so I rely on my heart rate to indicate whether I am on track for each segment of my ride. It’s a good target but what I find is that I can’t get my heart rate up as high as is suggested for the more intense segments. Perhaps I am being limited by my blood pressure medications. The good news is that my overall performance keeps improving regardless of not hitting the target heart rate.
I am finding VeloPro to be an excellent training tool to watch my progress towards the fitness level I will need for some upcoming biking challenges. In addition to the Mohawk Metric Century and the Strawberry Century, I have also signed up for a nine-day tour of Northwestern Oregon that will cover nearly 400 miles. I’m sure that VeloPro will be keeping me on a good training schedule for all three events.