Speed works

I motor paced again this morning behind the trusty moto of Boozy P. It was cold at 6:00 AM, as it has been since December, but the sun comes up now during the 1-hour session and it’s a few degrees warmer, which makes all the difference.

In addition to the added lowest-of-low intensity volume I’ve been lauding of late, the secret sauce for building the top end is motor pacing.

We do an hour at Telo, and with 20 minutes to go Boozy will beep the scooter and I’ll sprunt for 30 seconds or so. We do a handful of these efforts.

The sprunt is hard, but you know what’s really hard? Catching back onto the motor scooter, because unlike me, it doesn’t get tired or slow down while I’ve been flogging myself for 30 seconds like a madman.

It’s that “catch back on” moment where, to quote an awful sports phrase, “the gains are made.” It replicates those moments on a ride or in a race where you’ve attacked and have to respond to the counter, or where you’ve followed one attack and then have to follow another. It is the interval atop the interval, where you will only latch back on because you want to.

You can’t replicate this in training because it all happens at speed. Where’s the training partner who can go 30 on the flats for an hour?

I re-read Stijn Devolder’s exit interview, a 2-time Tour of Flanders winner who’d never used a power meter, a heart rate monitor, and had never had his VO2 max tested. All he ever did to win a classic was ride. Behind the motor.

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