I thought that turning out a few 'intervals' before the game might be a good idea, so I took off this morning for a ride out to the park on the end of the island.
I left the knobbies on to take in the sandy trails of the State Park; you would never get anywhere on road tires!
The first 10 km I cruised at a 3/4 effort pace to warm up; this took me to the gates of the park, where I fumbled around in my pockets to find the dollar bill that gets you in. Once that was done, the interval work began.
I do intervals on or off road, about twice a week. They drastically increase your 'horsepower' if you are honest with yourself about what is 100% effort. They give me the 'gas in the tank' on the trail to put in hard efforts when I need to, and then recover quickly. Today they went like this...
From the gates of the park to the campground trails is about 6 km. During this time, I ride 30 second intervals that alternate between 100% max effort, and half effort spinning. You start out strong, but trust me, half way through it becomes mental. This is where it is important to stay the course if you want to see improvement.
When I got to the campground, I took a break from the intervals, and cruised the sandy trails of the park.
The 10km out-and-back trail system isn't as easy as it sounds. It is all loose sand, and requires some power in spots to keep moving. It is a nice mix of tall pines with dense underbrush. A lot of 'birders' take these trails at a walk, and are usually pissed when you come up on them. They are never a very happy lot!
Back in the campground, it's a spin passed the campers to the main road, and then more intervals until the park gates. From there, it is a nice 3/4 effort spin for the last 10 km back home.
Make sure that you give the body time to recover after hard efforts like intervals. Remember that rest is an equal partner with effort, on the trail to getting stronger!