Do you have a benchmark ride?

Do you have a ride you do frequently that measures your fitness level; a benchmark ride that tests your progress?  I have two – laps around Stanley Park and repeat climbs up the Spanish Banks hill to UBC.  I do these rides every week.

I have been doing them, in one form or another, for almost 30 years.  I time them.  Time specific sections.  Climb time.  Descent time.  Point-to-point sprints.  I love these workouts.  They take 60-90 minutes depending on the number of climbs and laps.  I measure how many climbs I can complete on the Spanish Banks climb in and hour.  Six climbs.  And similarly, I count the number of laps around Stanley Park that I can complete in an hour.  Three laps.  An hour is all it takes.  I think of these rides as a TT.

Some days are faster than others depending how rested I feel and the bike I am riding. I do the rides on all three bikes – the Kuwahara, the Roberts and the Garneau.  It is amazing the difference bike weight and gearing can make.  Training on the heavier bikes is like running with ankle weights.  When I take a turn on the full carbon Garneau, it seems to roll faster with less effort.

Now that I use Strava – I am a late adopter – I can compare results with previous rides and with others, even telling me my Personal Bests for sections of each of the rides so I know when and where I can improve.

Do you have a benchmark ride?  Do you use Strava?  If not, I would suggest you find a 25 km route with little traffic, few stop signs or lights and a smooth surface and test yourself on a regular basis.  Make certain the route has a combination of climbs, descents and flats so that you can work on technique and form for each type of terrain.

I am not a racer.  Never was.  But I enjoy training and testing myself with longer, steeper climbs and longer distances.  When I benchmark some rides, my recreational rides become more enjoyable.  I cycle more easily, at a faster pace and for longer distances without tiring easily.

Do you have a benchmark ride?

6 thoughts on “Do you have a benchmark ride?

  1. Depends which city. Anyway, we were cycling Stanley Park today.. stopped at Prospect Point where I took tons of photos. We were on folding bikes –yea, cyclists that you would ignore.

    • On the contrary Jean, I notice all types of bikes – folding, fixes, 3-wheelers, tandem, custom, hybrids … I only blog about training related items but I also enjoy exploring on a bike with my camera, spending an afternoon or early morning searching for images that inspire me. Perhaps I need to write about those occasions as well so that readers don’t think of me a 1 diminutional cyclist.

      • I’ll experiment. Cycling has been such an integral part of my life it’s difficult to just talking about one part of it. I am not certain what my objectives are. They are certainly not commercial. I like to write. It is a simple as that. And, I enjoy meeting new people and being introduced to new ideas. Stay tuned. And, thanks.

  2. Pingback: I fell off my bike! | PedalWORKS

  3. Pingback: Everyone climbs OLH | tour de lindsay b

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