I love intervals. So it’s a good thing my coach trains me with intervals. When I am on an “on” interval I am “all-in”…..kind of how I race. This means that, for me, very little exists outside of what I am doing at that moment. This really make rides go by fast.
We get intervals in swim all the time – how else can you swim 25 yard lengths without getting bored? And as for running – I LOVE to head to the track. It may be a 400 meter loop but when I am in an interval, all that exists is who is in front of me, who may be behind me, what my body is telling me, and what I ask of it! When on the track I don’t have to think about cars, directions, stops….nothing. Just GO!
In order to get that continuity on the bike many, including me, resort to a trainer. And honestly, my “all in” approach and intervals is what enables me to do long sessions on the trainer when I must, and still actually enjoy myself. But if I can get on the road….I am a happier camper!
Weekday rides are usually closer to home than longer, weekend rides just because of time limitations, and for shorter rides, I don’t have time to drive far (greater than 30 minutes, lets say). This means urban riding. And there are few places to have a sustained effort, even for intervals, in Atlanta, and where I can achieve my “all-in” feeling. Pretty much I am limited to Columns drive (a 5 mile loop) or Riverside (a 4.5 mile loop). Punchy hills, like those at Stone Mountain or even off of Riverside Drive in Roswell don’t allow for the continuity I want (although, these hills, in my book, definitely have a time and place for training).
And so – I ride 4.5 mile loops at Riverside to get my intervals in. At the same time, I am at Riverside (or sometimes Columns) because it is close and accessible for me on weekdays, so often i am glad to have intervals to help the time literally fly by. So which came first? The intervals or the loops? The chicken or the egg? I can’t decide. And really, it doesn’t matter.
On weekdays I need somewhere close that I can do sustained intervals. The 4.5 mile loop at Riverside gives me both. And luckily, with intervals, scenery doesn’t matter. All that matters is that interval I am on at that moment, and the effort I am giving, not how many loops I have done so far.
I don’t get bored because the intervals make it fun. In fact, often times time literally FLIES and I don’t want to go back to my car. I can immerse myself in the effort as much as one can while on the road and still be aware of traffic, pedestrians, and other cyclists.
So if you see me on Riverside Drive please wave. I’ll wave back and give you a big smile because chances are I am having a fantastic time!