I always thought I was pretty good at riding slow......that is until the last 3wks of my surgery recovery in which I was told to limit my efforts on the bike to below 100bpm. Maybe when I am fit that might be a somewhat reasonable number to stay below, but completely unfit, this is an output that will hardly get me up the hill I live on.
I spent the first week following this restriction pretty close by using a triple chain ring with a MTB cassette and doing some walking. Believe it or not those first few rides where I would ride for an hour and only go 10mi (I'm no mathematician but that's like 10mi per hour), actually made me quite tired after doing literally nothing for 2 months. I soon began to employ a new strategy for keeping under that number. Staying home and not riding my bike. On week 2 through semantics in my Garmin HR zones settings I ended up putting the number at 111bpm and riding a bit more. Then by wk 3 I switched onto my normal road bike and sorta stopped responding when my heart rate would venture up to 120-130bpm. I think this was all fine.
Monday was the end of my restriction. The smart thing to do would be to ease into it and start building a base up before hitting it hard. I smashed it as hard as I could on the first 3 days of training. By smash it I mean like a whole 250 watts. But lemme explain....I feel I have circumstances that warrant such ignorance toward such proven methods. I wanted to get a sense of whether my blood flow had been repaired or not. As of this point I feel like I have had some really good signs. For most of my life a lot of my venous blood flow has been clearly visibly coursing through my vessels just under thin skin. Since '08, I had not seen much of that definition in my left leg. Now I am seeing them once again. Also there used to be pinching sensations in my hip at rest that are gone. However, to get a definitive idea of the repair job I needed to get blood demand up and see if the supply was there.
In my rational thought I new the first efforts were going to be slow and feel like poo, but I couldn't help but have an irrational part of my brain take off on this tangent thought process that pointed out that my blood flow would be opened up and despite complete lack of activity I was going to feel like superman, crushing my previous one-legged abilities. That is definitely not what happened.
Trying to hone in on the sensations in my left leg was difficult because my right leg, lungs, heart, head, back, etc were screaming as loudly. I take this as a good sign. Everything is equally as slow. After the good part of a week, this is still my feeling. I have turned down the speed and began some base building, but when the burn comes to my legs, it feels like both feel it equally, which is fantastic. Time will tell whether things are truly back to normal, but for now I am thrilled to be able to get out for some epic summer rides with the good signs that have already become obvious.