A conversation on the bike yesterday led me to this blog post. It went something like this:
Me: Hey, do you ever get to the point where your breathing is right on the edge of losing control of it?
Riding Buddy: No, I guess I’m not pushing hard enough.
I can confirm that the riding buddy in question can push hard, so it must be something else.
I don’t wear a HR monitor much these days, so I know what kind of effort I’m doing by a) looking at my power meter, and, b) being aware of my breathing. When cycling my ‘breathing scale’ goes something like this:
- Easy. Can talk all day, or at least till my bum starts to hurt.
- Limited to short paragraphs. Philosophical discussions become difficult.
- One sentence at a time. I’m usually looking at my stem by now.
- Hard, deep breathing. This usually relates to around my FTP.
- Then there’s this one: Hard, fast, shallow. I can hold this for my 20 min FTP test. I also remember being in this zone of hideous pain for a long, long time on the TT day of Haute Route in 2013, up Bonette. I’m not one to lose many body fluids when I ride, but this is when I start to drool. I feel like Tony Martin looks.
Beyond this level it’s mostly anaerobic and breathing becomes totally uncontrollable.
I guess that time trialists would understand this experience more than most. Triathletes, too, I suppose. For efforts like my usual objectives (Etapes, Haute Route) it’s pretty rare to have to go this deep and I’m not complaining about that at all. I get nauseous just thinking about it. Do any of you have much experience with this sort of thing? I hope so because Tony Martin probably won’t answer my calls.