Awesome. That is how I described my ride today in my Training Peaks post-workout comments. Of course I went into more details for coach, but the gist of it is that this HR training is working. It helped, of course, that we had a perfect (nearly windless!) day for riding today, but beyond that, I can tell that I am becoming faster and more efficient at a rather low HR. So riding is still easy, but it is not quite as slow. And today I was granted the gift of being able to work a bit harder... 3 x 20 min sections at ~HR+10 from where I have been doing the bulk of my riding... and it was simply awesome. What a difference 10 beats makes! I was quite surprised at how hard I had to work to get my HR to where I wanted it to be, and how fast I was able to ride at that HR. This is what coach has been telling me would happen, and all I can think is that if it is only January and I have to work that hard and can go that fast at a HR that is still very aerobic, then what's in store for April?? Oh my. This is cool.
And I think I mentioned before that coach doesn't screw around with volume... I had my first 5+ hour ride on the schedule yesterday (hey, I thought this was a run week? Interesting that long ride popped up anyway...). What was most interesting to me about that (besides the fact that I set a new world record for Slowest Ascent Ever up Pineapple Hill trying to keep my HR<150 into that headwind from hell) was that starting off this morning I felt fresh as a daisy. I mean seriously, you'd think there would be at least a bit of residual fatigue from riding nearly 100 miles yesterday, but apparently if you do it easy enough, and fuel correctly during/afterward, there's not. Good to know.
So to recap, long easy distance is not overly fatiguing. And easy does not always mean slow. It's sinking in.