In the GranFondo plans, there are several weekends that call for rides greater in duration than 3 hrs in Zone 2 (Endurance pace).
Looking for some great minds to argue the impacts of the following:
- Taking a coffee break in the middle of the ride.
- How to approach hills where the gradient warrants more power than zone 2.
- If my schedule needs to split the ride into morning/evening sessions - what is the two part equivalent to a 4 hr ride?
- If I break a 3 hr ride into Inspiration videos that are 1 hour each (but IF at ~.65) - does it matter that each of these has a warmup/cooldown - is that changing the impact?
For me I take the Zone 2 as an average, it is tough to stay in the zone for the entire ride. Having a coffee and or nature break happens, don’t sweat it much. I would not split the ride as the point is to be in Zone 2 for that length of time. Outside is best to get the fresh air and sun (is there is any) oh and maybe wind, rain etc… #morethanyou #IWBMATTKYT
I treat those rides whether indoor or outdoor identically.
In such a long ride if you cannot eat while riding it is reasonable stop and eat at some point, or if necessary, take a nature break.
You should definitely not split the ride because you are trying to develop your endurance capability, and splitting the ride would defeat that goal.
As for staying in the zone there are two issues.
You want to discipline yourself to stay in the zone as much as possible because an endurance ride is also an exercise in trying to pace yourself.
As for hills, you should use the concept of matches.
A match represents your ability to ride above threshold. Given your ability, you have only so many matches in your matchbox in the course of a ride or race. How many depends on how long and how bright (power) you burn them.
Depending on how many about threshold efforts there are, you may have to go lower in Zone 2 or even into Zone 1 to keep the average. This essentially allows you to recover.
Here is a more detailed explanation of the idea of a match: