I have been looking at a few of the training plans and notice that rest weeks frequently end with a weekend of 1 hour endurance rides each day. What is the physiologic purpose of these rides? I understand the purpose of the short recovery rides during the week and I certainly feel better when I do a short recovery ride rather than take the day off, but it seems like a one hour endurance ride is longer than necessary for recovery and shorter than necessary to get any physiologic adaptation. I have a couple more sprint triathlons coming up and a century in about 12 weeks with a crazy few months at work/life so I have to be flexible with the training plan and adapt on the fly.
One big benefit of a nice one hour ride outdoors though, good for the head. Psychology essentially underpins everything in an athlete. If the head isn’t in it, then even the physiological peak of humanity aren’t going to perform well or even make it to the start. The purpose of a ride might just be for fun and it still has an important part to play in the Training plan