Tonight I did two sets of 2 x 3 minutes in Zone 5.5, which was harder than threshold, but not all out. I'm not sure what specific training adaptation I was supposed to gain from this workout, but I like to think of it as a "fantasy threshold" workout. I say that because the workout was at the power level where I want my threshold to be in a few months. It was a chance to "hang out" at 200 watts without having to commit to a full 20 minutes of it just yet.
I'm only mildly embarrassed to admit that my "fantasy threshold" is 200 watts. It probably seems pretty low to most people, especially guys, but from my observation and research I feel pretty confident that I will be "good" by the time I reach this level. Not elite, but good.
I'm not sure where the elite benchmark is, because most people guard there numbers pretty closely. I don't blame them. If I had more at stake, I would probably not let my competition know the details of my training and fitness, but I doubt that anyone reading this is getting too worried just yet.
No matter how much you think you know about the competition, you really don't know anything until you race. It reminds me of a part from one my favorite books, The Triathletes, about what the Hawaii Ironman would be like if everyone just showed up and compared training logs. However, being a true story and not a work of inspiring fiction, the working class privateer that I rooted for throughout the book goes home empty handed.
So I'm happy with my arbitrary goal of 200 watts and I feel like tonight got me just a little bit closer. I know there are several other major factors that will or will not contribute to my success this season, but it's nice having just one that I can monitor on a daily basis.