Elite cyclists become world beaters by spending a high percentage of their training time at “endurance” intensity, says kinesiologist Dr. Stephen S. Cheung of Brock University and co-author of Cutting Edge Cycling. “A critical physiological adaptation for cyclists is sparing glycogen during long rides. This cannot be trained with short intense rides that rapidly drain glycogen stores.” Endurance-paced rides also train your body to be a better fat burner by building hundreds of thousands of capillaries in your legs, increasing the size of energy-producing mitochondria, and boosting production of fatty-acid binding proteins and fat carrying enzymes. Long steady rides also teach you pacing and condition your body (and mind) to be comfortable on the bike for hours, says Cheung.
Cycling Myths That Are Actually Kind of True: Exercise at a Low Intensity to Burn Fat | Biking Fitness Plans and Advice | OutsideOnline.com