Engine Work

engineworkIt’s been a couple weeks since I’ve moved back on to the trainer for the season.  I know most roadies dread the idea of leaving the road for the trainer, but for me I’ve accepted it as a necessary evil.

This will be my 5th winter season on the trainer.  You would think that I know myself as a cyclist by now, but I keep learning more and more as I continue to ride.  One thing I’ve noticed since I started gearing up for cool weather riding last fall is that I lose some of the “snap” in my legs as a result.  I’m not exactly sure why, but those first few interval sessions on the trainer are always tough.  Now that I’ve done about 7 of them, I’ve got that snap back.

This should also be obvious to me, but as I ride the longer rides in the summer, my conditioning is more toward putting forth a medium-hard effort for 2-3 hours.  The trainer rides, however, are rarely longer than 1:15 and the effort is more compact – higher tempo with bursts of very hard efforts.

The upshot is that the summer works the overall endurance and the trainer works on the engine.  After contemplating this, I think there is a confluence of conditioning that happens around Memorial Day.  I have the engine still tuned from the trainer, and I am regaining the longer distance endurance.  This can really change my outlook on goals for the 2009 season.

First of all, the assault of Lake Desolation Road will likely come early in the season rather than later.  I was so keyed on having the endurance to do the 3.5 hour ride that I didn’t work enough on my aerobic/anaerobic capacity.  I don’t think I was that far off from it; if I can work in some hard efforts on the road – do some good climbing repeats – I will be in good shape to tackle the beast.

Secondly, if I want to do the MHCC Century in September, I won’t have a training conflict.  I can spend the rest of the season after the Desolation climb building up longer endurance.  This year I was able to do a de facto unsupported metric century on my long rides.

As coach Troy says, an hour on the trainer is worth two on the road.  I will affirm that statement with the more “Aerobically Correct” rides on the trainer – there is no let up in the effort; no slowing down for intersections or turn around points.  I’m putting the engine out on the test track.  It’s time to heat up that resistance unit.


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