Posts Tagged trainer
To my faithful readers, I ain’t dead.
For some reason, this winter has been a rough one. Particularly January with double the normal snowfall and decidedly below average temps. Add to that December’s hit parade of high intensity trainer workouts, and you have a recipe for trainer burnout. For a 3 week stretch I begrudgingly rode once or twice a week, skipped weights often and found reasons to avoid riding.
The trend is reversing as of late – at least I have enough motivation to write another post. This past week saw a long-overdo thaw before returning to the freezer. Being that it is now late February, there is at least some hope on the horizon. The distance to Spring can be counted in weeks, not months.
Along with this refreshing of spirit, I have shelved the mind-bending anaerobic pain cave workouts for something entirely mundane; the zen of the Tempo ride. For the longest time, I treated them as a necessary chore to throw in once in a while; a mental test of holding a moderate pace for an hour. Out of my recent doldrums I decided to give them a revisit.
Now after my warm up and stretch, I begin a 45-60 minute ride at a moderate pace (a 5 or 6 out of 10). That pace is good for 12-15 minutes. In that time, my engine gets fully up to temperature and I get comfortable. Then I step up the effort level to a 7-7.5/10. This is a high aerobic effort, but I can hold it for a long time without drifting anaerobic. Holding this effort level for a solid 15-20 minutes really does the trick.
I know that this time of year is for base building and I think I get it now. I was upside down; instead of rides with high intensity spins and killer anaerobic intervals dominating my schedule, I am now committed to the opposite. No fewer than 2 (preferably 3) Tempo rides for every interval workout. I need to keep the intervals in there to keep some power level around for Spring, but being able to go for a long ride out of the gate once it warms up is more important to me.
I did “Downward Spiral” today. A solid hour on the pain train. I hate it while I’m in the middle of it, but love the results it gives me.
Sufferfest is rough
makes me forget cold weather
I love and hate you
A thought crackled through my brain as I was looking at the weather forecast for this week.
“I do better on the Trainer”
I utter this in the middle of July? What the Hell am I thinking? The trainer is supposed to be the embodiment of a tortuous, monotony-filled, claustrophobic bore-fest of a winter season that seemingly drags on forever. I should be reveling in the delights of a summer season filled with new personal bests, long rides pushing up against 3 hours and the occasional unsupported metric century.
The reality: I have been doing about two rides a week since Memorial Day. My fitness has taken a big hit and my weight is creeping up (slowly, thank God). Most of last summer and into the current one my riding has become increasingly sporadic. Goals go out the window and I’m happy just to get something in.
The irony is that during the winter my rides on the Trainer are scheduled out. I can say with a high degree of certainty that I will do 3 rides every week, and occasionally a bonus one. Also, I’m realizing that the quick weight workout I do after trainer rides is more beneficial that I thought. The loss of tone is really evident even if the strength losses themselves are moderate.
The solution? Difficult to say; “ride more” is easier said than done apparently. I may need to change focus to shorter rides so I can get home from work, do a short (under an hour) ride with a little intensity and still have time to do the other things that may have gotten in the way. To draw the TdF analogy, now I’m hunting for stage wins.
So, I haven’t posted in a few weeks and that’s OK. We’ve had some odd weather here lately and it affected the rides I was able to take.
We had a stretch of well-above average temps toward the end of March, so I got off of the trainer and got back outside to try and get some endurance back. I scheduled a Spring tune up at the LBS and it all looked good.
I get our bikes back and the temps drop and the rains arrive. Fantastic. I get new tires mounted and I have to ride the trainer again. Ugh. Fortunately I only did 3 rides on the trainer before the weather turned and now I’m back on the road for the season. In fact, I just completed a three day stretch of good rides.
My new tires for this year are Continental Gatorskins. The initial verdict is a B+. They give a comfortable ride, but they could be livelier. Definitely a training tire. I have them at 110 psi, but I think I actually want a harsher ride out of them so the next rides will have them up to 115. People rave about the puncture resistance and the sidewall reinforcement is immediately obvious. It’s too early to tell if that’s true, but I have been able to avoid flats on any tire I’ve used for the last 4 years or so. I’m sure by May I will know how much I miss the old 4000s.
The spring tune up also included a drive train cleaning. That thing looks brand freaking new. I couldn’t believe how good it looked. wow. I actually wondered if they replaced the cassette and chain.
Mrs. Stallion’s bike also got a tune up. Now, it’s an old Huffy but all bikes Great and Small deserve to be in good riding shape. To her great credit she has been riding the trainer more and more in addition to other exercises. In fact, she went for a ride around a route we checked out over the winter. It’s about a 7-8 mile route she can loop around.
When she got back from the ride we were discussing how it went. She told me that the gears shifted much better since the tune up. In fact, she noticed early on in the ride that the LBS returned the bike shifted on to the small front chainring. To which she replied, “I ride in the big ring, bitches!”.
It’s going to be a good year.
When I’m out on the road, I have a good sense of where I want to ride. There are times when I get to an intersection and, depending on how I’m feeling and the weather conditions, I’ll take a different direction than what I had planned.
It’s that time of year now when that change of direction becomes a metaphor for whether or not I go anywhere when I turn the pedals. It’s a colder than usual October here, and I’m desperately checking the long range forecasts for anything above 52°F and a wind less than 15mph. I’m not having much luck.
I was all psyched to gain a calendar advantage with a riding vest. I was able to use it only once so far. It has not only been cold, but very windy and rainy. The one ride was successful, but it was almost two weeks ago.
I have stated before that I ride for fitness and for fun. To me, riding in a cold rain while pushing the red line so I can go 12mph into a stiff headwind is not fun. The other side of the coin here is that I can turn this all around by calling it a season and moving indoors to ride on the trainer.
Is this that much of a decision? I can eliminate weather as a factor and get in three solid workouts every week. No more numb fingers and toes, no more chasing ever-waning daylight, no more feeling guilty that – while my appetite has not lessened – my caloric expenditure has.
I think I know what I should be doing, but I’m fighting it – for now. I should just pay attention to the signs; there’s only one way to go.
I could take the low road. I could go on about Tyler, the weather, my weight, work and countless other things bringing me down. But I don’t.
I choose to believe that this will be a good week. I should get my bike back from the shop, running in top condition (such as it is). The weather for the end of the week looks to be awesome, and I plan on getting in some quality time on my new tires – Conti GP 4000 700x25s.
I think I have had one of my better trainer seasons (thanks Sufferfest); my first forays on to the pavement have been better than in years past. Now that the true outdoor weather is upon me, it’s time to build up the endurance. So far, it’s only been two hours for the longest ride. That needs to go up to three hours soon.
This is a weird time for me bike-wise. I can’t ride at all; I only have the one bike, and while I do enjoy long walks with my wife (around an hour long), they don’t have the same calorie expenditure.
I choose to think about training for my goals for this year. I want to do the Mohawk-Hudson Century in September. For various reasons, I haven’t ridden it since my first time in 2006. I have no doubt I will do better this time. I’m in better condition and my endurance by that time of the season will easily be better than it was in 2006. Last year my longest rides were about 65 miles, or as I liked to call them, unsupported metric centuries.
Of course, I intend to climb Lake Desolation Road without unclipping like I did last time. I will need to do more hill repeats to train for it, but I feel better prepared for it mentally. I did not defeat me last year, it just made me more determined.
These are the positive thoughts I will dwell upon in the upcoming days. There is much to be looking forward to. I get my bike back, Fleche-Wallone, Liege Bastogne Liege. I’m not gonna let life get me down. It’s gonna be a good week.
Much like the classics going from San Remo to Belgium and northern France, the weather here has gone from a smattering of 60+ °F sunny days to a solid week and a half of 40-45 °F and overcast and rainy.
The result of this is getting back on the trainer. Man, it is hard to get motivated for this! After riding around outside on worn, mismatched tires a few times, it’s tough to go in place for an hour. It’s that time when I scan the forecast to look for a break when I can take my bike to the LBS for its annual tune-up. Just before the weather gets consistently warm enough to say goodbye to the trainer for another season.