Saturday, January 31, 2009

January Wrap Up

January turned out to be a rather pivotal month as trainer riding finally 'clicked' for me. A few things contributed to that, primarily my determination to keep a positive attitude, road conditions that did not allow safe outside riding and the discovery of a fairly local computrainer multiride center. Besides reading about bloggers going through similar efforts to keep riding, it's helped enormously that Jeff is doing the trainer as well as ride buddies ribuck and Lynn, who just bought her first trainer this month.

At the start of January, I had it in mind that I'd try to do 500 miles, though I wasn't sure that would be feasible on the trainer. Turns out, it was about right!

Out of 27 days of riding, 25 were done on the trainer. I feel so relieved that I managed to check off my January metric century on what was probably the *only* possible day for it! I did 83.65 miles outside and 466.39 on the trainer for a total of 550.04 miles.

Since the week also ends today, I'll report that I did 6 days of riding and 116.81 miles. It doesn't look like much yet, but since I don't have a picture for today's post I'll show you my graph for 2009 miles by week, just getting started. I love seeing the lines grow!

For February, I want to keep up the frequent rides and work more with the training dvd's and features that come with computrainer we've ordered. I want to get some of the CTS ones I've tried at the shop to use at home too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can do 2/12 of the Metric Century a Month Challenge!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is it a frozen pond?

No, it's actually my driveway. See why I'm not biking outside? This makes the trainer look great!

Saffy found the one small patch of ground and stood there squinting in the bright sun and snow glare. Silas is a bit foolish and trots and slides around on the ice.

I think I need an ice ax and crampons...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another New (to me) DVD

At tonight's group computrainer ride we followed the CTS Train right - Race Simulation DVD. We had to chase breakaways and climb hills, surging at the tops! I think that's the most I've sweat on the trainer so far!

It's really inspiring to ride with other people and it's amazing to me that one of those people is training for Race Across America (RAAM). If you want to learn about Jim's plans and donate to his race you can read all about it here. He owns Village Bicycle and has made the group computrainer rides possible.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's Ordered!

Since having the opportunity to try out a computrainer, it wasn't a question of whether we would get one, but when. Waiting did not seem at all appealing considering we still have a lot of winter to get through (more snow tonight!). I'm not sure who is more excited about the computrainer, Jeff or myself! I suppose it's pretty sadistic to be so pleased about a trainer that's going to make us work harder than the one we have, but I think anyone who reads my blog understands.

The company that makes them is Racer Mate and we picked the lab version.

We showed a small amount of restraint by not expediting the shipping, so it may be a week or so until we have it. You can be certain you'll see pics (*not* taken from the angle shown in the ads!) and hear all about it when it comes!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Blow Out Week

I've done 2 group computrainer sessions this week. Wednesday, Jeff went with me. The profile was set on an easy course with minimal hills and trending downhill overall (Whidbey Island) and the dvd was a CTS climbing workout. Because the course was relatively flat, we could follow the dvd and change our cadence and effort as needed. It was a fun way to use the computrainer, though I also like just following a course like I did before.

Friday, I did the CTS cycling for fitness interval workout while on the same course as Wednesday's ride.

Jeff and I have been using our old tires on the trainer so we don't wear down new ones. Well, apparently other people do that too and when we were setting up on Wednesday we heard that some one's tire had blown earlier in the day. They told us it made a ticking noise before it blew. That turned out to be valuable information later on! Jeff's wheel starting ticking, he stopped pedaling and we all looked with dismay at how deformed his tire was! He got off his bike and let the air out right away and spared us having to hear the bang. One of the mechanics had a new tire on the wheel in no time and Jeff was able to continue his workout.

It turned out that the shop was getting trainer specific tires in stock the next day, so I planned to pick up one for each of us at my Friday session.

Friday, I got the new tires and one of the mechanics quickly put it on my wheel over my old tube. Well, maybe the tube was pinched a little, or there was sand or it was just old. A few minutes into my session, the bike felt bouncy and as I was looking to see if the front tire was flat and slowed my rpms, I heard tick, tick, tried hard to stop the wheel, but it immediately went BOOM under me. Ack! I'm glad that happened in the trainer and not outside! I'll bet it shows up on my heart rate graph! The new tire was fine, but the tube had a big hole in it. The mechanic did a quick tube change and I was back on the bike for the rest of the workout.

I've also done 4 rides at home on the Kinetic, but Thursday's ride was only 30 minutes. My legs felt heavy and I just wanted to loosen them up a little and have them ready for Friday's group ride. I did a total of 103.37 miles this week. Today is my recovery day unless I get restless later!

You can probably tell that Jeff and I are smitten with the computrainer. We are seriously thinking about buying one for home use...maybe very soon! They are expensive, but occasionally we get something big for both of us that counts for all the little holidays and birthdays and most of Christmas, all at once. I'll let you know as soon as we decide for sure!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weekly Stats

I rode 6 days, 124.46 miles, all on the trainer. I've had a rest today, so I can start a new week fresh tomorrow!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Kicking Trainer Riding Up a Notch!

I could get used to computrainer time at Village Bicycle! I tried it for the first time today, thanks to ribuck talking me into it and giving me a ride there. It seems a little harder since I work more in front of people than alone in my house and the resistance changes according to your progress on the profile. Fortunately, the time goes faster with people around and the data to watch.

Here's the data screen showing me in red after I finished my ride. (Don't be too impressed, a few of the guys had been through another workout already today!)

Here's the set up with the race DVD on the left screen and the data on the right. The trainers are arrayed in front of the screens with a couple of oscillating fans aimed at the riders.

I'm looking forward to going back!

Edited to add: Locations of computrainer setups, in case you want to try to find one near you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Trainer Convert

I think some of you are curious where I have my trainer set up and how I am getting motivated to use it, so I thought I'd write a little post to tell you.

Where it is set up has a lot to do with motivating me to use it. It's in our front hall, but practically in the living room thanks to a double doorway. There is a good view of the TV from it. It doesn't get put away. I've been leaving it there all the time with either my bike or Jeff's bike on it. It's unavoidable that way and seeing it there makes us use it. We generally lower the heat a little for our riding, but it's pretty warm. We wear summer kit and still sweat buckets. I have a towel over my bike and a towel for my face. I have a fan aimed at me too.

Jeff and I have made a deal that we will encourage each other to do workouts. Jeff's good about putting my bike back on the trainer for me after he rides his, so I don't have any excuses. When he rides, I bring him water, increase the fan as he warms up and adjust the TV volume so he can just pedal. If we had more space, it would probably be fun to have two trainers.

Stopping negative references to trainer time has helped me too. I figure if I recite 'trainer time is fun!' often enough I might just start to believe myself. Well, maybe not, but thinking about the benefits of it helps. For example, I am suffering less from cabin fever as a result of the workouts. I guess I get too tired on the trainer to care that I can't do much outside this time of year! I also think about how I won't have to start over when spring comes in terms of saddle soreness and base miles.

Movies are great. I can't watch new ones as I miss a lot of dialog and details, but I like watching ones I've seen before. It's mainly about watching the images changing in front of me without really thinking about it. A Good Year, Under the Tuscan Sun, Across the Universe are some non bike ones I've watched in addition to the Dr. Who series.

I want to get some bike DVDs that are fun to watch over and over. So far I've gotten The 9 Ball Diaries which I really like and wish was a bit longer than 50 minutes for trainer riding.

Do you have any favorite bike movies/races you can watch repeatedly on the trainer? I'd love any recommendations!

I have the Spinervals DVD that came 'free' with the trainer. It's three 30 minute workouts. I haven't done it properly yet as I need a new battery for my cadence sensor (hopefully that will fix it!). Jeff's done it right though and he likes it. I think I will get a couple more from that series, like the climbing one.

I think I've moved past the 'white knuckle' phase of trainer workouts. I started the year daunted by the trainer and worried about my ability to stick with it, but the trainer time is becoming a habit for me and not something to dread so much! I am doing rides of varied length and intensity for 1-1:35 hrs, so far. I might do some shorter, really hard efforts at some point. I worry that I might not be working as hard as I should! I might be able to go a bit longer too, but I want to be careful not to burn out, so I'm not going to push the time for now.

I'm only a beginner at this, so I'll continue to look for trainer workout help on blogs and welcome any input from you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Dog Days of .. Winter?

I am doing well with my trainer rides, but they do not make interesting blog fodder! When I am posting infrequently, you can always check for signs of life in my sidebar where you will see an increase in my trainer mileage total after each workout.

We don't have much snow, but what we do have is hard and icy and treacherous. The dogs definitely have an advantage when we go out as they flair their toes and dig in with their toenails. Their exercise is undisrupted and they are very fit and strong. Their favorite activity is tug-o-war.

I am the referee and sometimes I have to step on the old flattened football and call a time out. Don't be fooled by these big puppy eyes...Silas gets the most penalties! He gets time outs for putting a paw high on Saffy's neck and shoving and for rough body checking.

Despite an ominous, gray sky, there was no precipitation earlier today.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Quick Weekly Update

This week, I did 2 outside rides/83.65 miles and 4 trainer rides/69.09 miles. So, 152.74 miles in all.

Our weather forecast is a real blast of winter with snow coming tonight and cold temps all week. Between road conditions and cold, it's likely I'll be on the trainer for awhile. Fortunately, I have a much better attitude about using the trainer this year!

Monday, January 5, 2009

1/12 Carpe Diem

I have been so worried about having good enough road conditions for my January Metric Century Challenge ride! I wanted to get out there for it on the first possible day. I checked and compared three weather forecasts last night and was feeling optimistic about getting an outdoor ride today, maybe even the century. I decided that if I was able to go around my short loop once, I'd do laps of it 'til I got the necessary mileage. I know it's not adventurous, but felt I had to not be choosy about a route and just do it. It was wet, quite slushy in spots and windy. Fortunately the temps weren't bad, about 40F. I rode my cx bike and decided at the outset to just go at a comfortable pace (I'm good at 'saving' myself, must get better about working harder!). It took a long time and as the temps dropped in the last hour, my soggy legs got cold and I was getting stiff around my neck and shoulders as my collar let a draft in. My right foot had gotten wet in the first 3 miles, so that was very cold and my pedaling got pretty slow. But hey, it's January and I got in a big outside ride. It's more miles in my legs and there's lots of room for improvement! So, I'm not going to complain any more about it! Actually I'm pretty happy about it and enjoyed being out there =)

Here's the elevation profile for the ride. You can see my repeated laps...

January Metric Century
63.47 miles
4:38 hours
13.7 mph average
I didn't get off the bike at all, though I did pause to make a quick phone call once. I did dab and shuffle over some icy bits, straddling the bike still. So, no real breaks.
Felt good 'til the cold started to really get to me for that last hour.
Oh, probably should have eaten something! Only drank a Gatorade.

This pic shows the trickiest bit and it was very dim like this for the whole ride.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Trainer Time

This week straddled the New Year with 4 days in December and 3 in January. To finish up December, I did 3 outdoor rides, 67.54 miles.

Along with the New Year, we've entered the coldest, snowiest part of a southern New England winter and the roads have not been bikeable. Fortunately, I have a nice Kinetic trainer and though I've neglected it in the past, I am determined to make good use of it this year. I've been on it for 3 days of January so far, 52.66 miles.

So, 120.20 miles total for the week.

With the roads truly too risky outside, I actually feel pretty good about riding the trainer. I set myself up in front of the TV and pop in a disk. (I'm working my way through Season 4 of Dr. Who to start.) It's refreshing to wear summer kit. I guess this is gross, but it feels cleansing to sweat so much though I did put the fan on for today's ride. So far, I haven't followed a specific workout. I've just worked my way up through the gears, increasing my effort and heart rate every 10 minutes and then worked my way back down, trying to keep a steady cadence around 90. I pulled out a couple of books/mags with trainer workouts today with aspirations of trying some cadence and one legged drills, etc, in the coming weeks. I want to make sure I get the most out of the time I spend on the trainer!

Although I'm off to a good start with the trainer this year, I am looking forward to getting some outdoor miles too. I hope it warms up soon to melt the snow off the sides of the roads!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Wrap Up

This year was about making myself recover from a rough beginning. It's a little sad to look back at the first 6 months of '08 and see how little riding I did. There are such big holes in my graph. On the other hand, I'm proud of having pulled out of the slump!

The holes in the graph correlate to the death of my grandmother in January, a nasty flu and then basically moping for much of the summer over my loss of fitness. Finally, after a few false starts, I revved up for real at the end of July. 12 weeks later, I started feeling really good again!

Here's my table of mileage by month, showing 162 rides and a total of 4,236.81 miles.

This chart shows the distribution of my miles by week. You can see where I built up, peaking with a 265.16 mile week.

A Few More Stats
Road Bike Rides: 96
CX Bike Rides: 62
Mtn Bike Rides: 4
Solo Rides: 75
Rides with Jeff: 67
Group* Rides: 52
*at least one other person, not including Jeff

Looking ahead, I just have a couple very generalized goals. I want a more even distribution of miles throughout the year with two peaks, one in late spring/early summer and one in fall/early winter. I will ease up in the winter and in the hot, muggy part of summer. I want to do some trail rides on the mountain bike. We have to drive to get to trails, so that's been the drawback, but I miss the woods! I pretty much just want to keep having fun on the bike, enjoying the scenery, company of friends and feeling the benefits of exercising. My one specific goal is to complete a metric century a month!

Good luck on all your endeavors in the new year!

Edited to add:
The weather was dismal outside, but I had to start the new year with some pedaling. I set up the trainer and did an hour, 16.19 miles.