The trainer season has officially begun. I really can feel my lungs are not 100 % in shape (more likely 45%), not to talk about my legs, but so far so good. 2 easy workouts behind, and I'm starting to believe I can start training seriously in some weeks. Frustrating to be forced to take it really easy, but there are no shortcuts here.
Before riding indoors, you need to clean your bike, so that's what I did on Friday. The Park Tools CM5 Cyclone Chain Cleaner is a really neat gadget to clean your chain. Just add some degreaser and you're good to go.
For you who are wondering about the trainer I use and how I motivate myself to ride indoors, stay tuned, I'll share some tips on that next week!
It's the time of the year when it's dark when you go to work in the morning and dark when you come back home in the afternoon. Especially up here in northern Europe you really need to compensate those lost sunny hours with vitamins. Today I filled my vitamin reserves with some more vitamin C, D, B and fish oil. I've decided I'll jump on the trainer tomorrow. That means cleaning up the bike properly today.
Looking out the window, it still doesn't look like we would be a month from getting out with our bikes. Actually that doesn't worry me too much. Training indoors on my trainer is not half as bad as the previous years, so make it a month and a half and I'm not worried at all ;) A week has gone again and this week included some progress at the gym, added on some weights as the power training phase approaches. Otherwise I've been eating and making some nice workouts on the trainer. Next week will end the last base training plan, and Sunday will include a FTP progress test before stepping into the first power build phase. Really looking forward to do that test. Meanwhile I'll enjoy the rest of the day watching Biathlon and rocking on that trainer.
Today was the first off season test to illustrate the real outcome of the training so far. I was hoping for an additional 5-8 watts to my FTP, and in my mind I was a bit worried about the big break in December. I also had increased the amount of training lately and had slightly sore legs before the training.
In the first couple of minutes I felt pretty uncomfortable and it took me a while to find the right position on the bike. A couple of heavy but short intervals made the heart beat quite hard and I felt the legs weren't fresh. But as the first of the 8 minute intervals began I felt pretty strong, and in a couple of minutes I gained a lot of self confidence, all of a sudden it felt pretty good. And that feeling kept going all the way trough the workout.
And it all ended with an FTP that was actually 15 watts above the previous. So in a month my training, both gym and riding the bike had increased my Watt/Kg by 0,36. Yes, I am pleased, and this is the part of training that will keep you motivated to train even harder.
This again proves the huge gains about actually tracking what you do and having a training plan. There are few things in life that compares with that feeling when you realize you actually are much better than just a couple of weeks ago, or you achieve a goal that you tried to reach for a long time. I warmly recommend all of you, even if you're "just running on your spare time" to track your running, use a heart rate device and you'll understand what I'm talking about.
I also spoke with Kjell Carlström today, Team IAM Cycling directeur sportif and ex professional pro tour cyclist. Really interesting stuff with building up a new team. That team sure has a lot of potential, will be really interesting to follow them! Unfortunately their webpages are in French only, but they should be updating them soon. And you'll find Team IAM Cycling on Facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/IAMcycling
Tomorrow new week, new possibilities, take them and enjoy them!
Indoor training, rolling on a trainer is maybe one of the biggest downsides in cycling, which comes forced by the nature when living in Northern Europe. Even if this fall hasn't been snowy, it's still not safe to head out on those icy roads riding on 23mm wide tires with only lycra covering your body. Pushing your limits indoors with fans trying to keep your bodytemperature at even humane levels is far from pleasant. Cycling is about suffering, yes, but still it's hard to get yourself on that bike when you know it will be uncomfortable as heck.
But something came to change indoor cycling last fall. Trainerroadcreated an application that communicated with any ant+ device, and by connecting your computer, your ant+ cycling computer and all of its components you all of a sudden had a full trainer application on your TV. The guys at Trainerroad took the experience even further. As we know, cycling training today is all about the power your legs produce, and how long you can maintain certain efforts. Therefore Trainerroad even brought pretty accurate power calculation to users without ant+ power meters. I myself use the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and I am hugely greatful of this feature!
Getting started (click to open website)
Bike attached to the trainer, in front of a 46" Sony running Trainerroad appAs if this wouldn't be great enough, the guys at Trainerroad even brought you your own personal trainer. The site provides you with both full training plans, according to your own personal level (that increase during your progress) and single and free workouts. And "of course" you can compare your own efforts with other users'. The software (both mac and pc) can be runned simultaneously on top of video, so you can ride while watching a movie or a cycling video (and now even synced with sufferfest workouts!).
Crossing the Attu bridge this summer, now doing it from my livingroomSo you get the software, all pre set-workouts, training plans, power calculations, user profile (career). All this at a cost of $10/month. One can wonder if this is not only the greatest thing ever happened to indoor training, but also the greatest value for money in any category of training.
Searching and previewing workouts is really easy
Workouts are immediately saved and uploaded when done
I strongly recommend this application for all cyclist, whether you are professional or just riding for fun. I'm more of the riding for fun- kind of cyclist, and now I'm training almost every day according to a professional plan, and yes, I'm really enjoying it! Beating the workout power averages is great, but beating your fellow cyclists out on the road is priceless! Hence $10/month for outpowering someone on the road is nothing.
So, if you can't stop the Winter, you at least can try to make the most out of it. Recently, thanks to a friend of mine, I found this neat page, TrainerRoad.com. As a cyclist in these northern latitudes, the indoor bike-trainer-season is pretty long, but this site and the software it provides will hopefully make the season a bit more interesting. It'll provide you with approximate watt results, and all the information you can get from your ant+ cycling computer. All you need is a usb ant+ stick and you can pair the TrainerRoad software on your computer with the ant+ products (watt meter,heart rate monitors etc.). And one without a power meter can use the VirtualPower system, that will give you a watt reading on the screen. What is neat about this, is that I train in front of my TV, and since I now can connect my computer via HDMI to the TV, I can now watch my training data from the TV at the same time I'm watching for instance a cycling workout video. How cool is that!? I'll let you know how this all works as soon as I've put my ass down on that trainer!
Click to open the TrainerRoad website to read more
This is what the ant+ usb stick looks like. As for a finnish citizen iI found the cheapest sticks on Probikekit.com, some 40€ (click the picture to open the location)
Check also out the video about TrainerRoad:
I also spoke about some new stuff on the page. And as I sat down last week I realized it could be nice to share some info about the stuff I read and the gear I use. So from now on you can find some descriptions about the cycling gear I use, and have used along with the literature (Readings) about cycling and training that I've read or currently read. Check them out!