Richard Nelson

Archive for the ‘indoor cycling’ Category

Smooth bike drills

In indoor cycling on 2007 October 10 Wednesday at 01:00:00

Tonight was a short but hard workout, 45 minutes or so of very smooth cycling drills with speed intervals thrown in. The new plan is to put as much power into the up stroke as the down stroke, producing an even hum. The new technique works certain muscles harder than before.



In indoor cycling, swimming on 2007 March 17 Saturday at 22:52:00

Tuesday evening (March 13; I won’t remark on the number!) I had my first swimming lesson since my knee surgery.

I felt great. It wasn’t just the joy of working out; it was that my kicking felt so much better. My vertical kick, never that bad, was suddenly better. With better kicking (as any fan of Terry Laughlin’s Total Immersion technique knows) comes better body positioning which means better (or at least easier) swimming. (See the Wikipedia article on TI for a good summary of the criticisms of TI.)

About midway through our hour my knee began to hurt, and we switched to drills using a pullbuoy. But it was too late; after a week of wonderful recovery, my knee has been sore since. I took a couple of days off, and since then I’ve resumed light cycling. Yesterday I did another session of Coach Kelvin’s Triathlete Swim Training but only for half an hour. For one thing, trying to do stroke drills with a pullbuoy is (for me) nothing less than comical. I’ve also been babying the knee, spending hours each day alternating heat and cold.

I biked easily 40 minutes today (watching the last two stages of the 2004 Giro d’Italia on DVD). I think I’ll do an hour tomorrow, and then I fly to Los Angeles for a week of meetings with my client.

The week in Los Angeles I’ll be staying at the Doubletree Hotel Carson Civic Plaza (sic), whose pool I’ve described before. But an alternative to the Doubletree’s modest facilities is a brand-new 24 Hour Fitness facility about a mile from the hotel. The building looked great from the outside in January, but its home page doesn’t mention the pool I thought it had. Anyway, my plan is to swim a bit, pool-run a bit, walk a bit, and maybe even *gasp* run a bit. As with so much: We’ll see.

Back in the saddle …

In indoor cycling on 2007 March 12 Monday at 20:03:00

First, an apology for using a cliché as my title; I couldn’t think of anything else.

Second, the pic is also just the best I could find. I’m not female, I don’t have long hair, and I was riding my old Trek 2200 (a diamond-frame road bike) on a Tacx Flow ergotrainer, but …

for the first time in six days, I worked out. And, to my pleasant surprise, my refurbished knee didn’t complain; indeed, it liked it!

Forza, Emanuele!

In indoor cycling, training on 2007 March 1 Thursday at 21:28:00

Did my bike work-out on the trainer, continuing to watch the DVD of the 2004 Giro d’Italia. I’ve not enjoyed the abridged Giro coverage as much as the four-hour-per-stage live coverage (as I noted a couple of days ago), but today I watched Emanuele Sella take his first win as a pro on the 11th stage (in Pantani’s hometown of Cesena), and it was exciting and inspiring. I couldn’t find any English-language sites on him, but you can visit his fan club here.

One amusing thing about watching a bike race while I work out on a trainer is that when the cyclists are doing tight corners I lean with them! Could be a bit scary, if I leaned too much!

The work-out was ok. Coach Steve asked me to “Cycle speed – 60″ total with 2 x 10″ tempo (4″R I)”. I did a very, very easy 15-min warm-up, then worked hard for 10 min, then did a 5-min rest interval (just so the times were even), did another 10 min hard, and a final 20 min easy.

The first interval was awful. My legs, particularly my thighs, were screaming. I wondered what Alison had done to me. And I couldn’t get my HR into the tempo territory of high 130s and low 140s. Indeed, I don’t think it ever went over 125. But the second interval was completely different—power over 200 W, HR well into the 140s, and my legs didn’t hurt.

I wondered if my warm-up was too easy.

I’m dreaming of a magnetic Christmas!

In indoor cycling, training on 2006 December 26 Tuesday at 14:10:00

What did I want for Christmas? What else but a better instrument of torture? Thus it was that on Saturday, Monado & I went to the Bicicletta (“the bike store of hopes and dreams”!) in Toronto’s North Fairbanks neighbourhood, and bought me a Tacx Flow trainer.

I’ve ridden about 40 or 50 “miles” on it over the last few days. It’s more stable, has a better display, and is more, well, usable, than my previous trainer. I put the old trainer on the boulevard (i.e., strip of grass between sidewalk and curb) in front of our house, and it was gone in about 24 hours.

Candidly, I was at least partly upsold by Henry at the Bicicletta. I’d been sent there by Coach Steve, because his “athletes” allegedly enjoy a discount. Henry pointed out that the Flow can be upgraded with various data-collection and VR add-ons; in aid of this upselling, I mounted a bike on an uprated Tacx and “biked” along some road in Europe, with (and this is really the best part) the resistance on the trainer changing as the “grade” of the road changed. I’ll admit it was cool. Now if only I could have a DVD of the Ironman Wisconsin course!

There’s a video game–like version that you use to steer a CGI cyclist along a CGI road; with the appropriate attachments, you “steer”; for fun, I “steered” my avatar into a wall. 🙂 It didn’t hurt a bit—unlike my last fall.


In indoor cycling, training on 2006 October 28 Saturday at 17:37:00

Friday I was finally back on the Road of Iron. Not sure what exactly is wrong. Coach Steve posited that I’d use a lot of energy recovering from my wounds (to recap: a lot of skin rubbed off, still under Compeed bandages; bruises up and down my left side, metastasized to my right!). Considering that I’m not working out, it seems odd that I’m so tired all the time.


Friday evening, watching SportsCentre and That’s Hockey on the Sports Network, I mounted my bike on the trainer, and did what Coach Steve actually prescribed for Thursday. (Friday was to be a swim day, but still missing a few square inches of skin, I don’t want to expose myself to highly chlorinated water!) That is, I did an hour—yes, a full, honest hour—on the trainer, and did the six 30-s one-leg drills (that is, twelve drills altogether).

One of my favourite magazines, Cycling Plus asked if what they call turbo trainers were “instruments of turture”. They decided no, of course; but there’s something weirdly enervating about riding on a trainer.

Do I have a good trainer? I have the cheapest trainer I could buy from Performance Bicycle. It seems to work fine, though the controller is pretty basic.

Do I have the right technique? I had the trainer at its lowest level, which I still find harder than riding on a windless flat road, and I was in the big ring. I think I may not have been spinning enough; after the hour, my legs were sore, but I rarely got my heart rate above 100.

Of course, I’m delaying now. We have wind warnings (gusts up to 100 km/h!), the roads are wet and covered with leaves, and it’s chilly (about 6°C). A good day to use the trainer. And if I°m not on the trainer really, really soon, I won°t get the two hours of base pace done before I can get to the gym before it closes at 18:00. Sigh.

Update: Well, I didn’t make it. I managed 40 min on the trainer, and that was all. No energy, no mental toughness—I admit it. Did some errands, and I’m irritable, my throat is tight—oh, oh, that damned virus again.

And the weather is nowhere near as awful as Environment Canada forecast. The wind’s not bad at all. The Weather Channel is forecasting a strong breeze from the west tomorrow morning—but nowhere near the storm EC was warning us of.