Winter Training Fun

5 Dec

With arctic air  blowing in from the north and a good 6-8 inches of snow on the ground, I finally relented and gave the bike trainer a whirl.  Certainly not the most fun way to ride a bike, but the room temperature is a welcome change from fighting the wind.  I hope that we will have a few nice days in a row to warm things up again, but doesn’t look like that will be this week.  Oh well, wait long enough in Denver and you will have the 70 degree winter day!

Last year I tried to pass the time by either watching Flight of the Conchords or documentaries streaming on Netflix, with the occasional iPod playlist thrown in.  I found that I missed too much dialog or just had too much slow-paced information thrown at me to keep things interesting.  I did not have much more luck with the documentaries.  I’m kidding, I actually loved Flight of the Conchords!  Murray, the band’s manager, or Jemaine’s awkwardness were my favorite things from the show.

 

To change that all up this year – or at least for the next few weeks – I’ll be watching race videos provided by Steve Downs, a cyclist from the Madison, WI area.  I found his whole setup brilliant, and enjoyed watching some Tour of America’s Dairyland footage.

Crit with real-time race data way more fun than watching old dvds (as fun as that can be sometimes!)

He raced this past season with a camera mounted on his handlebar, and then also has the video synched with his power meter and heart-rate monitor.  Now, that might sound incredibly boring to those who do not geek out on bike stuff, but I’ve found almost as enlightening as actually racing.  I can see all the action going on around him, while at the same time seeing what kind of effort and speed he is putting in (shown to the side and below of the video).  This is useful because I get a feel for what the race looks like and where the hard efforts actually happen.  My idea, at least to start with, is to watch the race while I’m on the trainer and match that effort.  I don’t have a power meter, so I have no idea about my actual watts, but when the power bar on the left of the screen turns red, I pedal harder.  Pretty simple!  Also by watching the other riders coast, go into corners, etc., I have a good idea of where to ride harder.  I do play music over all this, because the accompanying sound is basically a lot of wind and whirring of bike cassettes.  I like that in real life, but I’ll take advantage of the stereo while I have it!

My rec room

Liz and I got a magnetic trainer a couple years ago, and it has done the trick so far.  I sometimes crave the diversity of exercises that a gym offers, but working out at home is a time-saver.  For now, I’ll play around with this current training setup, and then hopefully sometime after the new year get back outside more to ride.  I’m shooting to generally ride around a half an hour or less because much more than that gets really tedious, and really sweaty!  I could bring our cattle barn-strength fan up from the basement, but the whole production is cumbersome enough that a towel will have to suffice.

On Saturday Denver 38, my cycling team, had its year-end celebration.  Liz and I had a great time getting to know the others better, and I look forward to getting kitted up later this winter.  I’ve started looking at some different races starting in mid- to late spring, but have no formal plans yet.  I hope to sit down and map things out soon, at least to get an idea of how much I could race if I wanted to.  I also want to avoid burn-out, as well as paying too many race entry fees, so I would like to be somewhat deliberate in my selection.  We shall see…

Are you still reading, dear reader?  Good work if you’ve made it this far!  I have a tendency to ramble on about training, which is usually not exciting for anyone.  As a reward, I will talk about the Denver Broncos!  Are you familiar with this whole “Tebowing” phenomena?  It’s striking a prayerful pose on one knee, ala Tim Tebow.  Well, I actually think the definition of this should be habitually overachieving at sporting endeavors that seemingly should not happen based on visually-perceived skill, or lack thereof.  (I can’t take total credit for that, because I know Liz and I talked about this with another friend, but can’t remember who right now), but I would like to put it out there for the world to think about.  And if that’s my definition of Tebowing, then I plan on doing that A LOT during next year’s racing season!

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