Monday, January 31

Cycling: Pre-Season Update

Pre-season training has another two solid months to go. I'm aiming to peak in June, so my intensity still isn't too high. Twice a week, I'm scheduled for only two workouts with any high intensity effort, the rest is still devoted to building endurance. A few weeks ago, I obtained a new spinner (Indoor cycle) to train on, a CycleOps PT300. This is the first time I've had "real" power measurements as I train. I thought I'd share a few observations about the bike and winter training in Chicago.
  • At teammate of mine advised me not to take long winter rides when the temperature was below 32 to avoid bronchitis (which has plagued me in previous seasons). I'm trying that, so I've ridden inside a lot this year.
  • Thank goodness for the wonders of the "Complete Season of TV" style DVD compilations, which provide enough "film" time to avoid unnecessary repetition. I'm going through the 5 seasons of Babylon 5 right now (just halfway through season one), having finished 3 seasons of Farscape (actually 3 episodes remain). I also have 3 seasons of Alias, and one of 24 to call on in need (those last two are Mrs Pseudo-Polymath "shows", our tastes differ somewhat). So far, I haven't been bored. :)
  • I upload the training session afterwards each time. This certainly keeps me honest. No roundoff errors, no "adding in" stretching or preparation time for workouts any more. Overall, I think this is a very good thing for my training, I have a tendency sometimes make excuses for myself and then later forget I did so. And when an interval session isn't quite as hard, there is no hiding it.
  • Spinning bikes use felt brake pads on a 50 lbs flywheel to provide resistance (with no coasting mechanism in the hub). The resistance curve relative to effort/speed is not the same as riding (where air resistance increases roughly as the square of velocity). As a result, I will be curious how the road bike feels in March, when the weather warms up.
  • It is surprising to feel how much a 50 pound steel flywheel will heat after a 90 minute hard workout, considering the "work" exerted during the ride largely was expended as frictional heating of that wheel.
  • This weekend, I have a first "test" of my seasons fitness. A local club holds "indoor" time trial races using Computrainers (10k races). I don't expect to smoke the race, but it should give me an indication on how my training is progressing. Expect a short report on that Sunday evening.

For a real racers diary, check out John Liewswyn's diary. He pens one of the better pro-cycling diarists on the US racing circuit.