Break From The Trainer

10 Feb

It seems there are folks looking for info here; I’ve had several views of the blog each day this past week. For you folks, here’s some info:

Unlike last winter, this season has not been kind to outdoor enthusiasts. Although our winter here in Indianapolis has not been unbearable, the worst weather tends to fall on weekends, preventing outdoor training. As such, much time has been spent on trainers among zip code riders and racers.

Participants in the Brooks Integrative Training program have taken advantage of the two nights a week and Sunday class offerings to hone their pedaling efficiency and keep winter weight gain at bay. Among those who’ve shined over the past month are Mark Dewart and Ken Green. These guys have ridden with me for years, but for a variety of reasons have never been able to participate in my classes. This season both gentlemen are pushing watts and turning rpms like never before. Mark shared with me that he can now hold a power for an hour that he could only hold for 5 minutes back in October.

On the ladies’ side, Julie Renshaw continues to inspire with steady improvement. Michele Sheets has lifted her max cadence from 105 to over 160 rpm in the brief time she’s attended classes this year.

I should also point out new comer, Phelgar Washington. Phelgar naturally spins a light gear in a smooth motion. This comes as no surprise given that he ran a 49-second quarter mile in high school. Talk about a natural athlete. Adding big gear work to Phelgar’s fluid spin will make him even more dangerous on those end of ride sprints this season.

But enough trainer talk. Today was sunny; a little cold, but sunny enough to entice a group out for the Saturday morning coffee shop ride from Zionsville. I started that ride in the fall of 2008 because it was a convenient place for most northwest siders to meet. The ride has grown in stature and volume through the years such that on nice Saturdays there could be over 50 people at the ride, splitting into comparable ability groups as necessary.

Today’s group consisted of about 20 robust riders, including Bri and Harry. As I caught up with them, Harry said he’d recently set an all time record, riding 14 days in a row on his trainer. If Harry rides his trainer for two weeks straight, you know the weather has been bad. This is a man who when he lived in Louisville and rode for Roadhouse, would go out at 9 am when the temperature was below 20 degrees and set off on 80-mile suffer fests. All because he wanted to avoid the trainer.

Dennis, Rob, and other friendly faces kept the pace honest, even after the sprints up the mini-cols north of Eagle Creek Park. I was pleased to see Todd Winget, another B.I.T. participant, riding so strong today. And I was even more pleased to overhear other riders discussing how strong Todd looked.

Like so many others, I’ve been bound to the trainer most of the winter. The biggest benefit of the trainer has been abating weight gain. I’m still right where I left off last season at 162 lbs.

Two weeks ago I was joined by several B.I.T. members at the Spin4Heroes cancer fundraiser. This was a four hour relay in which teams compete for overall mileage champion and overall fund raising champion. My team won neither, but I was honored to be one of the 8 instructors for the event. I was also honored that Ken Green, David Wilkes, Sandy Raynor, Terry Iwasko, Preston Conrad, Josh Ginsburg, Julie Renshaw, Andrea Eberbach, Eva Cheung and David Stahl participated in this worthy cause.

Kurt Kinetic publishes a power curve that coincides with their trainer. XX mph = XXX watts. The caveat is that you have to give 2.5 to three turns of resistance to the flywheel in order for the power readings to be accurate. Unfortunately, many folks don’t do that and only give half a turn or one turn and then get a false sense of security by thinking they are doing phenomenal watts. The devil is in the details, as they say.

Nonetheless, the idea at Spin4Heroes is to give as little resistance as possible in order to go as fast and accumulate as many miles as possible. As I strolled the room before I began participating in my team’s relay I was seeing speeds of 24, 25 mph on some trainers. That is almost impossible to do with proper resistance on the kurt kinetic fluid trainer. I had come to the event more to contribute than to compete, but you guys all know me. I had to lay down one good effort. So on one of my 15 minute legs I let loose with an avg speed of 26.7 mph (low resistance).

And I paid for it. Lots of people in a small room, lots of sweat, cooling and re sweating, was the perfect receipe to get sick. I came down with the flu and missed several days of training as a result, only just coming back up to ride late this week.

Riding outside was a cautionary expedition today, but also a manageable one. By mostly sitting in and socializing I enjoyed being outside like all of us did. The sunshine and brisk temperature invigorated us to carry on with the trainer as necessary until those long, daylight savings days arrive on March 10.

If you’ve made it this far with your trainer, hang in there. You’ve only got about a month to go until regular outdoor riding commences. Now is the time to hone in on your goals so you’ll be ready to make an impact on your group.

Speaking of groups, there are several quality rides around town. Here are a few to choose from: Tue and Thur nights at Nebo Ridge. This is an entirely flat ride with little technical skill required as there are very few turns. Time triallists will delight on this ride.

The Heroes Team offers the Tuesday night Hammerfest from Hamilton Southeastern H.S. at 6:30 pm. They ride an approximate 4 mile course with 5 corners, some of which are tight, and a small rise before the finish/end of each lap. This is a highly competitive ride with average speeds being 25 mph or better.

I’ve been told of a ride that leaves from Indie Bike on Tuesday nights and goes northeast through Ft. Harrison and the hills of Indian Lake. Although I have not ridden with the group, I’ve ridden the course and am very much looking forward to this one. With the series of hills in the latter part of the ride, this is a break away artist’s dream course. Again, this is a highly competitive ride.

Lest we not forget the Wednesday night ride from Smokey Row Elementary in Carmel. This 25 mile route that utilizes hills, although fewer than those on the Indie Bike ride, on mostly rural roads. This ride tends to bring out the most aggressive riders, with several on a given night prone to throwing down attacks. Breaks often occur, but few stick the distance b/c the group is large and strong.

Until next time, keep that trainer handy.


One Response to “Break From The Trainer”

  1. Dan February 10, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    Oh no. With Phelgar, Mark, and Kenny in your training sessions this winter, Bob, I’ll have no one to ride with when I come up to Indy in the Spring. No they’ll all be hammerheads.

    Glad you all got out today. I, too, got our for a ride, but only to a meeting at school and back. It’s a measure my poor fitness that my heart rate hit 182 on the climb up the north side of Griffy Lake on the way home. Having been ill for most of the last six weeks, I’m basically starting from zero.


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