Trainer vs. Road

Bicyclists are generally a friendly group, but every so often when out riding I run across a particularly chatty rider.

Such was the case Sunday – I caught up to a guy riding a fixy on the slight downhill stretch of Foothill between Los Altos and Arastradero and we started talking.  After covering the weather and his bike (a nice Surly), we talked about riding indoors in the cold and he said (unattributed), that a 50 minute trainer ride is about the same as a 90 minute road ride.

I’ve thought about this just a bit and I think he’s about right. Or at least I hope so.

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The pain of riding in the garage of light and speedy pedaling

Starting this week, I’ve got the Trek 7500 FX mounted on my newly procured Kurt Kinetic Rock ‘n Roll trainer (what a wonderful green color), and I’ve been pedaling away with tunes playing on my eye-pad. With four rides under my belt, its time for some observations, so in no particular order:

  • Riding the trainer is subtly harder than riding outdoors. No cooling breeze, so sweat really builds up. No changes in terrain, so no gliding on downhills. No stoplights, so no random breaks to do any recovering. And to cap this all off, pushing the trainer fluid reservoir feels a lot like going up a steady 1% (or so) grade.
  • The Kinetic people claim to be able to estimate power based on speed on their trainer (they provide a handy formula), so next week I’m going to do an FTP test and then the week after that I’m going to dive back into a ‘Time Crunched Cyclist’ training block. I’ll try to remember to post back here with information on how that’s going. It certainly paid off last year.
  • While pedaling away in the garage, I’m able to listen to music, and I naturally try to pedal in time to the music. This means that I’ll have to actually build a ‘pedaling away in the garage’ play list, because overly slow or fast songs really mess with my ride.
  • I’ve been posting my efforts on Strava, but I’ve noticed that the titles are beginning to sound a little bit like Jack’s writing efforts from the later stages of ‘The Shining’. I don’t think this is a good sign.
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Should arrive at my LBS this week and be available for me this weekend.

That’s two new bikes this year. It may be that I have a problem.

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So… why is a not even remotely famous biking / husband / dad / high tech worker writing about buffalo?

Mostly because of this article I ran into yesterday and its associated scholarly reference.

I sent Julie a text message that basically said ‘Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo’ without much explanation and then pretty much forgot about it for the rest of the day. When I casually mentioned it to her that evening a lot of hilarity ensued around the subjects ‘am I a total loon?’, ‘I’m going to ask the kids about this ’cause I think you’re nuts’, etc. Amazingly, son Michael (see, that English degree is paying off) had heard of this, although we have a slight difference of opinion as to whether or not it’s 9 or 10 buffalo (note, I’m going with Prof. Rapaport, sorry Michael).

So, if you want to be mildly amused, read the scholarly reference – isn’t the English language an amazing beast?


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Back in form? Progressing anyway? who knows…

So, what a difference a few weeks make (this time for the positive). With the Carrot / Goal of having several Western Wheelers ‘Fall Fun Series’ rides on the Saturdays in October, and with the positively brilliant strategy of taking thursday afternoons off, I’ve been getting 4 good rides in a week for the past 3 weeks and have started to regain my lost form.

C/D/Who Cares?

Well, I guess I do. And I’m not talking about school grades thank goodness. WW have a ride planning / organizing system that groups riders by ability starting with A level (the easiest) and going up through E (the lunatics). Rich and I had been riding with the C+ group (C class riders, but with less strict re-grouping rules) through the spring – during the Mt Diablo / Mt. Tam / Mt. Ham rides, and were very comfortable at this level. Then during the summer we did a few pick up rides with some D level riders. These rides were challenging. Many of the D riders have (for example) completed the California triple crown (3 double centuries in a year). They climb like goats and regroup like starlings. So, for the fall fun series we decided to ride with the C riders. Well, that lasted 2 rides. The first, which had very little climbing, worked out ok although we were off the front a lot. The second – climbing up Caleveras out of Milpitas and running up past Caleveras reservoir to Pleasanton, had us spending so much time waiting that at the lunch stop, 5 of us decided to head back ahead of the others. We ended up linking up with several D riders and completed the ride with them without much problem. So, I guess we’ll be D riders now. For Rich this means he’ll have someone to climb the hills with. For me, it means I’ll be the slowest up the hills, and hanging on for dear life sometime, but also IF I CAN LOSE A BIT OF WEIGHT(!) I should be able to hang with them – I hope this is a good thing. we’ll see.

Also, Julie and I might be crewing for Elden (Fat Cyclist) Nelson and others as they do the 25 hours of Frog Hollow race – at least we’ve put our names into the hat. I’ll be sure to post something here if that happens.

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'Til The Not-Fat-Lady Sings

Random Ramblings From A Long And VERY Winding Road Toward Health

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