Wednesday, 17 August 2011

There ain't no way but the hard way..

...so get used to it.

Had BH been available tonight I would have hit the hills - it was sunny, reasonably warm, and the number of opportunities to go out after work are dwindling rapidly.  (Partly because I'm on hols for the best part of three weeks v soon, so it's not the worst situation in the world).  However, BH wasn't available, still being at the bike hospital, because it has an unusually small bottom bracket, and the bike Drs. Dave and Dave (Big & Little) are currently struggling to find a donor.  They tell me they've put out a special appeal, and they're confident we should be well on the way to recovery by Friday night. (I'm bursting to use a smiley emoticon here, but I've resisted through all previous posts, so I'm not going to succumb now). I almost asked to see the patient, but realised just in time how sad that would have been.  So I didn't.

So to the garage it was for today's dose of exercise, and the turbo trainer therein.  I'm not entirely sure why the word 'turbo' is used in their description - essentially they're static trainers with a magnetic flywheel being used to create resistance against the back wheel of the bike, so simulating being out on the road with its wind- and rolling-resistance. Anyhow, with the Pyrenees only 8 days away now, I decided it was time for one of my copyright sessions for Improving Your Climbing.  It's probably not that unique, but sometimes it's nice to think you thought of something.  Here's the recipe:

-several phone directories under the front wheel to create an upward angle between rear and front wheel of about 8%.  I know it makes no difference to the resistance, but it replicates the body shape you're in when you climb
- biggest gear, good resistance on the trainer so that pedalling at about 70-72 rpm produces a power output of about 90-95% of functional threshold of power, or if you don't know that, about 85-90% of maximum heart rate
- 10 mins warm-up, then hold the above for 45 mins
- watch as small songbirds fly into the garage to bathe in the puddles of sweat that have now gathered all around
- pretend that you're chasing the leaders of the Tour de France up an Alpine or Pyrenean climb of your choice  as a slightly pathetic means of staying motivated (the most modern virtual reality trainers can now either be pre-programmed to reproduce classic climbs by altering the resistance and its duration, or you can download routes from your satnav that you've previously ridden, and again they'll be re-produced by the trainer and its software. When I win the lottery...)
- collapse into the shower utterly exhausted, but knowing that only 60 minutes in the torture chamber has produced some genuine gain. And indeed a loss - 909 calories in my case tonight.

Ok, it's not as interesting as a real ride, but it's efficient, and just occasionally efficiency beats beauty.

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