“Watts” Going On?

So thankfully, I’m alive and well after my recovery day.  A full recovery day.  This is big.

I’m also thankful that I had a recovery day when I did!  I had totally forgotten that we decided last Wednesday at our weekly computrainer session at Uptown Cycles that we were going to be doing a 20 minute threshold power test this week!  Whoops.  For best results, athletes should rest at least one day prior to such tests, so the timing of yesterday’s day off was great!

We warmed up with a 25 minute stair step starting at about 20% of FTP (functional threshold power) and increasing to about 60% of FTE, which for me was previously 210 watts.  I did a power test at the studio back in February or March and tested at average watts of about 220ish, which was ok for having just come off the winter season.

I was excited for this test once I was reminded we were doing it!  The warm up went great and given my generally lower volume this past few days, I was fresh and ready to roll.  My goal was to average 230 watts, for a 10 watt increase over my previous test.  About 3 minutes in to the 20 min test, I probably speak for everyone who has ever taken one of these, you’re thinking “holy crap, 17 more minutes?!”  For me, the hardest part of the test is from about 7-12 minutes.  You’re not almost done, but the fatigue is beginning to set in.  I took this time in 30 second intervals adjusting my gearing higher for 30 seconds, and then taking a gear off for 30 second “recovery”.  This helped me get through the mental challenge.

Greg Shore, Tom Patch, Moi, Jim Kunevicous, Tom O’Donnell and Michael Starkey

Putting out some watts at 6:45am!!

When it was all said and done, I was pleased to have averaged 259 watts or 39 watts higher than my previous test about 6 months ago!  Yay!  Based on my weight, my average WPKG (watts per kilogram) were 4.1 which was 0.6 higher than my previous test!!  Double yay!  I think it goes without saying I’m getting stronger on my bike which feels good to have hard work paying off.

I have been asked a few times in the past few months “what’s your secret?” or “how do you train for riding?” which is…neat!  My answer to anyone and everyone asking this question is “riding a trainer!”

Throughout my training for three separate Ironmen races, I would estimate I did 50% of my riding indoors on my trainer – and no I don’t mean a spin bike, which is not NEARLY the same (IMHO).  The wheel on a spin bike is weighted, thus you’ll notice if you stop pedaling, the pedals keeps going.  Not so much with an indoor trainer.  People who think they are “good” at spin class, rarely jump on a bike outdoors and put out any amount of power in my experience.

So, I thought I’d put together the top 10 reasons why I “love,” (well, swear by, is more appropriate) indoor bike trainers (computrainers, even better!):

1.  Like the treadmill, the trainer allows you to hit specific intervals, dead on – no excuses (“I was on a huge hill when it told me to use my big gear”)

2.  There are no traffic lights or wind in your face

3.  Your kit doesn’t have to coordinate

4.  You chose the course and the terrain – it doesn’t chose you!

5.  There are no cars to run you off the road, honk loudly which in turn scares you to death, or people walking on the street asking you at every traffic light “daaaamnn yo, how much ‘dat bike cost?”

6.  It builds serious leg strength

7.  You can get off and pee in the comfort of your own home and not at a nasty gas station, or in a bush, if you’re like me.  Or on yourself.  Gross.

8.  Water/food/gels are easily accessible

9.  You can watch/catch up on TV shows, or, in my case, force yourself to turn your TV on for the first time in 28 days

10.  There is no coasting on the bike trainer…and there is no coasting in triathlon cycling (or shouldn’t be much).  Odd how those are interlinked.  🙂

The long and the short of it is, despite how much people may hate their trainers, I swear by them.  It’s nice sometimes to throw on a completely hideous pair of cycling shorts and a dingy sports bra with holes in all the wrong places, post your trainer up in front of the TV and spin away!  Consider it next time you have an hour or 1:30 ride to do, or even consider it once a week!

I’ll end on this:  my Wednesday morning 1-hour computrainer class at Uptown Cycles has been the most consistent workout in my schedule for the past 30 weeks, and I increased my average watts almost 40 over the course of that time… coincidence, I think not!

** This was actually not intended to be an advertisement for Uptown Cycles, but turns out I gave them a pretty darn good plug!  If anyone is interested in computrainer classes at the studio, email me at kimeagens@gmail.com and we can get you set up!

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