Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Hamster Dance

OK, so I was asked what a trainer is. Its one of these, the axle of the bike’s rear wheel bolts onto it, then a drum is tightened onto the tire and you can set the amount of resistance. Even on easy, changing to a harder gear means you work harder, fully tight and the hardest gear, well a pro will start to cry. Lance Armstrong of course is excluded, he’ll burn the whole thing up and then eat it for breakfast before going and riding 16 Alpine Cols just to warm up.

But why I hear you ask ?. I’m a little strange in that I will run in absolutely anything, rain hail, hot, ice, it doesn’t matter. Cycling I already have the rods, plates and screws, so once it gets below 28 or there is ice outside, that’s it, I’m indoors. Also to build a good base of fitness there isn’t time to do too many one and a half to two hour rides during the work week and before dark. So the trainer, because you can’t coast or stop pedaling offers an honesty to workouts, the conventional wisdom is that half an hour on a trainer is equivalent to an hour on the road. It also allows specific drills such as pedaling one legged (makes your pedal stroke apply power all the way around instead of just pressing down), sprints, long hard resistance intervals etc, so you can focus truly on weaknesses and become stronger overall.

Now this is all great, there are many benefits from convenience, to specific training, higher intensity workouts and the ability to work on weaknesses. But it’s indoors. Staring at a wall. Thus impossible not to feel like a bloody hamster.

I’ve tried watching tv, but its unfulfilling, it doesn’t matter on the movie as I can only concentrate on doing one thing or the other. To be honest I get bored and get off the bike if I have the tv on, though the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre did work for a while. They also make DVDs for training, one chap being Troy Jacobson of Spinervals. With delightful titles such as “Suffer-o-rama”, “No slackers allowed” and “Have Mercy”, well you get the drift, he is what would happen if Satan, Michael Bolton and Celine Dion got together for a threesome and had offspring.

All I can say is this winter thank god for my baby ipod, stick it on, zone out while reading and warming up, toss the magazine and get down to business. Those who know me well already know that I’m not wired together right eg. My mountain bike is a single speed. ONE. GEAR, I am at my happiest when out training in the worst possible conditions, snow ? I’ll eat it, rain, bring it on big boy. So it should come as no surprise that this winter for the first time I look forward to and thoroughly enjoy working hard, sweating my nuts off, and grinning ear to ear the harder it gets.

I need to get out and get a bunch of those neoprene wristbands made for cycling, training motivation with “Suck it up, buttercup” on them (a favorite mental mantra). But what about the other side – “Git ‘r’ done” ? Thoughts ?

For something a little different, I wanted to introduce people to a friend of mine, Bob Mina. The two articles below are true classics from his xtri writing, and will strike chords with anyone who has ever been to a gym, enjoy, just don’t try to drink coffee while reading. His triathlon and Dragon boat race reports can be found to the right.

Spin class Part 1
Spin Class Part 2

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