Saturday, March 29, 2008

Equipment - SRM

A short time ago my SRM went blank, its battery dying an unexpected death. A couple emails exchanged with SRM confirmed that this was the case. With a dead SRM PowerControl (that's the computer end of things - the PowerMeter is the crank end) it pretty much can't do anything other than sit there and pretend it's asleep.

Sleeping SRMs don't show wattage or store training info so, after printing out the "work order" form sent me from a helpful SRM person, I sent it out to get the battery replaced.

12 days later I heard the screen door open and close. For a few seconds I waited for the "key in the lock" sounds. It wasn't the missus, no key sounds. It was around lunch time so I thought maybe she'd take a break but no dice.

So either it was a thief or....

Santa Claus!

Well, Santa Claus in March wears brown stuff that says UPS on it or mainly blue stuff that says FedEx on it.

In this case it was the UPS Santa Claus.

Lo and behold a little box. I realized that Blue Nile could probably ship things in that size box but they don't - I think there'd be a lot of mysteriously missing or damaged packages if they did. Instead they use pretty large boxes - you'd think they were shipping out carbon cranks, not carbon based shiny baubles.

This jewelry box held something a little different - my revived PowerControl.

I was expecting to pay a bunch of money for a battery ($50) and shipping ($20 or so). I'd already paid about $25 to ship the thing out west to begin with, so my reasonable expectation was a $100 repair bill.

I opened the box and saw my PowerControl, LCD numbers peering up at me the way the cat does when he realizes I'm looking at him. The invoice fell out so I opened it up. Lots of donuts. Or, as my high school math teacher said, lots of bagels.

Donuts are Circled Zeros.

A bagel is just a various of the Circled Zero.

And, yes, in high school, I managed to get a Circled Zero on a weekly exam.

Circled Zeros are terrible when they're on math exams. They are incredibly awesome when they're on invoices.

Just to be sure I checked my credit card to make sure they didn't charge me and zero things out on the paper invoice, but my card didn't show anything for a while.

I read the invoice more carefully and it looks like there was actually something wrong with it. They replaced said part and considered it a warranty.


To check it out I put it on the bike and did a short test ride on the trainer. What worried me was that whatever I'd been doing before was off - like I didn't check the slope or didn't set the 3 digit number (forgot what it's called) each time I rode.

Very carefully I checked the slope. Default was 25 or so. My cranks are 22.9. And I did the 3 digit thing (wake up crank, wake up head, see what no resistance or still cranks read). 172-173, the default 750. I set it to 172 I think. Climbed on the bike. Started pedaling.

Nothing had changed. I was still a 100-150 watt easy rider. 210 watts made me start to breath. I had to turn the fan on. And finally I did a steady effort - 20 or 30 revolutions, probably more than 20 seconds, less than 30 seconds.

The SRM read a steady 850 watts.

My legs started complaining as did my aerobic systems (rapidly turning anaerobic due to an acute lack of oxygen) so I eased up.

I was back to being a monitored cyclist. I took up Murat's suggestion of inputting data manually and figuring out some average wattages based on average heart rates. Not ideal but it helped fill in the blanks (and, in the process, helped me realize about how many watts I do based on a given heart rate).

I filled in the WKO+ dates, realized it'd been three weeks since the PowerControl went blank (I delayed shipping things about a week), and set about figuring out my data. I'd get average heart rate, distance (calculating it using Google Maps if necessary), and average wattage (based on prior rides which took place between California and March 5th). Typed all this stuff in. And now WKO+ looks happier.

I wanted to do Plainville today so I could test things out, but I had an appointment at 9:45 AM so I couldn't do the 3-4 race. The appointment included some physical exercise, went on for over an hour, and left me mentally and physically exhausted. With less than an hour to the P123 race (and I still had to drive there), I decided I simply couldn't do it and mentally withdrew from the race. Next week I hope to collect some "flat race" data.

Tomorrow I'll do Bethel with the SRM, a perfect "short hill race" for data collecting. I'm tempted to tape over some of the parts of the dashboard and ride just on feel. Should be interesting. But I want to race with the SRM because knowing what kind of power and effort I'm putting down in the last five laps of the race is very, very telling. Measuring, storing, and analyzing that data adds a whole new dimension to cycling for me.

After all, that's why I got the SRM in the first place.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Aki,
I wish I had used my ptap yesterday, I went Vo2 more than once-what a race!!
I blew up so many times. I've never been aggressive in a race before, it was a lot of fun, chasing down those breaks, the one break I didn't chase was the one that stayed away.
Great job.
irish pat