Monday, January 19, 2009

Training - Trainer Ride Thoughts

I can't stop pedaling.


But I know it's getting late and I have to get upstairs. I'm about an hour overdue on my ride, maybe more than that, and, well, I'm feeling good.

So I keep pedaling.

A couple days ago I cleared out the garage so that the missus could park her car in her spot. Two overflow items were the bike work bench (which has history that deserves a separate post) and the carbon Giant.

In case you forgot, the Giant looks something like this.

Minus the Powertap. The tires. Wheels. Upside down Coke bottle.

But otherwise it's about the same. And that includes the 175 mm cranks.

It took a couple days for me to move the bike out of the front entry way (the bench is still there). The bike move occurred, oh, about three hours ago. Add a bit of time to set up the bike on the trainer, set up the music on the laptop, load up a DVD, wipe up some spilled water, and change into bike clothes, put me on the bike, and you have...

Me. Now. Over three hours later.

The bike fits the same as the Cannondale, other than the cranks and the seat. The Giant has that Titanio 2000 pictured in the previous link, the Cannondale has the Arione. Same bars, same levers.

The Giant is old school though, relatively speaking. Box section 32H wheels. Lots of post showing due to a seat tube that's about 6 cm shorter. A bit of a higher bar position because of a taller head tube. And I can see more when I look down because the tubes are thinner.

There's something... enchanting, I guess, about riding a bike like the Giant, the skinny tube bike. I feel like I own the bike. I control it in every way. I like the spindly look of the bars, the lack of the monster head tube, the slim top tube. It's the difference between riding with gloves and riding bare handed. You feel more of the bike, you become closer to it.

And, of course, the Giant has the cranks. Technically they're not better than the Cannondale SI cranks. Smaller bottom bracket, flexy and heavy spindle, inefficient solid arms (when was the last time you saw a solid fork or a solid frame?).

Still, the cranks have their beauty. Campy Record, cold forged, beautiful chainrings. And a beautiful, powerful 175 mm between the BB spindle center and the pedal axle center.

The latter is what got me.

I'm on the same trainer, with the same resistance unit. I've used this trainer for something like, what, four years? I know it well. I know what gears I use when I'm tired, when I don't want to spin. I use other gears when I want to work on my pedaling without killing my legs. I have my "zone out" gears, the gears I inevitably end up riding when I'm watching virtually anything on the TV. And finally I have those gears for the "chasing down a break" fantasy bursts.

Tonight, within a few minutes of clipping into the pedals, those gears went up a notch.

What happened?

Did I get better? Did I suddenly gain a lot of 5 minute power? I can't tell you because the Giant has no power. It doesn't have a cyclocomputer, and I don't have my HRM on, so I can't tell you such basic things as heart rate or even cadence.

But when I push hard, I don't explode. I can keep pushing. I felt twinges of cramp after an hour, but I figured that was because of the longer cranks. I eased on the cadence, pushed the resistance, and the cramps went away.

I started thinking about, maybe, bringing the Giant to California. Use the longer cranks. Or getting some (non-SRM) cranks for the Cannondale. I don't know. I feel so good on the 175s, they feel... familiar. Like I'm home. The 170s always felt a bit hyper, a little foreign, a little like cruising at 5k rpm in your car instead of at 2k rpm.

Food for thought.

After two hours my legs started randomly twinging, a somewhat normal sign. I could still make efforts, but my legs couldn't back up my will, and I'd explode 30 seconds into an effort. Anaerobic, obviously, but when I kicked it off I didn't think it was hard.

Was that the crank effect?

I don't know.

I started thinking of Bethel. Who will work the race. Who will cover when I race. I will be able to race, right? I hope so. Sweeping. Generators. Van. Ice melter. Why didn't I change the Masters to 45+? Or the 5s to an age separated set of fields? Finish line camera tests. Network tests. Spreadsheet lookup queries in the open source OpenOffice Calc as opposed to using Microsoft Excel. Database of riders?

Now, after three hours, my quads twinge regularly. My thoughts of a four hour ride disappate. And I climb off the bike.

I'm almost at the end of my MP3 list. I paid close attention to The Pixies. To my brothers' bands, URT, Marshall Artist, Shovel Full of Dirt, and Tunnel of Love. I'm on the Us now, Urge Overkill. My Sidis are off, my long sleeve jersey shed, and all of my distractions - the two fans, the TV, the DVD player - are all off.

Time to go to sleep.


suitcaseofcourage said...

Three hours??!! In-SANE!

Glad SOMEbody's getting hours in though . . .

Aki said...

This morning I was rudely awakened when I tried to move my foot to make room for one of the kitties (all six were on the bed with the missus and myself). My calf cramped really, really, really bad. I screamed in pain. Cats all went scrambling for cover, missus wasn't sure if maybe one of them bit me or something. All okay after a while, except my calf is incredibly sore from the unexpected 20 or 30 second full effort flex.

Also I realized that due to the nice design of the Cannondale cranks, I can swap just the arms to get 175s. Then I can do some power experiments. Heh.

ridethecliche said...

Haha, go Aki with your experiments :)

PS: You didn't say that you took a shower after doffing your ride attire. Your wife allowed you into bed without one?



ridethecliche said...

PPS: I love the Titanio 200 saddle.