Thursday, 21 February 2013

January and February Update - Indoor Cycling

Hi Captain Tardy here,

It doesn't seem like five minutes ago that I was writing my last post and feeling very smug about the fact that I had managed to write more than a couple of blog posts in a month. 

Normal service seems to have been resumed, with no blog posts being written since late December - I'll take myself off to a quiet corner and have a stern word with myself about being more frequent with my blogging - Must try harder!  

Where did January go?

For me January and most of February has been spent in a combination of job hunting (due to my impending departure from my current employer) time on the Watt bike and a good few hours in the gym doing strength and conditioning work.

I have managed to get out on the bike and do a few rides, including completing a couple of the excellent Performance Cycles Winter Mini Series sportives, however on the whole the first few weeks training in 2013 have been spent indoors, rather than out on the roads.

I have to say that I am glad that I made the decision to hire a Wattbike for the duration of the winter months as it has enabled me to continue to work on my cycling fitness when adverse weather conditions would have stopped me from riding outside on the road. I still have my indoor "turbo" trainer which would also have allowed me to continue to train, however the turbo does not have the ability to produce the kind of performance data that the Wattbike can and the Wattbike simply has the potential to make the user work much harder with it's many variable resistance settings.

With the Wattbike being pressed into action as a substitute for longer road based training rides, I found myself spending longer periods of time in the saddle (sometimes 2-2.5 hours) and this revealed a couple of problems that needed addressing, the standard Wattbike saddle was to uncomfortable to use for much more than around 45-60 minutes and looking at the same four walls for hours on end is simply boring!

A solution to the saddle problem was simple enough to find and came in the shape of a new Selle Italia saddle I had purchased for my new LOOK 566 build (more on that in a future blog post)

It tool a little longer to find a solution to the issue of what to do about getting bored when sitting on the Wattbike for more than an hour took a little longer to find. I tried watching television, but that didn't work very well because the Wattbike is actually quite noisy when it is being worked hard and it was difficult to hear the TV. A digital radio and my iphone headphones were tried and this was much better if the radio was perched on the "tri bars" - Many hours of training and listening to Planet Rock beckoned! After a couple of weeks I decided that whilst this was working quite well, maybe a set of proper headphones would improve the listening experience and stop the ear pieces from being ripped out of my ears every time I sat up on the bike. 

So despite the weather doing its worst during January and early February to disrupt my training schedule, having the Wattbike available for to use for cycle specific training and having a gym just 10 minutes up the road has allowed the training programme to largely stay on track. In some respects I suspect that the quality of training completed during January and February is probably higher than it might have been as a result of not having to go out on the road in weather conditions that may have been at best OK and when the appetite to train properly would have been compromised to the point where some sessions would simply have been riding for the sake of being out on the bike rather than actual training.

As of today's date (21/02/13) a short summary of the training completed so far this year looks like this;

  • 46 individual training sessions
  • 66 hours of training completed, including indoor cycling sessions, core training and strength & conditioning sessions
  • Average heart rate across all types of training = 113 beats per minute
  • Maximum heart rate across all types of training = 158 beats per minute
  • Calories burnt during exercise = 29558
  • Average calories burnt per hour = 448 
  • Net weight lost = 3 pounds

As we move towards the end of February the weather in Wiltshire has been improving to the point where it looks like Spring might be just around the corner and the mornings and evenings are getting lighter. Hopefully this will mean that more time will be spent on the road riding rather than on the Wattbike over the coming weeks?

March will bring with it a planned increase in sportive activity and a planned increase in target mileage each week as we get ever closer to the first cycling milestone of 2013, The Dragon Ride Gran Fondo in June. Of course, both the Dragon Ride and l'etape are not simply all about covering the miles across flat terrain, both events have courses that are significantly hilly in nature and therefore the training completed over the coming weeks will have a lot of emphasis on completing high miles in hilly terrain.        
As always thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time to read the ramblings of the Pixie. Over the next few days I will be writing about my plans for charity fund raising this year, so please pop back and see how you could help a couple of worthy causes out.

Dha weles diwettha


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