Friday, November 14, 2008

Breaking in the trainer...

As mentioned yesterday, due to the weather that we get this time of year I elected to make the move to riding the bike inside until Spring. With the tire and skewer changed yesterday, I cleaned off the bike this morning, hooked it up to the trainer and made sure that everything was working. After lunch, I got changed into my cycling gear, switched on a couple of fans and got started with my normal routine.

While I had originally planned for an 80km ride, I elected to modify that to a 30K ride instead as the prospect of two and a half hours of staring at a wall wasn't terribly enticing. I set up a television to fend off boredom, but there isn't a whole lot on at that time of day so its utility was somewhat limited. Fortunately the bike and trainer (Kurt Kinetic Road Machine) were much quieter than I expected so, unlike my treadmill, it was possible to clearly hear the TV while riding. As such, my best bet is likely to do my longer rides at night when enough good stuff is on to entertain me ;)

Either way, it did get the job done and wasn't quite as mind numbing as I expected it to be. I managed to cover the equivalent of 30km in a little under an hour, averaging a 30.8km/h pace for the session. Naturally, longer rides will likely be a different thing, but if I can find something decent on television they might not be that big of an issue either. The one big upside, however, is that not having to deal with stop signs or traffic means that my average speed is a lot more representative of overall performance than on the road.

One of the other big advantages to using this trainer is that it allows me to monitor my power output, something that would normally take relatively expensive equipment to do. As the manufacturer of this model carefully calibrates their trainers at the factory, it is possible to calculate the power output directly from the speed of the bicycle's rear wheel. Unlike riding outside (where wind speed/direction, road surface, incline, etc. all play a part), all of the resistance is supplied by the fluid chamber so this mapping is predictable.

In this case, my average power output works out to a little under 240 watts. My maximum speed was 48km/h (did a sprint near the end of the session), working out to a peak output of about 680 watts for about a minute. Have to do a little more reading to see whether those numbers are good or not, but it is definitely interesting to have an objective metric to measure my cycling progress with ;)

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