Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Newbie on a Trainer

I'm no longer a virgin. Well, at least no longer a cycling trainer virgin.

I picked up a used Blackburn mag trainer a year ago but never went for it. But last night, I did, as put Old Yeller to the test.

It hurt a lot in the legs and cardio, but it was most painful for my brain. I mean, it was more boring than running on a treadmill, and I hate doing that with a passion. To illustrate, last year I ran outside throughout the entire winter -- sleet, snow, negative wind chills and all -- to avoid the treadmill. But cycling is obviously more dangerous in cold weather than running, so it looks like there's no escaping it this time.

Heck. I wish I could escape it. In fact, I would rather spend 90 minutes in the dentist chair than on the trainer. Oh, the horror.

Seriously, please help me out by offering your suggestions and tips so I can make it through this winter:
1) What works for you to keep from going nuts?
2) What are some good workouts?
3) How do you measure your workout performance?


  1. Step 1: don't spend 90 minutes on it unless you absolutely have to.

    Step 2: listen to music. For a very intense workout I'll put on the stereo and hammer for the first minute of every song. Spin back down for the rest of the song and then hammer again at the next one. Repeat for 45 minutes -- after proper warmup and before cool-down, of course.

    Step 3: It's boring. It will ALWAYS be boring. Deal with it.

  2. Step 3 was inaccurate:
    Just ride real hard. When you feel like you might pass out, get off.

  3. What Bryan said. Figure out a way to mix it up and challenge yourself. Get a mirror to see how cool and muscle-y (steel cut) you are.

    2 minutes on the trainer equals 3 minutes on the road. Watch TDF mountain stages (but listen to music while you do it). When Lance stands, you stand.

    Pick the nicest day or 2 of the week to go outside. Usually you can get outside at least once a week all year long.

  4. Thanks for the comments. Cyclists are nuts. The crap that you guys go through to get better is a lot worse than getting the same results in running.

    If 2 minutes on the trainer is 3 minutes on the road, am I bending space/time? Maybe I'll teleport to your kitchen or something. Great! What's for dinner tomorrow night? Look for me around 6:25pm.

  5. You have no idea about the being nuts part. Jon Randell and I would occasionally put in 3 to 4 hour rides on the trainers. It does help to have a friend to wallow in boredom with. We'd try to get 3 guys together on trainers at his place with a big screen TV, put in a long one day race DVD(Paris Roubaix is the best), and really stink up the place. Of course when you exercise, you tend to work out any gas. So here was 3 guys in a heated dingy basement just gassing it up. To avoid death by noxious fumes, we would have a fan blowing and keep "the fat lady" nearby. The fat lady being an aerosol can of Glade that was baby powder scented - you know fat ladies use baby powder in their folds to keep fresh. Yes, we're going to hell. So anytime one of us knew it was coming, you'd have to alert, "Get the fat lady." There'd be a mad scramble to stay on the trainer but reach for the can of Glade before the stench could envelop everyone.

    Good times.

    Highgear and the Trek Store have Trainer nights at the shops. After they close at 7pm (or 6pm??), they'll clear out an area, put some cycling race on the TV and let people setup their trainers. This should start pretty soon, being it gets dark pretty early now. Keep checking on their websites to find out when/where they will be.

  6. oh yeah, I forgot about the shop trainer rides. Bike Masters starts at 6 tonight.

  7. Mike: Dang! That is nuts. I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then, that is before reading your comment. Also, have you considered floating a Fat Lady™ marketing campaign for Glade?

    Good stuff and thanks for the suggestions. Anyone have TDF on VHS that I can borrow? :-)

    Finally, how long (duration) are the shop trainer rides? Are they free and do they provide air do they provide air freshener?

  8. The shop rides are an hour unless the guy staying late to lock the shop up after we leave is willing to stay later. Last winter, it was usually Me, Jon Randell, Aaron Pool, Frank, Greg Shimonek, Stephen Jarrett, and a couple others at various levels of attendance.

    Yes, they provide a fan if they have one and we ask for it, but no they don't have glade. However, the shops are much more open than that dingy basment at Jons. So the funk dissipates quicker.

    Cost is $2 or $3 a meeting unless you are on the team, then it's free. I think. That rule was never enforced, so it was never made clear.

    You gotta have some crazy commitment to drive out to the shop, unload all your bike crap, change, get sweaty for an hour, then freeze your schweaty nuts off loading everything back up in the cold to drive home.

    I may or may not join in the fun/boredom.

  9. Here's what I do: go to Radio Shack and get a 6' headphone extention cord so you can watch TV with headphones. Family Guy or the Office are my shows of choice.

    My trainer is Cyclops wind trainer hand me down from a pal who replaced it with the fluid model. It that sounds like a very loud airplane with an out of tune, unlubricated bearings and and shot harmonic balancer struggling to take off. (Maybe Santa will bring me a quiet fluid trainer)

    When I first got it, after 20 minutes of riding the flywheel spun off, raced across the floor, hit the wall and climed up until it hit the bottom of the desktop. My son was upstairs doing homework and he yelled down asking if I fell off... It would have killed the dog if she was in the way!

    ALso try to get a DVD of Spinnervals or something like that. Race footage would be good.

    Fan is important and the FAT LADY is priceless.

  10. Murphini: I can picture that flywheel. I've heard that those wind trainers are extremely loud. Do the upgrade & save the dog.

    It's a good thing that the Glade thing is clarified. Asking about the fat lady at wally world is a recipe for disaster.

    Note to self for next time: cycling videos, music, headphones, vanity mirror, a fan and a can of air freshener.

    Whew! That's a lot of pre-work.

  11. bike masters is free, I do know that. I know nothing else. There will probably be about a dozen guys there.

  12. Munsoned, its a small world. I work for, and ride with Murphini (thus the knowledge of this blog), and I race MTBs with your training buddies Stephen and Greg, although I don't know them, or that they live in Omaha. I'm sure they know Mark Studnicki, another High Gear Racer (recent transfer from Cow Town Racing), who works for a KC company I used to work for. If this is all too confusing, its because my mind is bent from spending too much time on the trainer.