Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Bike Trainer vs. Winter Weather...?

So, I was supposed to go on a two and a half hour, 'hilly' bike ride today. Ok... no problem. Nice and relaxing. Then, I looked at the weather. Not happening.

It is currently 22 degrees outside in Philadelphia with wind between 14 and 19 MPH winds. No booties, Under Armour, jackets or gloves would ever persuade me to bike outside in this frigidly cold weather. This does not look ideal for a triathlete in training:

Let's face it, if the boys were to talk to me into riding in this weather... which they wouldn't try to, because Jackson sure as heck won't want to do it either and Alex is soaking up the sun in Florida right now (brat)... but if for some reason they were to talk me into it, both of them would quickly regret it as I would most likely be complaining of frost bitten nose, cold fingers and numb muscles... the entire time. Therefore, regretting their attempts to have a nice ride.

Riding for 2 and a half hours in 20 degree weather, good for training? Sure. Nice and relaxing? No. Excruciating.

I do not do well with cold weather. When I get really cold (which I get very easily), I like to have hot chocolate, bundle up and not move. I put on a million layers until I no longer feel anything at all and wouldn't even know if I'm bumping into anything because I have about a foot of clothing on between me and whatever or whomever I am bumping into. I resemble this big marshmallow for 90% of the winter time... somewhat like this:

The Winter Classic, 2012

It would be hard to ride a tri- bike, when I can't move my arms.

A triathletes solution for bad weather and training: a bike trainer.

Not all triathletes NEED one and/ or use one. Some use spin bikes and/or stationary bikes at the gym... but the issues with that are, that they really aren't anything like a road bike. Yes, stationary bikes resemble a real road bike (depending on the brand) and use some of the same basic muscle groups as one would have to use on a tri- bike... but nothing can replace the aero dynamics and function of a true triathlon purposed bike. With that said, even so, spin bikes are not made to resemble a tri bike... only a road bike... which are two completely different positions:

Tri Bike

Average Spin Bike

A tri bike is built so that you use predominantly  different muscle groups in your legs in order to prepare yourself for the run and is built so that you are at the most aero dynamic position possible.

Ironman Spin Bike... 

Ironman and Lance Armstrong came out with a spin bike that is somewhat more of a tri- bike or has that option. But after using it, I felt and read, that it is still not up to par with the actual bike and never will be. Simply because it is not a bike, it is a machine.

So, with that said, Triathletes who are committed, plan on continuing, training for extended periods of times and/ or for bigger and longer races... have a bike trainer. There are hundreds of different brands of bike trainers. The most common is the ones you put your bike into and it is held still while you bike in place. Therefore, you get the same muscle groups and body positioning, but you aren't going anywhere. Simply.... you made a stationary bike out of your real bike.

For the holidays, I asked for  the ULTIMATE bike trainer: The Rock and Roll Kinetic by Kurt bike trainer.

This thing does not only look amazing, due to the bright colors, but it mimics the feeling of a bike on the road more than any other trainer out there right now, by rocking back and forth with my body weight and pedal strokes. With the lateral motion, this forces my core muscles to maintain the balance of the bike (which is what happens when riding on the road). 

This trainer will help me with my balance, cadence control and give me a more realistic feeling of 'being on the road' rather than just at a stand still.  This should help me mostly in seated and standing climb intervals where my body rocks back and forth with the bike on this trainer, like it would on the road, therefore forcing me to excel to stronger climbs. This machine is AWESOME. 

Jackson had the honors of coming with me to my parents house and helping me set up my new obsession. And by helped me set it up, I mean do it for me, as I just sat and took pictures... 

The company made it very easy to assemble. Probably thanks to the handy- dandy, dummy- proof directions:

 It came in a box and looked like this:

The next step was to set up the base of the trainer. This is pretty standard:

Then, he added on the top frame which fit right on top, and was tightened with a.... well, I don't know... but my Dad had the tool in the garage.

Next step was to tighten the bolts and fasten the fluid resistance unit. The resistance unit may be the most important part of the trainer, as this is what allows me to add resistance or loosen my resistance. Most bike trainers, the worth- while ones, have fluid resistance unit rather than a regular resistance unit. The reason for this is because a fluid resistance unit adds to the realism of a natural bike, by omitting some of the drag when switching gears:

Next, was to add some screws here and there, to get ready to connect my bike... I honestly don't know what he did, but I did take a picture!!!!!! 

do know that we had to switch out the skewer for the lock ring on the machine, because tri- bikes have a thicker clamp for the skewers... see below (the thing that looks like a lever) 

NOW, the trainer was all ready for "Slice" to attach. My bike is named "Slice" for two reasons:

1) The bike make is a Cannondale Slice.... (original naming by me, to call her "Slice", I know...)
2) It slices through the air.... (ha... ha... get it?)

Anyways, 'she' was patiently waiting by the television as we built the trainer:

We then attached "Slice" to the trainer... put the back wheel up against the resistance unit, attached by the clamps on the side of the bike (which again, were too thick, so we had to switch out the skewer on the machine).

The front wheel rests on a turnable riser ring. This is built to even out the front wheel with the back, but is usually solid and stays still. On my ULTIMATE trainer, this swivels back and forth, with my body weight as well. Therefore, when riding, you have to keep not only the back of your bike balanced, but your front also, making for a more realistic ride once again. 

I hopped on to see how it felt and it was leaning to the right, then to the left... so we had to do some adjusting, but we got it to be perfect after just a few tries. Even Jackson hopped on to see how it was!

A bit small for you, I think!....
The looser the bolts attaching the base and the top frame, the more movement I will get on the trainer due to the machine being more flexible. 

All in all, it was very simple to set up (not that I did any of it...) and I was anxious to hop on and see how it felt! 

Jackson and I set our bikes up downstairs, mine on the new trainer, infront of my parents TV!

We turned on the movie "40 Year- Old Virgin" and biked for two hours, while yelling for Gracie and my father to run down to take pictures of us.... 

The bike trainer is very, very cool. The second I got on the bike, I immediately felt a difference from a 'normal' trainer, as it moved when I mounted the bike. It sways back and forth with my body weight and the front is VERY hard to control. What is cool though, is I can pretend I am making a turn and practice balancing and keeping my cadence up at the same time, balancing while climbing hills and so on. In a later post, I will show a video of everything I am talking about. 

Advertisement Picture... gives you an idea of the side to side motion...

But in short, it was pretty darn close to that of riding a bike on the road. Nothing, in my opinion, can feel the same... but it was a great substitute and gives me the chance to use my bike more efficiently rather than a spin bike. 

There is a lot of getting used to. For example it is hard to relax on my aero bars because the front wheel moves so much. 

Also, when Jackson pushes me, I almost tip over. Yes, he did this. He claims he was "testing it out." I will post a whole short blog on just the experience of the trainer when I get more time on it and a video!

The two hours on the bike is pretty brutal. Always. One would think watching one of your favorite movies or television shows, while staying warm and in place, without the hassles of having to transport your bike would be ideal. ... no. Your favorite movie or show somehow turns into the worst thing you've ever watched and you all of a sudden hate your home that you normally love and need to get off your bike and outside ASAP.

Although rough, it is necessary to stay on top of the bike training. This week alone, not including the three spin classes I am teaching, I have 10 hours on the bike in total. I will have to learn how to make my new "green extreme machine" my new best friend. I believe we are off to a good start!

Never Give Up- 


"Winners make goals, losers make excuses."- Unknown

Weekly announcements:
    • Monday 1/16 @ 4:15
    • Thursday 1/19 @ 6:15
    • Friday 1/20 @ 5:30
  • Another post coming on Wednesday updating you on my week! Busy busy one ahead of me!
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  1. looking forward to the updates, Can you insert video's on this blog or alink to a video ? also -tell us more about the protein diet, in your next blog update---always some interesting material here !

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  3. Looks like a handy machine to train with. Have you rode to a training video or do you make your own hills and turns randomly? Do you run inside on very cold training days? Goog luck! How many more days until the big event?