Monday, December 16, 2013

Biking Blues

Since winter has struck, biking has surpassed swimming as my least favorite of the triathlon pursuits.  I've been riding on the indoor trainer, and it is a real drag.  Actually, I just looked at my workout history and today's (actually I wrote this on Sunday) ride was only my 5th on the trainer.  Feels like a lot more than that!  I looked at my rear tire before doing that ride though, and realized that I could no longer be lazy and keep my road tire on there on the trainer.  After four rides (only 2.5 hrs total) it was showing a wear pattern.

I haven't yet had a flat so I've never actually changed a bike tire before, though I have seen it done.  I was confident it would be no big deal.  Ha.  What a pain in the rear.  I futzed with it for a while before crying "uncle" and asking Jeff to come help me with it.  Honestly, some of it seemed like it really was a two person job anyway!
Bike filth.  Blech. 
 Eventually, we got the road tire off and the trainer tire on, and pumped it up with air.  Yay!  The struggle made me really consider buying a second wheel instead, so I could just swap wheels instead of changing the tire when I move from the trainer to outside and vice-versa.  A wheel will probably be like  $150 though, so I suppose I should just stop whining and consider it good practice for when I get a flat.  Besides, I hypothetically could get away with changing it just twice a year: once in the spring to move outdoors, and once in the fall/winter to move indoors, but it would be nice to be able to switch easily when rain or whatever foils outdoor riding plans.  I'll call the bike shop tomorrow and see how much a rear wheel would be.

Doing this today reminded me that I really need to learn about bike maintenance.  I put a lot of money into this bike and I haven't been doing any maintenance on it at all, which is probably a terrible idea.  It's so hard though.  As if biking itself wasn't bad enough, all the equipment and repairs and maintenance and parts and such are a real downer.

Trainer tire on and bike loaded and ready to ride!  That's the road tire at the bottom of the photo.  
My other trainer rides got really boring really fast, so I made up "games" to play to help make it more interesting.  The first time, I just rode easy during the bulk of my TV show I was watching, then cranked the resistance and pushed hard during the commercials. The commercials were only about 2 minutes a pop, but that was more than enough for me! I don't have fancy gear for measuring cadence, power or mileage on the trainer, but I do have my heart rate monitor so that is good enough for me.  Here is the heart rate plot from the ride where I upped the ante during the commercials:

The next time I rode, I made up a heart rate game, after I got bored trying to ride steadily.  This time, I pushed until my heart rate (heart rate reserve actually, since I use the Karvonen formula) got up to 70%, then took it easy until I got to 50% then went back to 70% and so on.  That workout looked like this:
Obviously, I didn't start the "game" until about 25 minutes into this ride. 
My last ride, I jumped into a game right away (after a warm up).  I was in the mood to work a little harder, so I decided to go for 80% HRR (heart rate reserve).  Turns out getting to 80% was pretty exhausting, so I decided to alternate 70% and 80%.  So I would push to 80%, recover to 50%, push to 70%, back to 50%, push to 80% again, and so on:

Fun stuff.  This is, of course, all done while watching TV.  After about 25 minutes on this one I was having a hard time getting my heart rate back down to 50% so I settled with 55% or wherever it was when it stopped dropping. 
Oh, that reminds me, I read something recently about maximum heart rate being sport-specific, which I have definitely found to be true.  I thought it was just me being unwilling or unable to push as hard when biking or swimming, but it turns out your max varies with different activities (especially swimming). For me, my max running heart rate is the highest, then biking, then swimming, which is apparently how it is for everyone.

Anyway, today I didn't want to work hard.  I didn't really want to do anything.  So I thought I'd just get on and ride easy and call it a TITS ride (tee-hee!  Time In The Saddle.  For training core muscles and getting your hoo-ha used to sitting on that tiny hard seat for hours on end, not so much about aerobic training or leg strength).  For this to be effective, it should really be a long ride.  Like a good 2 hours at least.  (Spoiler alert: I didn't make it).

Unfortunately, I only made it about 8 minutes into my ride (and episode of Doctor Who) when I realized my aero bar position was no good.  The angle between my forearms and upper arms was too obtuse because the aero pads were too far forward.  Plus my hands weren't able to reach the upward-bending part of the bars, like they're supposed to.  So I paused my watch, hopped off, grabbed my multitool, and went about making the adjustments.  The nice thing about these add-on aero bars is that they are super adjustable.  The crappy thing about them is that they are super adjustable.  Literally everything can be moved.  It makes it hard to get everything just right.  Plus to get to the screw that I usually want to change, I have to undo a bunch of other screws that otherwise wouldn't need adjusted, and that's just annoying.  Anyway, I made my adjustments (which took about 10 minutes), hopped back on, and rode about another 8 minutes before I had to get off and change some more things.

Aero bars in a state of disassembly and adjustment. 
By the end of that episode of Doctor Who (like 50 minutes) I had only completed about 20 minutes of (intermittent riding).  But at least I got my bike into a sorta-comfortable geometry.  Sorta.  I put on another show and rode continuously through that one.  The position feels better, but now the bars are so far back that my knees bump them if I stand up to climb.  Grrr.  I might just end up with an effing tri bike before the end of this.  Here's the heart rate plot from today:

I'm actually really confused about this plot.  I stopped my watch when I got off the bike to adjust the aerobars, so those long straight downward slopes shouldn't be there, since "time" wasn't passing then.  It should just the downward spikes.  Weird.  Oh actually, I think I get it.  My actual "workout time" was only 1:15, and that time scale looks like it goes a lot further than 1:15, so it must be plotting the total elapsed time, not the actual active time.  That's lame.  It doesn't do that with running.  It's weird to me that the watch continues to monitor total elapsed time even after you hit "stop".  It definitely does though, until you actually "reset" the activity.  That feature is used in showing rest periods during swimming. 

Ha!  Mystery solved.  RunningAhead is just pulling the wrong variable for "Duration".  ("total elapsed time" instead of "timer time").  I uploaded the data into Garmin Connect and it looks as I'd expect it to, given that I stopped the timer when I got off the bike:

Appropriate "instantaneous-looking" downward spikes at 8 and 16 minutes. 
Perhaps I should send an email to the RunningAhead guy....

Wow, sorry for the random detour.

I should really look into power and indoor distance capturing devices.  I'm a little short on data in the bike department.  Also to-do:  find "actual" heart rate based workouts to follow, rather than just winging it based on commercials or random heart rate goals.

Hmm, something like this, perhaps?
Surely there must be a few available online for free, right?  Anybody know of any?  I'm looking for specific workout instructions, based on heart rates.  For example: warm up at 50% for 5 minutes, go to 60% for 5 minutes, 80% for 1 minute, etc etc etc.  If nothing else, the "look inside" feature of the book above seems to be good for at least a few!

Dangit, I just added like 6 books to my Amazon Wishlist.  I haven't even read the last round of training books I bought.  Though I do use the "Swim Workouts in a Binder" every week.  

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