Thursday, 16 October 2014

Time to head back indoors….

One of the things I like best about living on the West Coast is being able to train outdoors year-round.  It's not always easy when the sun and humidity are out full-on in the summer or when the mercury drops below -10C in the winter, but it does make for a tougher, stronger athlete.  That said, there comes a time every fall that it's time to put the bike on the trainer and be glad that you aren't out fighting the wind and rain (because doing that on the run is enough), and that time is fast approaching.  
Farm road pic from the last road ride of the season

If you don't have a trainer for your bike, I highly recommend getting one!  Athlete, triathlete, or just looking to stave off winter weight gain, trainers let you ride your bike inside, safely, day or night and without the risk of breaking any body parts (unless you go for the roller-style trainer! Be careful!)

Another thing indoor riding is good for is going back to basics and experimenting.  Maybe you want to try clip-less bike shoes (I'll be posting an article next week on Muuve on riding safely when clipped in).  Maybe you want to start going longer distances or riding more efficiently.  Being safely indoors with no worry of traffic, weather, or limited daylight means you can practice any time, no excuses.

My cycling goals for this season are to ride more efficiently and longer.  If I'm going to tackle a half-Ironman, that's going to mean being on my bike for about 3 hours without crashing or dying, yikes.  To learn efficiency, I've started riding at about 90rpm.  This is the cadence that most cycling experts believe allows cyclists to ride longer with less fatigue by recruiting our "slow twitch" muscle fibers and burn fat as fuel.  The best way I have found to keep an eye on your cadence is to have a bike computer that attaches to your rear wheel.  I've tried other ways (cadence sensor that came with my watch, some apps, trying to count in my head), but they just didn't work that well.

Learning to ride longer indoors really isn't that fun unless you can keep yourself entertained.   Some people spin with friends, some use movies, I like to watch the Kings of Leon concert DVD, whatever works.  I've also downloaded a few apps that have been very helpful, namely CoachMyRide and Indoor Interval Cycling.  CoachMyRide has workouts grouped by duration, level of fitness and type (speed, endurance, tempo), while Indoor Interval Cycling is similar but also includes visuals for target cadence and exactly where the chain should be on the rear cog, which is great for newbies.

If you have any apps, tips, tricks for indoor riding, I would love to hear them.  Until next time, stay safe!

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