I have talked about Performance Bike before, after all I bought April from them. I am a “Performance Team Member” (meaning I carry their annual membership card which you pay for), one of the benefits this card gives is access to member only sales specials. Recently I received one of those special emails and it offered a Travel Trac Fluid trainer for 50% off, and I had a 20%-off coupon for a single item. I previously tested this very trainer in the local store and knew I liked how quiet it was. Sure, there is some noise, but I can easily watch TV or listen to my music etc. without distraction. Online research yielded very positive results, and I ran out of excuses to not pull the trigger. I ordered online, and to avoid shipping cost I had the unit delivered to my local store in Santa Monica. I guess I was not the only one recognizing a good deal since it took quiet a while to receive it. Performance was good about keeping me updated of the status and a couple of weeks later I was the proud owner of my first ‘Trainer’….now what?
Without assembly nothing happens, and luckily the new model of the Travel Trac is a breeze to setup and does not require minute modifications to adjust tension on the rear wheel. 10 minutes after unpacking the box the bike was securely locked into the trainer. In our home we have the benefit of a bonus room atop the garage and I figured it would be nice to set the bike up facing a door leading to a balcony overlooking the front yard. OK, so time to clip in and try my first spin.
Weird, very weird at first, and believe me, just hopping on and start spinning without a plan is no fun at all. But, during the first 45 minutes I learned something new about me: I have more water in me than I thought possible, I mean I sweat buckets. You won’t believe how much you sweat in one place when you are not riding outdoors and have the benefit of the rushing air cooling you off. Three lessons learned from the first try:
ONE – even if you ride in front of an open door, a fan does wonders, and TWO: a matt under the bicycle is essential if you care about the floor, and THREE: a training plan
The fan was no problem, if your household is like ours, there is a fan somewhere. The matt was a no brainer, and old exercise matt which was neatly stored away and long forgotten, the training plan took a bit more thinking. But then I remembered a generous gift from Allen Jones (@EpicPlanet) Producer of EpicRides training DVD‘s, which I received almost a year ago. To this day I am not sure why I was the lucky recipient, but he send me two DVD’s. I have Epic Tucson – Mt. Lemmon and Epic Tucson – Saguaro East, but not having had a trainer, never had the benefit to enjoy the brilliant composition of these training videos. So I rigged up an old laptop stand, which now sits in front of my bike and holds my MacBook Pro, playing the DVDs. What a difference training with a plan makes.
I absolutely love Allen’s approach to the training segments. Training Zone, elevation profiles, time intervals and pop-up interval training instructions all clearly laid out. Additionally you can download detailed training instructions in PDF format for all their rides from the website. Now getting onto the trainer, is like getting onto a ride with purpose. And yes, when you are done, you still will be drenched (fan or not), but you will get off the trainer with a great sense of accomplishment. I have not done Mt. Lemmon yet, but I love the East Saguaro ride, a perfect 45 minute morning workout with great intervals and climbs and I highly recommend you check out their website of all of Allen’s amazing EpicRides.
The last piece to the puzzle was to measure performance, which I thought would be a breeze with my Garmin 705. Not so quick! It took several attempts and the help from some Twitter friends to get it working. You see at first my Garmin would simply cycle from Auto Stop – to – Auto Stop – to – Auto Stop….well, you get the hint. Puzzling indeed? Why would it not record HR and Cadence? Thankfully @sbbc_la had the answer: While on the trainer turn off the GPS!…and now I get what I was looking for:
I know there is a lot of people who make the statement that they ‘HATE’ their time on the trainer. Perhaps I have not logged enough miles on the trainer yet, but I truly appreciate that I can hop on the trainer whenever I have an hour and get a good workout in.
I discovered that I love working out in the morning more than at night. It gives me a charge for the whole day and I love the feeling. Yes, it is not the same as riding outdoors, but when you are running short on time, this is a wonderful way of keeping your cycling legs alive. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.