Ride, Forrest, Ride

“Training Zones, FTP tests, Sweet spots, not to mention what to say when someone asks you whether ‘you’ve left it all on the road’!”

I am known for being a bit of a ‘Forrest Gump’ when it comes to cycling; I just ride. I’ve ‘just ridden’ all my life. I cycled to school, to work, I’ve toured all over the UK and in many other countries, I’ve been a cycle courier, and a mountain bike guide, but through all of that, I’ve never considered the scientific or competitive aspects of the sport.

After signing up for the Marmotte Sportif last year, I thought I should take the training aspects more seriously and learn a bit more about the science, if only to understand what everyone else was talking about. Training Zones, FTP tests, Sweet spots, not to mention what to say when someone asks you whether ‘you’ve left it all on the road’! I’m very careless, so the answer is normally yes, in more ways than one.

I’ve commented on my lamentable efforts regarding my Marmotte training schedule in a previous post, but through my failure to adhere to any kind of rigid routine over the winter months last season, I did learn something. I went to a Gym that specialises in cycling fitness and had my fitness ‘metrics’ measured, and booked 10 Watt bike fitness sessions, which I actually enjoyed. This was a total surprise as I thought I was allergic to anything vaguely resembling a Gym. The only problem was that it was a long way from my house, taking up the best part of half a day including journey times. My Marmotte cycling friend also showed me what can be achieved using a turbo trainer, so I found myself wanting to know more.

“In the shop, I tried a trainer that was wired up to a large screen, showing me linked to an avatar, being overtaken by Bob (who was sitting on his bike in Oregon, USA)”

In mid-October I went along to a ‘turbo trainer open-evening’ at a popular West London cycling shop, to try their range of trainers. I came away with the cheapest Smart trainer on the market, with promises of being able to plug it into a bewildering array of virtual cycling experiences. In the shop, I tried a trainer that was wired up to a large screen, showing me linked to an avatar, being overtaken by Bob (who was sitting on his bike in Oregon, USA). I changed gear and gave it a bit of ‘welly’ and started to catch him up, and all for $10/month.

If you want to follow my journey through setting up the trainer properly to getting my first set of data, please click here for my winter training diary.  I warn you that as journeys go, I am hardly out of the blocks, and my first steps are mainly faltering.  Enjoy!

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