Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Computrainer Or How To Toast A Pair Of Legs

Last week I got an e-mail from the Upstate Tri president that there are two spots available for a Computrainer Ride at the Greenville Cycling Center on Saturday afternoon and that it is free for members. I had no clue what a computrainer ride is, but it was free, so what the heck. By the way how hard can it be and anyways who cares that I had a 10-mile race planned for Saturday morning.

To prove, how clueless I was, let me briefly describe the short e-mail conversation I had after I have been told that I got one of the spots. For whatever reason, I had the picture in mind that we would be using something like spin bikes and therefore I asked, if I needed regular running shoes or if I would be able to use my SPD clipless shoes. The response was: "You will use your own bike, so whatever your set-up is, is what you'll use." I am glad I asked, because I would have shown up to the class without my bike.

We were using the MultiRider function and here is a brief description from the GCC webpage:
"CompuTrainer MultiRider systems provide a new, exciting and technically superior method of indoor GROUP bike training and racing. It's a great way to motivate people to stick with an athletic or exercise program. A basement, garage, bike shop or health club can double as an indoor cycling center for up to 8 riders at a time connected to one PC through a USB Hub."

The cycling center has eight computrainer spots, but we were only six people that day... It was a beautiful day outside, so I can understand anyone who went on the road instead of doing this.

Once we were all set-up (I was dead last, b/c I was late... I hate to be late, but I just couldn't find the place!), Coach Jim picked a route for the session. We ended up with a profile of a 24 mile ride that was basically uphill for the most part. Steepest incline I think was 9.9... To say so much for the moment, I never made it to that part. The trainers adjust resistance depending on where you are on the profile.

As soon as the simulation started, we started pedaling and tried to get into the groove. Things started off easy with a 1.7 incline to warm up some. Of course this WASN'T a race, but stick six triathletes in a room and put a screen in front of them with a ranking PLUS the distance in feet to catch the person ahead of them.... But of course it wasn't a RACE!

Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but the "non-race" was ON for me. Especially since cycling was my best discipline last year and I lost my cycling legs somewhat over the winter, I really wanted to push myself. And pushing yourself is definitely easier in this kind of environment. Maybe half an hour into the ride I felt my strenght dwindeling and I asked the coach to get my Shot Bloks out of my bag and I downed within minutes the leftovers from the race in the morning. That was four pieces (~130 calories) after running a ten mile race and not having a proper lunch because I was busy running around and also because my stomach wasn't so happy. Can you spell BONK? I was pedaling my little heart out from then on. Getting a glimpse of myself in the mirror was kind of funny (looking back now)... So that's how your face looks when you are suffering. Sweet! I made little deals with myself: Just another 10 minutes, just do another 5 minutes, just hang in there until you did an hour.... And that's what I did... I quit... One hour into the program I let it be... My legs were TOAST!

While Coach Jim got my bike off the trainer, we talked a little. He said that this was one of the hardest profiles he has, but since it was a promo class, he didn't want to make it too easy, so that people get an idea of what the computrainer is about. And that was fine... I really feel like I would like to try this again on a fresh set of legs. Actually, I already hinted Terry those classes as a possible birthday present (I know, I am hinting very early), so I would be able to do them over the winter. I kinda doubt that I would like to do them now, because the weather is finally getting somewhere that we are able to take the bikes out on the road again... Besides, on the road you can cruise every now and then.... No such thing on the computrainer! ;-)

So long!

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