Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Riding

Late September and early October are pretty depressing as a cyclist. Each week 10 minutes of day light vanishes and then slowly, as the temperatures fall, the winter riding gear starts to surface. First it is just tights and maybe a vest, next long finger gloves and shoe covers. Pretty soon the winter boots and all the wind proof stuff will replace the sleeveless jersey's and sandals. Sweating during an outside ride becomes a result of over-dressing not the heat. The bright side is that in 6 months the summer stuff will slowly start to surface. Some one needs to come up with a slick term for the cycling of cycling gear throughout the Midwest year.

This time of year you have to take advantages of each day that is rideable. Of course the definition of "rideable" will be changing with the weather. Every rider has there own definition and many of my riding partners think that mine is a little insane. Normally for me if the roads are pretty dry you can ride. I have all the clothes needed to ride at any temperature sometimes I don't have the motivation to step out and ride.

Last week during the three days of rain I rolled my trainer with my indoor bike out of the back room in the basement and set it in it's customary spot in front of the TV next to the bar with a fan within reach. I kept thinking I was going to ride indoors but could not get the motivation My trainer of choice is a 1989 model Velodyne with a 1990 Trek 2300 mounted . Schwinn marketed the trainer for a couple years and even had some nation wide competitions. I purchased mine in 1990 and have put about 1500 miles per year on it ever since.

For 1989 this was cutting edge technology. There are pre-programmed race courses plus you can make you own courses. It is similar to the computrainers you can buy today but mine has an LCD screen and you are just a "blip" on the course you are riding.

Last winter I programmed some of the tougher sections of the Race Across the West for training. You can create hills up to 15 percent in one percent increments but the length is limited to 20 miles. You can get a really great hill climb workout. There are nine different levels of racers to chooses from to help push you along. Level seven makes for a nice challenge and level six a nice tempo ride. As long as you stay with the pack you get the benefit of drafting as well.

The goal for this off season is to limit the amount of indoor riding and ride outside as much as possible. The indoor rides need to be specific workout with either hill repeats of 3-6 minute intervals. Last year was one of my lowest indoor mileage years with only 650 mile between January 1st and now. Last year the Tuesday night group move our group rides to my basement with each person bringing is own trainer. This cranked up the motivation and the intensity watching coach Troy videos and giving each other crap.