My Coast to Coast friend Paul used me as a guinea pig last week. This adds a different dimension to the turbo training torture which I am still trying to “enjoy”.
As you may have already gathered, I loathe my turbo trainer but see it as a means-to-an-end in terms of maintaining, or even improving, my fitness during these winter months. Also you might remember that Paul is the team’s stats man. He loves the challenge of working out optimum gear ratios, the power output required for various hills and so on. He has rigged up an adapted cycle trainer in his spare bedroom and last week he “invited” me to have a go. Joking aside, it was an interesting experience for me.
Through the experiment Paul was measuring my performance over 5 minute intervals and was recording the results on to a graph showing:
- Resistance (resistance weights to simulate inclines) from which a power output was calculated
- Heart rate
- Breathing (five levels)
Paul had acquired the cycle trainer and refurbished it. I think he would do that whether it needed to be done or not, he’s that kind of person. He had also rigged up an additional belt on the flywheel for extra resistance and had gone a step further with various weights added to vary the resistance. I could certainly feel the difference! In true Heath Robinson style, there were various rubber bands, home made clips and various bits & bobs keeping it all together. On the handlebars were a timer (held on with blutac), a timer and a cycle computer to measure my relative speed.
From this Paul had a pretty good idea that he was simulating the reality of cycling up various hills which we might encounter on the Coast to Coast. He also had calculated my power output in watts and then compared that to my performance on real hills, courtesy of following me on Strava. We could also look to see the power outputs needed to ride up the likes of Hardknott Pass at a specific speed. That is probably too scary to me to fully take in, with a kind of denial creeping in on my part.
I had certainly enjoyed my work-out in a masacistic kind of way. I was hot, sweaty and I knew I’d been put through my paces especially with the last ride and giving it everything in the last minute or so. I pushed myself so my heart rate was really high and I was totally out of breath, gasping and panting like a steam engine hauling itself up a steep hill. While all this was going on, Paul was taking his notes, checking the timer and other blutac-ed gizmos and using the data to plot a graph for me to take home. I thought he was joining in with some polite conversation, but actually he was clocking my ability to hold a conversation as an indicator of my breathing! There he was, composed, cool as a cucumber and I was pounding away, gasping, spluttering and enduring the torture.
Joking aside, it was an interesting experience. It will be interesting to repeat it in perhaps a month or two and compare my performance. Plus there might be the opportunity to compare myself against other torture chamber victims, now that’ll be interesting…..