Liz Randall's Cycling Blog - a life behind bars

"With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable"

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Velodrome time again

With the forecast here in Melbourne running at "likliehood of local hail and thunderstorms", yesterday I decided to change from a 2hr road ride at 3pm to a 1hr ride on the indoor velodrome at Darebin at 8am. I only have 2.5hrs off work to do this workout so the early am start allows me extra travel time ... the downside is the track is VERY cold and speed will not be at race pace, although the wattage effort will be there.

Since one of my main concerns is whether or not I can overcome the sheer boredom of circling around and around for 1hr, my self imposed task over a period of time is to gradually up the number of solo laps at any one session in a worst case scenario setting ie NO distractions at people, no music. Today's target was 10 up on the last time=50 laps. And not just any old 50 laps. Each laps was to be on or near the black (the shortest distance around the track) and at a constant speed/effort.

The warm up time was yet again spent fiddling with the minutiae of fine tuning a comfortable position and then I was ready for the 50. Speed was indeed down but effort was there and with an occasional wobble I managed to keep a fairly good line..although having said that I've had that same thought in some of my pursuit races and then been shown a photo where I was clearly closer to the red than the black line.

I'm left with the same question: why is it, since a watt is a watt, is a watt, can I manage to output more watts at less discomfort on the road or track than I can on an indoor trainer?????. Is it purely because on the trainer you are just pedaling (nearly wrote peddling!) where as elsewhere you have to ..keep the bike upright/steer etc etc.

1 comment:

Bleve said...

Indoor trainers have two reasons for causing more effort per watt, or more discomfort.

Firstly, a stationary bike doesn't move (duh!) which means you get stuck in one position muchmoreso than when riding 'free'. This means your weight stays put, you can't use your bodyweight to shuffle around and moev your pressure points.

Secondly, the power thing ... a bike, when rolling, helps you through the dead spots, a fixie significantly so (it throws your legs through TDC/BDC), but even a freehub bike lets you rest through the low-power parts of your pedal stroke. Even the most flash and expensive spin trainers have much *much* less inertia than required to carry you through TDC/BDC and you have to push through parts of the pedal stroke that are quite weak in order to push a smooth cadence. If you had a high enough resolution power meter you'd be able to see the difference between road, fixed and trainer torque through the pedal stroke, but as at this time, I'm not aware of anything accurate enough outside of a laboratory (and thus, most likely a spin trainer, not rollers ...)

"spin trainers suck", basically! Necessary evils sometimes.