Well, this week finally did it. I finally gave into setting up the rollers and planning to put some hours in riding them. As was pointed out in a couple of Facebookersations yesterday, I’m nowhere near as tough as my cold weather friends who live and ride in Boston/Utah, or my local friends (sorry J-dub, I have no good link for you….aside from comments on my blog???) who ride year round regardless of the weather. It’s true, once it’s too cold, too dark, and/or too icy, I’m taking a pass and going inside. Read on for more, and for tips on how to have a less sucky indoor experience….
The good news is, at least I still get some movement in. For those who’ve been following along, I lost 50 lbs in 2007, largely due to my newfound love of cycling. I’ve slipped a little, but have kept 40 off throughout 2008, and now have another 30 lbs as a goal to reach before cross season next year. In the past week I’ve dropped 3-4 lbs already, so I’m motivated to keep moving, even when the weather is nasty.
I’ll agree with most that say trainers and rollers really can suck. There is NOTHING like getting out, feeling the wind move across you, and checking out the surroundings of everything you ride by and through. And trainers and rollers will never really replicate the conditions of a real ride, but when you have to ride inside, there are two things I’ve discovered to help make the effort a little less sucky.
1) Get some decent rollers – I use the InsideRide rollers by E-motion. They are not cheap, I’ll get that out of the way right away, but for me, they were the best option to keep rolling into the nasty weather season. Last night when it was 22 degrees out, slick as yesterday’s bacon on toast, and dark…I still got in a decent cardio workout. The workout helps with the fitness goals, and keeps my legs loose for when I actually get to go out.
The other nice thing about using rollers, is that I get to be on MY bike, on my wheels and tires, with a feel that’s very much like being on the road.
Since the E-motion rollers are a fluid motion roller, they have some forward and back give that makes the whole thing feel much more like an actual ride. The side roller wheels also help in keeping the bike on the rollers, as opposed to the guy in the first video illustration. I hate being inside, but this really ended up being the best option for me.
2) Have a distration – When out and about, for me it’s all about soaking up the surroundings. Often times the miles go by quickly because I’m more focussed on what’s happening than what I’m doing. My first few times on the rollers I tried listening to music, but it didn’t cut the mustard. I tried watching movies, but I honestly can’t last 2 hours on the trainer. Since about 45-60 minutes is really good for me, I’ve found that episodes of series I don’t normally watch are just about the right length.
This year, I’m watching the Terminator series, and last season I re-watched some earlier 24 episodes…back before Jack had already saved the world twice in every way imaginable, and back before we realized what an idiot is daughter really was. I can also get by watching The Office, since we don’t normally watch that, but I the time goes by quicker if it’s loud and something is blowing up. I take my 17″ Macbook Pro out to my office, hook it up to the Logitech 5.1 system, crank it up and ride.
Some folks are into watching riding and training videos, and I just have never tried them. They might be a good option as well.
I’m still keeping my eyes on the weather for a good, safe day to ride outdoors, but for now I’m keeping two wheels moving indoors.