Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter training

I know I'm due several blogpost updates, these will come when the Xmas craze and business has quietened down a bit. While not much has been happening on my blog, a lot has happened offline and I'm well into my winter season training. Luckily Ryan and I have been able to spend a good chunk of our long preparatory miles in good(-ish) weather in California so we were able to avoid the first big freeze that kept Ireland in a cold grip. Training over there went very well, warmer weather and good company made the long base rides so much easier and so much fun. I've been on a few group rides with some very good riders and I absolutely loved it! I really can see myself turning pro after my PhD. Even the really hard rides and long tough climbs don't feel that hard when you've got some great people around you pushing you on. But unfortunately our time in California was limited and we both had to return back to Ireland after a few very good training weeks. We were lucky to return when the snow had mostly melted in Ireland and only got stuck in London for 2 hours due to dense fog.

Current view from our bedroom

Anyhow, the fairly mild weather on arrival back home has given way again to the 2nd big freeze. With temperatures of up to -12 degree Celsius, snow and ice, training outside has become dangerous to impossible. I ventured out on my mountain bike once when the weather wasn't too bad and the snow had mostly gone, dressed up like a Michelin (wo-)man in thick layers of clothing and using my new ski gloves and insulated bottles with hot juice (they both worked fantastically!), but wiped out twice on frozen puddles on the mountain. Luckily I could find areas that were rideable, mainly within the forest and it was OK as long as you kept off the open mountain. However, I felt quite restricted in my clothing and reduced dexterity in the ski gloves wasn't helping for the technical bits either. At least I was kept warm till the end.

Saris 300 Pro Indoor Cycle

But anyway, with the snow back and the temperatures colder than our freezer I've decided to stick to training indoors, made possible to the recent, very smart (in hindsight) investment by my cycling husband into a Saris 300 Pro Indoor Cycle. This machine has revolutionized our indoor training. While Ryan claims he's bought it primarily with me in mind (he used to very much dislike using his turbo trainer), we now fight over who can use the machine! It's a really heavy thing and very sturdy and set up or change between Ryan's and my settings is minimal. In addition, it's so quiet that you have to stop outside the door and listen carefully to be able to hear if the other person is actually using it. This is a big plus for me because I was always worried of annoying our neighbours with the noise and vibrations that a conventional turbo trainer creates and so basically prohibiting early morning and late night sessions before. And the best thing: It comes with an inbuilt power meter, so it's possible to have really specific workouts. And Ryan thankfully also invested into a new fan (after battling with the old broken one for a while). So, while indoor training on a stationary machine will never beat the specificity and joys of outdoor training, this is one of the best alternatives I have found.

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