Semesters over....well sorta

Monday, December 14, 2009

My one and only "final" if you want to call it that was last Wednesday night at 7PM, allowing me to relax over the past couple days and even have the opportunity to ride some. Christmas came early when my good friends Jeff and Jordan came down to the visit. They brought one of my Christmas presents that I convinced my mom into giving me early. For years I have been wanting an indoor trainer for several reasons primarily to train during the winter, but also to ride when weather doesn't allow and warm up properly before races. I've never had the money for the one I really wanted, a Cycleops Fluid Pro. CycleOps is an American company associated with Saris Bicycle Racks. I managed to get $105 dollars off the already very expensive trainer during a Black Friday Eastern Mountain Sports deal.

I'm planning on writing a review on it once I have some more time to play with it and put some serious miles on it, so far it has been doing the job well. Last night I decided to give it a try and since I haven't had a chance to pick up any of the accessories for it yet (sweat mat and leveling/climbing block) I made a makeshift sweat mat and tire block to level the bike from a towel and textbook. My 6th edition Thermodynamics did quite nicely, however I need to find a box fan because the tower fan just isn't cutting it when it comes to ventilation. It's a good thing I made that space for the trainer when I did.

While on the trainer I played around with using my Garmin 310XT to record my power data and compared the results to the PowerTap head unit results, they proved to be fairly similar except for distances (discussed later). Below shows the results of my first ride on the trainer and my first longer then 5 minute ride with the new power meter. The first output is from PowerAgent, CycleOps interface for downloading and dissecting power data from your rides. The learning curve of using a power meter effectively is steep and I have a ton to learn.

Below is an output from Garmin's online Training center, Garmin Connect, where my data is automatically uploaded using then ANT+ stick from my Garmin Forerunner 310XT. My distance is shown while stationary by the red line that travels all over my building and the parking lot outside. I did my ride by the window and forgot to turn off the GPS for the ride, and have now since setup multiple profiles for riding including one for outdoor riding and another for stationary/ indoor trainer riding.

Monday was gorgeous with temperatures in the high 50's and I couldn't resist but go out for a ride and judging by the amount of cyclist I saw whilst out it seemed everyone else had the same idea (yeah! first opportunity to throw in whilst!). Weather like that in December is few and far between for Blacksburg especially considering the current blizzard outside of my window.

A little out of order but today's Blizzard anyways
(Not a blizzard yet, but we're supposed to get 18")

For the first outdoor ride with the power meter I choose a route that is a favorite for Wednesday Worlds around and also has gorgeous scenery and a narly climb at the end of the ride. The ride total was just around 31 miles and under 2 hours of actual ride time. I did not have autopause turned on which is another convenience of having two bike profiles on the Garmin.

Pictures from the ride 12/14/2009

As for the power data I have absolutely no idea what it means at this point, nor what the sampling and smoothing factors affect, or how to interpret my performance from the ride. I've picked up two books about training, including Training and Racing with a Power Meter which will hopefully give me a better understanding of the data I'm looking at.

Below is power data from Tuesday's trainer ride, about the same distance but this time I have a very large error in my Garmin's distance with the GPS turned off so I'll have to look into that.

As discussed earlier were supposed to be getting 18" of snow today and into tomorrow which means that outside riding isn't happening, not that it can't..just that there is not way I'm going out in it. The snow means fun times on the trainer and maybe a few movies from Redbox to keep me entertained until I can get home, because right now I'm not going anywhere.


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