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Medium-high intensity cardio workout; Casually checking out road bikes.

Friday, September 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

September
7
2012

Yesterday morning I didn’t have time to train because I had to take Loki to the vet for an early appointment (nothing is wrong–it was just time for his monthly Percorten-V shot). I decided to do a mid-afternoon cardio workout that I’ve not done in quite some time: 45 minutes of medium-high intensity cardio on the recumbent bike.

For this workout I try to average about 85% of my maximum heart rate (my max is 202 BPM, so that’s roughly 170 BPM for me) over a period of 45 minutes. What I do is set the base resistance on my bike a few difficulty levels above what I use for fasted LISS cardio, and then spin at around 90-100 RPM (which is the same cadence I use at a lower resistance when doing LISS cardio). Also, during the workout I’ll randomly bump the resistance even higher to simulate hills and spike my heart rate above my target average. It’s quite a workout. I need to point out that you should never attempt this workout in a fasted state; that would be extremely counterproductive (and you’d probably pass out anyway).

For some reason maintaining an average of 170 BPM on the indoor trainer is much harder than it is on a mountain bike. I’m not sure why that is. When I’m mountain biking I can maintain 170 BPM for hours on end. For example, my average heart rate on the 42 mile mountain bike ride this past Sunday was 171 BPM, and that was over a period of more than 4 hours. I don’t think I could maintain that level on the indoor trainer for even half that time: yesterday when I completed my 45 minute workout I was fairly well exhausted.

Motobecane Immortal Pro Carbon Fiber Road Bike

Motobecane Immortal Pro Carbon Fiber Road Bike

So yesterday’s blog sure sparked a great deal of discussion. One of the subjects that was discussed heavily in the comments section was road cycling.

Even though I doubt I’ll ever find road biking anywhere nearly as fun or satisfying as mountain biking, I know of very few strong XC mountain bikers who don’t do at least some amount of training on a road bike. Clearly a road bike is something I need to strongly consider as a mountain biking training tool.

In the comments section of yesterday’s blog JSF member “madamert” linked to Bikes Direct, and I spent some time there yesterday browsing around. I was surprised by how reasonable their prices are on what appear to be very quality bikes. For example, check out this Motobecane Immortal Pro Carbon Fiber road bike: just $1295, no tax and free shipping. That’s a pretty incredible price for a full carbon bike using very high quality components. It weighs in at just 15.7 pounds! Does anyone have an experience with Bikes Direct and/or Motobecane? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

John Stone Fitness Comments

18 Responses to “Medium-high intensity cardio workout; Casually checking out road bikes.”
  1. I agree with the rest from yesterday, even though my first love is hitting the trails on my mountain bike, never underestimate the feeling of accomplishment after climbing a monster hill on a road bike. It’s a completely different satisfaction. In fact I did my first organized ride in a group(much safer) and I had so many good conversations and laughs while cruising down the road. Great time!!! If you like riding, I would sure recommend it to anyone. Here in Nothern Kentucky and Ohio they have a program going on called “Rails to Trails” where they are taking old unused railroad tracks and are paving them. Very care free riding and great place to become comfortable away from traffic. Not sure if Florida has anything like that. As for buying a bike, I used craigslist.com for a used road bike. Got a sweet deal on a specialized tarmac. In fact my road bike is nicer than my mountain bike at the moment. Definitely check that out before buying new. Bikes are like cars as soon as you take them out of the shop they lose half their value, so if you’re patient you can sometimes get a steal. Hope my two cents helps.

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    • Thanks mania, very helpful. Yep, we have Rails to Trails here, and plenty of great road trails (Lisa and I rode quite a few of them on our mountain bikes when we first started riding). Craigslist is definitely something I’ll be looking at. I don’t want to spend a lot of money, as this bike will be used only for cardio training.

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  2. While I’m not a big fan of the mass produced MTB’s by Trek, Specialized, & Giant, they do offer some great values in road bikes. Giant and Trek in particular seems to have the mid range road bike segment covered. I’d be really weary of a sub 16 lb carbon framed road bike, I’d want something with a bit more weight (read that strength), I’ve seen too many roadies on the side of the road around here with snapped carbon forks and broken main frames.

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  3. I’ve had multiple road bikes,…from aluminum to full carbon. As with all bikes, you get what you pay for. Looking at the specs on this one (as far as components), I don’t think you’ll be happy with the 105 shifters. I’ve had them before, as well as Ultegra, Dura Ace and now SRAM Red. The 105’s have too much slop in the mechanism compared to others, but they are the low end for Shimano. From seeing the upgrades to your mtn. bike, you’d save yourself money in the long run to go with D/A or my pick SRAM Red, because you’ll want to upgrade after a few months. They do have fantastic prices on road bikes, but not sure of your budget. If money allows these two are the choices I’d recommend.
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/kestrel/evoke1_sramred_road_xi.htm
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/kestrel/10_talon_sramred_road.htm

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    • Hah, the road bike budget is going to be nothing even close to that! šŸ™‚ If I’m going to dump serious money, it’s going to be on mountain biking. I only want a road bike for training so that I can better improve my XC mountain biking. I have no desire at all to get into serious road biking.

      Truth be told this just makes me want to forget the whole idea.

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  4. At one time, my brother in-law was a really accomplished competitive cyclist, and though he no longer competes, if he wanted to, he could still take a second-hand walmart bike and still beat the pants off of most anyone in his riding club.
    My nephew, an avid snowboarder, put it to me this way when I was looking for my first snow board;
    “There’s so many guys out on the hill that are in a gear/fashion show. But anybody who’s really in it for the love of the sport would be out there with a peavey mart snowsuit and a kijiji board if they had to”

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    • I’ll bet you anything your brother-in-law didn’t race on a second-hand wal-mart bike, though. šŸ˜‰

      I’m just playing, and I get your point. I totally agree that overbuying needlessly is foolish. So yeah, I definitely feel spending a lot of money on a road bike would be a waste for my purposes.

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  5. This is the model that I went with a few years ago:

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/liberty_3.htm

    On the trainer it’s excellent. When I’ve taken it on the road it has been fine as well.

    If I was a roadie I’d probably get all concerned about quality of shifting and weight but I’m not. I just wanted something dependable and easy to maintain. Gets me to the top of the hills when necessary.

    Lastly, I much prefer the compact style road bikes (like the link above) because it’s closer to a mountain biking position.

    Also, in terms of your heart rate, remember that when you’re out on the trail you’re activating tons other muscles to keep you balanced/etc. so your heart rate stays much higher while your power output is down. When you’re on the trainer you can put 100% of your effort into power output so you end up killing your drive muscles alone. On the trail your power lvl is lower but your heart rate is higher because you’re working so many other muscles that are inefficient.

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    • Ah, you totally get what it is Iā€™m after here. And the price on that bike is low enough that I could pick up a Kinetic fluid trainer and still be under half of what some people are suggesting I spend on just the bike.

      Your last paragraph makes perfect sense, Iā€™d never thought of it that way.

      Excellent contributions, thanks madamert!

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  6. you are VERY right about what he rode in competition. Both my brother in law and nephew are total gear heads, and crush a mere mortal like me in their respective sports, regardless what they or I am riding. šŸ™‚

    The last few days, all the stuff about heart rate, has been really interesting. Will be following to see how this all plays out for you in the future.

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  7. John, if you’re going to buy a 29er anyway, why not just ride that on the road and forget about a road bike? I just took my Superfly 100 for a spin on the Seminole trail to see how it would do. With 65 psi in the tires and fore and aft suspension locked, it acquitted itself very well. So well in fact, that had I known it at the time, I could have pedaled just 1.1 mph faster in one section and beaten the QOM set Kim Wiley on her time trial bike. LOL

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    • Lots of reasons. One of the big ones is riding position. A road bike would be much more comfortable compared to a mtb on long rides (long training rides would be one of the main reasons I’d want a road bike). Also, my 29er will be tubeless, so there’s no way I could run high TP. Nor would I want the noise of the mtb tires on the fluid trainer.

      Very different bikes for very different purposes.

      Congratulations on almost being Queen of The Mountain! šŸ˜€

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  8. “It’s not about the bike”.

    Knowing how competitive you are, especially with yourself, and how obsessive you are -that’s a GOOD thing because all high achievers are…they must be, once you start, I suspect you might just fall in love with riding a roadie!

    Road biking is really a solitary activity. Even in a peloton you’re only as good as what you give when cooperating for the greater good of all or ‘the team’. To quote Lance “Whatever your personal 100% is…give it!” Even knowing how prolific drug use is in cycling worldwide, I know who I believe and it’s not USADA, nor will I until such time as LA actually states “mea culpa”. The real vs anecdotal evidence supports him. But I digress.

    Riding a roadie is ALL about performance, and especially about always challenging oneself. Perseverance of mind over matter and sheer will, the kind of stuff you really love. It’s the same as distance runners high, which I used to be from high school age contiguously until my knees and ankle joints started protesting vehemently at around age 45.

    At 57, I’m back again after a several intermittent period of hiatus ignited and enforced through injury (MTB highside ‘spear tackling’ the ground with my head just under a decade ago resulting in C4-5 & C5-6 being excavated and fused – fortunate and glad I didn’t end up a quad, a very close run thing at the time.

    The thing all of my life has always aerobic fitness and flexibility focussed rather than hard core weight lifting for sheer muscle mass, but with anaerobic balance at the gym as I long realised weight work for muscle tone and mass also important. Protein is KING, with carbs only as necessary to ‘stoke the fire and maintain the flame’.I say all of this not out of egocentricity, but to offer perspective of where I’m coming from with my view and comments.

    Dropping big bux on a high end carbon bike isn’t necessary for either amateur competition or training *in my view*. There’ll always be someone with more money to drop on a more exclusive ‘blingier’ bike in every ‘Latte’s at the Coffee Club later?’ sipping urban ‘peloton’. Would you really sit and snipe with them anyway? I don’t think so.

    However, in deference to the upgrades you’ve made to your Fuel EX 8 in reading your blogs, there’s little doubt that if it does grab your excitement as I am sure it will, you will be wanting a T700, and better, carbon frame with top end components. That does cost, and the boasting rights exclusivity factor really costs as that aspect of marketing isn’t lost on any bike brand these days. But all in good time.

    But you don’t need to start there. Full 105 alloy with carbon composite bits where they count for comfort will offer robustness, rigidity and ride comfort. It’s a KG heavier. So what? I’d go that way myself rather than cheapest carbon, in fact I did. There’s a natural human predisposition to personal satisfaction in outriding the poseurs on what they consider ‘a rubbish bike’ when they can’t blame their non-performance on a 250g weight disadvantage. o.O At other than top pro or Olympic level, performance on a bike is as much about the bike in terms of what really counts toward the resultant performance as shoes do in a runners performance. 98% of the result is all about mind body synergy and the sheer will to commit 100% to one’s performance on your weakest day. Enough of the pep talk. Spend on a carbon or composite with 105 or better for now and give it a go. That way you will know if its for you, always remembering the adage, one can do anything one wants, but not everything one wants! (implied of course, concurrently without a necessary focussed to excel).

    And you’ll revel in these http://www.thesufferfest.com/ used in conjunction with a reasonable quality trainer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXwq9TcH7bI. I have Elite’s Mag Supercrono and it’s simply superb without throwing silly $$$$ at a static trainer. I prefer mag resistance to fluid, but like the feel of weight on roller rather than a full supported cradle, so the supercrono is best of both worlds for me. I just wish we could source the Titan gyms in AU at what you can get them for in the US. An absurd $9k here, ‘reduced’ to $7k ‘on sale’. Digressing again. And apols for the verbosity. I’d say GL, but know that with you or me, luck plays little part, so I’ll say instead ‘enjoy the ride’ whichever route you take.

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    • First, let me congratulate you on the what is unquestionably the most loquacious comment in JSF history! šŸ˜‰

      Look, I can’t predict the future. Perhaps I’ll fall in love with road cycling–and I’ve lived long enough to know that saying “never” is rarely wise–but I can say that it’s highly unlikely. Everything that you said that would attract me to road cycling is present in mountain biking, but for me mountain biking offers more of what I enjoy, and less of what I don’t.

      I don’t like pavement. I don’t like cars. I don’t like pollution. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like noise. I don’t like churning for endless miles down straight roads. I especially don’t like the arrogance and cliquey behavior I’ve personally witnessed from quite a few roadies (online and IRL).

      In fairness, I also know some very cool roadies. I’m not trying to come down on that facet of cycling, I’m just trying to explain why it doesn’t particularly appeal to me.

      Mountain biking is a much better fit for me. I love being in the woods. I love how dynamic the trails are. I love the never-ending challenges. I love flowing down singletrack, pumping the terrain for as much speed as my skills allow. I love the feeling of railing a corner on the outside edge of control. I love the smell of the forest. I love the quiet mornings when I can’t hear anything but the sound of my own breathing. I love that I can ride so hard that it feels like my veins are filled with acid, or simply lay back and glide through the trees. I love being able to leave the ground; I’m not a big air guy, but even going weightless off a kicker or drop is a huge rush. I love the people I’ve met; just about every mountain biker I’ve encountered has been down to earth, helpful and friendly.

      When and if I get a road bike, it will be decent, but inexpensive. I will not spend lots of money because that money would be wasted. The road bike will be a means to an end: getting better at what I love, mountain biking. If I wind up becoming addicted to road cycling, I’ll come back here and say, “Wow, sure didn’t see that coming!”

      Don’t hold your breath.

      P.S. I have all the Sufferfest videos. I’m going to use them almost exclusively when I’m in training starting this January. šŸ™‚

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  9. P.S. I bought that Medium frame (2012 KHS XCT-556) by the way. Claimed weight of 12.8KG stock (in that sized frame). I am sure the bike has greater capability than I’ll my sorry bones will be able to offer it justice.

    No matter, I’d ride it like I stole it as long as I can stave off the walking frame for another year. =]

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