Why ride indoors?; New PR on Tuesday’s MTB ride; Yesterday’s Training.
Yesterday I posted a tour of my newly completed Bike Torture Chamber, and a few people wondered why someone living in Florida would do any indoor biking at all! That’s a good question, and even though I replied to those comments directly here and on Facebook, this morning I’d like to address that subject in a little more detail.
Ever since I started working out back in 2003 I’ve always done indoor cardio. When I took up mountain biking in late 2009, those indoor cardio sessions became the exception and not the rule. All things being equal I’d rather be outside riding instead of stationary in my gym, but there are several reasons why indoor cardio makes sense at times:
- Bad weather. Putting aside the extreme heat and humidity that we deal with half the year (that’s just an accepted part of living in a sub-tropical region), the weather in Florida is generally quite nice for riding year-round. As pleasant as the weather usually is, there are times when mother nature gets pretty ugly. While sometimes I love hitting the trails during a rain storm (on the trails that allow it, of course), it’s often simply too dangerous to do so. Did you know that Central Florida is the lightning capital of the United States? We see an average of 100 lightning storms per year here, and some of the bigger storms generate up to 40,000 lightning strikes. When it’s raining hard, the wind is gusting and lightning is splitting the sky every few seconds, riding outside is not too smart. I don’t make excuses, so if I’ve only got an hour to train and it’s storming outside, I need to have an alternate plan. That alternate is my home gym, which is rain and lightning-free, and open 24/7.
- Time constraints. Sometimes I just don’t have time to ride the trails. There is a drive involved to get to any of the trails I ride, and there is also the time it takes to get my gear ready and so forth. Sometimes if I only have a small window of 45 minutes or an hour (like on my lunch hour), walking into the next room and getting that workout in is the only option. Also, my job requires me to be on call 24/7. There are times when I’m involved in something that allows me to break away for a short time, but I can’t go far from home. Those are the times when an indoor workout makes sense.
- Structured & targeted training programs. This is a big one for me. When I’m out riding on the road or on the trails I don’t have a coach and a support team with laptops and fancy equipment riding along helping me get the most out of my training. When I’m training in my gym, I can follow guided training programs (like the program I’m currently following on TrainerRoad) that give me real-time instruction and feedback, as well as tons of post-ride data. These programs are created by highly trained and very experienced cycling coaches, and they are structured to allow the trainee to reach specific performance goals. Now I realize all this may sound like it’s sucking the fun out of riding–and for some that may be true–but for me training hard and with purpose is a VERY enjoyable aspect of riding.
Really, it’s about balance–balancing training with rides purely for fun and enjoyment. I don’t want to lose sight of the forest for the trees!
Tuesday morning Mike and I hit the trails and just had a blast rocketing around the woods. In fact, I set a new personal record on The Loop segment, and I wasn’t even going all out! Added to that, the trail conditions were dry and a little sketchy. My bike handling skills are getting better (that’s one thing that definitely CAN NOT be improved on a trainer!), and my cardio and stamina are noticeably improved. Hard cardio training makes the rides I do for pure fun even more enjoyable.
Yesterday I did an indoor training session in my newly completed bike torture chamber. The workout I performed is called “Baxter“, and it’s the third workout in the 6-week Intermediate Base I training program I’m currently following on TrainerRoad. The workout was 1.5 hours long, and only one gear is used for the entire workout. The focus of the workout is on using cadence to alter speed/power/effort. The on-screen prompts and instructions were really helpful as I rode. The workout got me thinking about pedaling form, breathing, staying relaxed, hand positions, etc…
There’s no question that these indoor training sessions are going to improve every aspect of my riding, both mountain and road.
Today’s workout is going to be performed in the great outdoors.