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Digital mayhem; Slaying “Black Giant” on TrainerRoad.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I think I need to stay away from electronics for awhile. I’m a network administrator, so that’s a slightly unrealistic notion, but I’m starting to think all things digital are allergic to me.

Recently our dishwasher failed and had to be replaced. Not long after the dishwasher went to the big junkyard in the sky, the microwave decided to supernova (it’s literally on the curb waiting to be hauled away). Then, two days ago, the security camera monitor (on a properly functioning UPS, I might add) fizzled out and had to be replaced.

I’m just getting started.

Yesterday morning I performed a number of software upgrades to the JSF servers, and there were at least a half-dozen problems–some minor, some fairly major. It took me half the day to squash the bugs and resolve all the issues. Thanks for your patience yesterday morning, by the way. Everything is fine now.

I totally screwed myself with that last sentence, didn’t I?

Anyway, after pulling my hair out all morning long, I decided a tough workout in my Bike Torture Chamber was in order.

Monday evening I completed the repairs to my new Madone, which I wrecked in the rain late last week (hrm, maybe it’s not electronics at all–I may just be generally hapless). The electronic rear derailleur took a major hit in the crash, so I was concerned that it might have been damaged. After completing the repairs I did a short 6 mile test ride on the fluid trainer Monday evening, and was relieved to find that the derailleur was functioning flawlessly! A crash test is one thing I certainly would have preferred to not have in my upcoming Di2 article, but at least now I can say from firsthand experience that the Di2 derailleur can take a punch.

Note that my Zipp 404, which was destroyed in the wreck, was sent to Brick City Bicycles. Brick City is handling the crash replacement with Zipp, and I should have my new wheel in 7-10 days.

I decided to do the next workout in the training program I am currently following on TrainerRoad, “Black Giant”.

About two minutes into the workout the battery in my SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip died. I’d just charged the battery the day before, but I suppose (hope) that I accidentally left it running after my test ride. Luckily I have my phone mounted between the bike and the computer (see my Bike Torture Chamber article for pictures), and so I simply plugged my earbuds into my phone and fired up Google Play Music.

Then, just as I started the second working set, my heart rate monitor lost sync with TrainerRoad! I know the heart rate monitor was broadcasting correctly because I could still see the data on my Garmin Edge 500, but the data was not being recorded or shown on-screen. Then my cadence data started acting all wonky, briefly dropping to half of what I was spinning and then returning to normal.

Like I said, I hate to stop a workout, so during the next active recovery interval I was able to re-sync the heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor to the ANT+ USB stick on the fly. That did the trick, and everything was fine for the rest of the workout.

But man, what’s going on?! One thing after another lately.

As for the workout, it was a real good one. Here are my post-ride notes, workout description and workout graph (click to enlarge). You can check out the detailed workout data here.

Today’s 60 minute/17.9 mile workout was “Black Giant” on TrainerRoad. This workout includes 4 sets of increasingly difficult power intervals, ranging from 120%-150% FTP (currently 294). Set 1: 6×18 seconds @ 353 watts (120% FTP). Set 2: 6×18 seconds @ 382 watts (130% FTP). Set 3: 5×24 seconds @ 412 watts (140% FTP). Set 4: 8×24 seconds @ 441 watts (150% FTP). Felt great today, exceeded all target watts. On the final interval I averaged 627 watts for 20 seconds, which fell a little short of my current 20 second PR of 694 watts.

My workout data from

My workout data from “Black Giant” on TrainerRoad

John Stone Fitness Comments

2 Responses to “Digital mayhem; Slaying “Black Giant” on TrainerRoad.”
  1. I wouldn’t be too worried about the Sansa Clip failure playing into your current electronics curse. Those things were not built to last, which is probably why they’re cheap. I’m on my 3rd-4th Sansa at this point. They just stop working after a while.

    My current Sansa is functioning fine, but one day the clip broke right off it. I didn’t hit it or anything like that either – just came right off one day, when I removed it from my waistband.

    Headphones are another thing too. I go through at least one pair every year.

    GD Star Rating
    • I do like how inexpensive the Sansas are. Mine has worked flawlessly since I bought it, and it’s been dropped, crashed, sweat on, bled on, rained on and stepped on. I do think I forgot to turn it off on Monday night, as this morning it had a full charge and worked fine when I went mountain biking.

      If it does eventually die, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase a new one.

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