Training with the Trainer

This ride is going be a little over 3,000 miles. The way I have it planned, my shortest day is about 51 miles in the mountains of Colorado. The first and last days will also be pretty short – around 63 miles each. The longest days are over 100 miles each. I am counting on some tail winds and relatively flat terrain in Kansas and Illinois for those.

In my younger days, I ran marathons. My last one was when I was forty – almost 20 years ago. My longest ride, from my Dad’s house in Chicago Heights, IL to my home in Noblesville, IN was 180 miles in a little over 12 hours. That was a little over 30 years ago. I swim regularly, ride outside as much as I can, and will still go for a run if I can’t play tennis. I’ve stayed in pretty good shape. However, I know that if you want to run a marathon, you’ve got to practice running. If you want to bike across the country, you’ve got to practice biking. When it is too wet and snowy outside for my road bike, I get on the bike trainer. Outside, I feel like I could ride forever. On my screened back porch, it keeps me out of the rain and snow, shields most of the wind, but does nothing about the temperature. I have been out there when it’s freezing, but I still leave a pool of sweat.

I think it was 28F when I started my session and 18F when I finished on the trainer.

In case you’re not familiar with one, a bike trainer is frame that supports a bicycle. The rear wheel works against some resistance mechanism which might be a wind turbine fan or some enclosed fluid reservoir with an internal fan. I had a wind turbine trainer that I bought 20 years ago, but donated it to Freewheeling Cycles in Indianapolis a couple of years ago. I knew I would need something this winter, so I bought a used Travel Trac Comp Fluid Trainer. “The faster you pedal, the greater the resistance”. When an especially good song is playing on the iPod, I get greater resistance. It is a real mental and physical effort for me to sustain a good workout on the trainer. I feel good about getting 50 minutes. Even more than keeping my legs in shape, I do it to keep my butt in shape. Nothing will prepare you for sitting in the saddle for hours at a time like sitting in the saddle at least an hour on a regular basis. I’ll find out some time in late April if my preparation was sufficient. If not, I’ll keep going anyway.

The Lone Rider