Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Iron(Wo)Men of Kona & FarFromIronMe

The urbandictionary.com describes “janky” as follows: “adjective used to describe a person, place or thing which is questionable, fucked up, wrong, strange, broken down, undesirable, and/or just some thing you can’t think of another word for. The origin of this work is explained somewhat in the conversation example. Friends and I were sitting around drinking coffee one morning, and I was bitching about my empty cup when my friend blamed the lack of coffee on the “janky ass coffee maker.” I have since heard the word in the movie Friday.”

My preference for the word is to describe a set up that is less than aesthetically pleasing but quite effective, as is the case with my indoor bicycle training set up, which achieves a higher level of jankitude with the addition of being able to watch my iPhone while monitoring my training program progress.

I’m 53 years old and I’ve been riding bikes almost my entire life, for errands for work for fun for fitness and what not. I’ve never engaged a coaching service and I’ve never been 53 years old before. I’m slow. I’m also carrying far too many extra pounds around my mid-section and I blame that on my fondness for beer and Cheetos.

In order to effect some positive change because I’m tired of being slow and a slave to Funyuns, I found that I can redirect the cost of just one 6 pack of beer per month to that of a monthly online bicycle coaching service. I might get faster/fitter/stronger and drop some pounds at the same time. How is this not an all around win for everyone concerned?

$12 per month gets me access to coaching programs at TrainerRoad and I get to choose which type of programming to indulge upon based upon goals I have for the future of my fitness and cycling prowess. There are a variety of necessary tools one needs, however.

You need to have a bike, a trainer and sensors that can spit some data to the TrainerRoad software and some way to use the software. The motivation for change is a finicky beast so blatant inspiration is a must have, at least for me. I’m quite thankful that every athlete at the Ironman World Championships this morning helped me with today’s training session.

What follows are obvious product endorsements and I am not being compensated for said endorsements in any way, shape or form.

Harrumph, I say!

The Wahoo Fitness KICKR is the ultimate tool. It’s a “smart” trainer in that it works directly with a training program to set the variable resistance that the rider needs to react to. It’s super cool. It’s also over a thousand bucks.

Yeah.

No.

Not gonna happen anytime soon, unless Wahoo wants me to test one for an indeterminable amount of time.

That’s a sizable chunk of dollars I can better spend towards part of a new bike or a new sexy wheel set or new bike tools or power tools or multiple bib shorts or something more constructive like perhaps a new water heater to replace the old one that is about to rupture.

I have two trainers, one is an old fluid trainer and I guess these are now known as “turbo” trainers. I hate it. Lock your bike on it and watch a movie, or a bike race, or old grainy VHS training tapes that required you to work at a perceived level of exertion. Yep, that was a thing before heart rate monitors plummeted in price. I found this to be awful.

I recently bought a set of rollers. I LOVE them. These Overdrive Pro rollers are made in Indiana by SportCrafters. They have a drum that provides progressive resistance and I ran across their Inertia drum on sale and installed that but quite honestly this heavier larger drum isn’t necessary to get a good workout and I don’t think it provides what the manufacturer states what it does.

I like to think I’m an excellent bike handler, every rider does, but these rollers will give my ego a smackdown like no other so to decrease that amount of humble pie they serve up, I’m still using them within the safety of a doorway. Sometimes I’ll be spot on with regards to riding straight and true with a cadence smoother than a baby’s butt and then ten minutes later I’ll be bouncing off the doorway like a cue ball on a billiard table. Focus. FOCUS!

Oh, right, my bike. It’s a FOCUS Cayo and while not inexpensive it was an exceptional value considering it has an all Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, with the exception of the cassette which is 105 but who cares about that. No swapping out of a third-party less-expensive crank in order to keep costs down, it’s all Ultegra and it rides as a newer bike should. I do have 5 bikes and I’ve been riding the FOCUS recently but I may switch that up in the coming months of winter hell.

The Garmin Edge 1000 GPS mapping cycling computer is my bike computer of choice. This is not an endorsement of this product, in fact, it’s the opposite if you catch my meaning here; so many growing pains. I also have the Garmin heart rate, cadence and speed sensors that supply all sorts of personally unnecessary data to the Edge 1000 but I find this data entertaining to look at, maybe because it makes me think I’m utilizing this data in some fitful way when I’m outdoors on a ride. That’s funny.

I use the TrainerRoad software on my Apple MacBook Pro. Increasing the jankitude of my indoor training setup, I use this awesome lightweight aluminum stepladder that I got from Home Depot several years. I can’t give a brand name as it doesn’t have one. It’s got two steps and then a big fold down tray which is the right height and size for my laptop.

Here’s my training setup: bike on my rollers in the doorway, stepladder with Apple MacBook Pro in front of me, fan on a stand off to the side, blowing swiftly to give me the illusion that I’m faster than I really am.

Hey, Fred you dork, you might be thinking, you can’t do this, you don’t have a power meter on your bike. You are correct, I do not. The cool thing about the TrainerRoad software is through the magic of digital communication protocols, it replaces my Garmin Edge 1000 as the head unit for all my Garmin sensors. The only thing I needed to purchase to get this rig to rolling was the current Garmin ANT+ USB stick antenna.

After a bit of experimentation, I found it worked reliably if I stuck that stick on the end of a USB extension cable I had laying around which positioned the antenna closer to the sensors.

The TrainerRoad software reads the data from my heart rate/cadence/speed sensors, I told the software which trainer model I’m using and through the speedy-rific computer computing of data mumbo jumbo, I can use TrainerRoad through a “virtual power” reading.

Here’s were the janky index of my set up went to N+1; I don’t have an iPhone mount on my bike, but I have a Garmin mount and a dispenser full of clear packing tape. Taping the iPhone to my Garmin computer worked a charm and I was still able to use the touch screen capabilities of the iPhone through the tape and the case.

Today, 14 October 2017 is the 2017 Ironman triathlon world championships from Hawaii. I was able to watch the livestream of the telecast on my iPhone and through the data magic of Bluetooth, stream the audio to my JBL Flip 3 speaker which is water resistant and the perfect companion to shower beers.

Anyone who competed today in Kona or in any other Ironman is a total badass and thanks for helping me get through my piddly little 90-minute training session. It’s rained all day and after 90 minutes I felt like I’d been riding outside all morning. I’ve done long rides in my past but I cannot fathom what’s it like to complete an Ironman. My hat off to you all.

How do I feel today? Like I’ve been run over by a truck. Please, dear reader, resist the urge to comment how stupid I am for over training my middle aged body this week as my middle aged body is telling me loud and clear. Multiple heavy back/overhead squat and dead lift sessions at my gym with multiple vigorous spin classes and three TrainerRoad sessions could probably be qualified as “over training” but I’ll get over it, I’ve got an entire winter season to recover and train before my spring goals appear.

Cheers.