Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bike test

You know what I like even less than 5+ hours of shoveling?  Doing a bike test on the trainer.

I was supposed to do this Thursday, and I gave it a halfhearted (more like half-a**ed) attempt and gave up because I had a sore throat, wasn't feeling well, had a hangnail. . .  you get the picture.  Thursday afternoon I took off for a meeting out in the Berkshires.  Friday morning I did a 45-minute easy run out there in the dark, on snowy roads.  It was beautiful and also sort of freaky, but I had to go early to get to my meeting before 8.  Saturday I finished up around noon and drove home, and later that afternoon I did the bike test while my husband made dinner.  My sore throat had morphed into a full-on mucusfest of a chest cold, but I just didn't care any more--I wanted it done.

My bike test is a 10K (actually, 6.21 miles, because that's what I get from the course builder on the Computrainer), and the goal is to keep it at an effort that's all out but constant--so I fall apart into a heap of quivering jello just as I hit 6.21 miles.  The trick is the part from about 0.5 to 5.9 miles, where I already feel like quivering jello but must stay a coherent heap of quivering jello that is still seated on the bike, pedaling away.  Ideally with left and right legs that are roughly equivalent in their jellolike power output.

I really wanted to quit most of the time, but I kept telling myself I'd have to do it again anyway, and all I would be doing if I stopped would be increasing my total time of painful jellohood.  Here I am at about mile 4.8:

I don't even like jello, by the way.

So how did it go?  I averaged 1 watt more than the last time I did this test in April of 2010.  My HR moved steadily upward during the test, and I actually got it a little bit higher than I did last time around.  (I can't yet get my HR on the bike as high as I can running for any kind of sustained period.  By "sustained" I mean more than 1 second.  I think there is a technical term for this phenomenon, and it's called weak-a** biking legs.)  You could say, therefore, that I have made no progress on the bike since then.  But that would be unkind of you.  I choose to look at it this way: from mid-September on I did very little in the way of bike training, relatively speaking, and I have only a few easy (Zone 2 and below) trainer workouts under my belt* this winter.  I am therefore thrilled to find that I have not lost any bike fitness as a result of that.  This is my story, and I'm sticking to it.

*Technically, I almost never wear a belt, so it seems likely I'm storing those bike workouts somewhere else.  

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