Thursday, November 29, 2007

My New Training Toy

I received a new training toy a couple of weeks ago – a CompuTrainer. I’ve read and heard about CompuTrainers for years. I think that my first exposure to them was when I bought Joe Friel’s Triathlete Training Bible about four years ago. He mentions them several times in that book, particularly when discussing athlete testing or the need to be able to conduct an uninterrupted, high quality cycling workout. In addition, a couple of guys that I ride intermittently with have acquired a CompuTrainer. One of these guys raves about his (he actually bought two, and he and his son “race” on them together), the other was lukewarm in his response (so lukewarm that he recently sold it on eBay and was amazed at how well it “held its value”).

The thing that actually pushed me over the edge to buy one was how integral it seemed in Ray Britt’s training. Ray Britt is another story, about which I’ll say more in a later blog. If you’re not familiar with him, you should check out his website at His website is a treasure trove of information. I’ve found his daily training logs particularly helpful in terms of understanding how to train more effectively. Ray’s body has an amazing ability to endure multiple ultra-distance endurance events in a season, and he does it with much less training than is the norm. At any rate, I noticed when studying his daily training logs how much time he spent on his CompuTrainer and this really made an impression on me.

With short, dark days descending upon us, the time of year has come to start spending more time riding in my basement. The thought of spending hours and hours this winter on my trainer left me feeling depressed. I decided that now was the time to bite the bullet and pony up the approx $1700 for a CompuTrainer. I arrived and I got it all assembled the weekend before Thanksgiving. I’ve put in over 200 miles in less than 10 days so far and am loving it. The experience of doing what feels like a “real bike ride” with climbs, downhills and constant shifting means that my butt doesn’t feel like it normally feels after spending an hour on a regular trainer. This lack of “butt fatigue” means that I can actually do a 30 – 50 mile ride in my basement. 20 miles was about all that I could tolerate on the traditional trainer. I’m planning to do my first TT test this weekend as baselining for the “preparation” phase of my 2008 periodized training plan.

I’ve already noticed several great things and several things that could be improved, and will be sharing these observations in subsequent blogs.