Saturday September 29, 2012
Our Saturday morning group ride was rained out (I'm not complaining), so I called our LBS (local bike shop) and set up an appointment to workout on the CompuTrainer. One can compete against a "pacer" or ride alone. The course I have been using lately is a 10 mile track with intermediate hills (3-7%). On the start line I am in red with the pacer to the right in blue.
Everyone is invited to travel with me as I race Mr. Avatar for 10 miles.
As the race began, I jumped out ahead. We were on the flat straightaway as can be seen on the top of the screen.
As soon as we started up the first hill, Mr. Avatar pulled ahead of me (just as in real life). The pacer can be set on a steady wattage, a constant speed, or a combination of factors. On one course, the pacer is set for a 3 second delay. If you pass him, he will give you 3 seconds before he pedals like mad and will pass you if you don't sprint the whole time. Not worth the effort, just let him pass. But this time I was racing against the pacer which had a steady wattage.
As we started up the second hill, Mr. Avatar was still ahead but in sight. Here is where my racing strategy came into play. I would let him attack the hill and wear himself out, and I would hold back and take him on the downhill.
Strategy worked. By the time he got up the hill, he was exhausted, and I was able to pass him on the flat and then gain a little distance on him. My stats are shown on the bottom of the screen in red and Mr. Avatar's stats are below in blue. Luckily for my ego, the pictures are too blurred for one to discern my stats. Trust me, I was ahead as one can see by the 5th stat from the left telling who is ahead and by what distance.
As we go into the next climb [see top of screen--red arrow (me)--is in front of the blue arrow--(pacer)]. I noticed on this screen, the pacer had been cheating as his "steady" watts had increased by 10. However, with perseverance, determination, and superior stamina, I still prevailed.
But speaking of stats, the CompuTrainer has just about everything one wants to know. Starting from the bottom left: MPH, AVG MPH, Peak Speed, Distance (covered), Lead (who's ahead and by what distance), Watts (being generated at the time), AVG Watts, Peak Watts, RPM, AVG RPM, Peak RPM, Pulse, AVG Pulse, Peak Pulse, Calories (burned), and Wind factor. And the stats can be printed out at the end of a ride so progress (or lack thereof) can be tracked.
A stat that I like as may be evidenced by the screens is the SpinScan (right side of screen). Other split screens can be chosen by computer keys, but mostly I like to watch the "efficiency" of my pedal stroke. A perfect pedal stroke would be 100 on the middle magenta number. Mine is showing an 83 at this time. I ATTEMPT to keep my strokes at 80 and above. Sometimes hard to do.
Hit another computer key and this screen will be displayed. The stroke is shown as a circle. The circle to me is not as pretty nor dramatic as the bar graph. And the circle shows ones faults more dramatically so I keep it on the bar graph. I can talk about such things as if one notes on the top of the screen, the red arrow is farther ahead of the blue pacer arrow. If you are ahead in a race, you can maintain your pace and not over-tax the muscles. (I am guessing as the best I have ever done in a real life race was to place. So I really don't know what one does if he is leading). .
I have to show this screen even if it's not the mighty race of the day. The bar graph is depicting an almost perfect pedal stroke at 96%. This was going up a hill as shown on the top of the screen. Just prior to this I had hit a 98% and yelled for Marlon to come see. He did and I expressed how I would love to have a picture of this. He ran back to get his cell phone and I told him to hurry as I could not hold this stroke for long. And I was down to 96% by the time he took the picture with his cell phone. I just had to show this as it is almost a once in a lifetime event to have an almost perfect pedal stroke.
Besides proving that I was still ahead of Mr. Avatar, this shot was almost clear enough for the stats to be read if one enlarges the picture. In case one does, let me quickly explain that I never have implied that I was a champion rider. For example, I read one person's blog who talks about A riders, B riders and such. We do not label ourselves that way in San Angelo, but if we did I would be in the C- class. So, in case one does enlarge the picture and looks at my average watts, I could hear the snickers from here. I looked up my Watts Per Kilogram (a stat that prints out but not shown on the computer screen) and I fell in the "Untrained" Cat 5 category. Ergo: C minus class.
But on this particular day, I was racing like a big boy. Even though it can be seen that the pacer had narrowed the lead I had, I was still ahead as we climbed the 7% last hill. I am still maintaining my 85% pedal stroke efficiency and for the most part, each leg was equally working. The white number 49% is the work or efficiency of my left leg, and the 51% was the work by my right leg. The goal is to show 50/50. Hard to do especially if one leg is dominant.
Put stats, efficiency, hill grade aside, the finish line is in sight and it is time to zip up the jersey and drive home for the grand finish.
Note that I burned Mr. Avatar on the final sprint. He was just cresting the hill as I crossed the finish line.
And Velma, you say the CompuTrainer is boring? Just use your imagination and you can hear the crowd roar.