On Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday I got on my trainer for 2 hours each day. This thoroughly modest achievement is the biggest training block I have done in more than a year. I don't think that I managed to do four days of riding in a row in all of 2011. That's sad really. Maybe I should go back through the calendar or my Garmin Connect records and see if that is wrong, but I would be even sadder to find out that it really was true instead of just thinking it was true.
Okay, I did just check and there was a single time in 2011 when I rode my bike four days in a row (thanks Garmin Connect!). In September, I rode my bike to commute four days in a row. On one of those, I didn't ride home, so the following day I got a ride to work and then rode home. The total time on the bike those four days was under 4 hours and that included excursions on the way home. How can I go on calling myself a cyclist?
Well, I guess that hope springs eternal and that in the spring, while a young man's thoughts to turn love, an older guy's thoughts turn to cycling. Frankly, looking back at the Garmin records could get me off on a whole different tangent, but I will try to steer back to my original thought, as meager as that might have been.
In hopes of actually having a 2012 cycling season, feeling good on the bike and managing to keep up with the members of the River City Red team (on the flats, that is), I have been trying to embrace the chance to ride outside, even when it means my arse is being handed to me by fitter riders (everyone), and trying to get on the trainer. This three-day weekend afforded me the chance to do so and I headed into it with the 2, 2, 2, 2 plan. It seemed like enough time to be meaningful, but not so much time that I couldn't manage to do it again the next day (and the day after, etc.). And, pleasantly, it worked.
The two things that sprang from relating this plan were 1) cyclists who said they can't stand the trainer and couldn't do that; and 2) cyclists who said that wasn't really training.
To the first group, I say, yes, it isn't nearly as interesting or fun as cycling outside, but the trick is to distract yourself and mentally commit before you get on the bike. I have known people who can listen to music, and those who watch TV (even timing intervals to commercials or whatnot), but for me, the trick is a TV and cycling videos. I can pay attention or not and the race on TV keeps moving, keeps me interested and provides motivation. All I can say is that it works for me.
To the second group, I say, bah! I can watch my heart rates, see the difference from day to day and certainly sense where I am in overall fitness depending on the year, season, or whatever. There is no doubt that a group ride or race is harder; there is no doubt that you can't really duplicate the effort of a big hill (or the fun of downhill); there is no doubt that if I lived in San Diego I wouldn't put much time on the trainer, but that said, you cannot really doubt the training load if you get on the bike and do it yourself. If it's too easy, ramp up the resistance, but really, just don't tell me that it isn't really training when my HR is high and there is a big disgusting puddle of sweat on the floor. You're just not doing it right if it isn't training.
Me, I'm happy that I got in those few days. If I just do that again for the next several months, I'm sure it will pay off.