Thursday, September 30, 2010

Instruments of Torture.....

As a Brit, I have had the opportunity to visit the Tower of London and numerous othet medieval castles.  One of the highlights of tours of these establishments is always a vist to the dungeon or the totrure chamber.  Henry VIII and those other Tudor monarchs certainly knew how to inflict some pain!

Well I have learned recently that there's a modern equivalent to those ancient Medieval torture devices and that....   shock! horror!.... it's now in regular use right here in Raleigh!  Before you alert the authorities or call CNN, I should explain that the instrument in question is currently residing in my garage and was a gift from friends (thanks Mark and Lori!).  Yes, this fearsome device is......    a bike trainer!  A very cool Ascent fluid trainer in shiny red (so that it doesn't show the blood!)

Which one do you think inflicts more pain?

The trainer?......
                                                ........or the rack?

My guess is that it's a pretty close call!

I'm prepared to bet that if Thomas More, Thomas Culpepper, Mark Smeaton, Robert Aske, Thomas Cromwell or one of Henry VIII's other victims was forced to ride "the trainer" for an hour they may well have admitted their guilt or renounced their religion in a hurry!

This thing hurts!   It's a tremendous work out and I'm stoked to use it over the winter months as I try to build both strength and endurance on the bike.  It's much harder work than riding on the road and even tougher if you introduce interval training.

It was pouring rain yesterday morning, so did a 45 minute set with the trainer set-up in the garage with the door open.  It was nice and cool when I started and I enjoyed warming-up as I watched the rain come down in sheets.  Within just a few minutes, however, my legs were starting to burn and the sweat was pouring off me.  At the end of the session my legs were like jello.

Because I'm a sucker for punishment and determined to improve my bike performance I have signed-up to do a winter program on the trainer with a USAT coach called Jorge Martinez who works with Personal Best Multisport Coaching in Boston and runs the program via the website.  Basically Jorge issues three roughly one hour workouts for the trainer (with optional 1-2 hour road ride) every week through the winter and those of us signed-up complete training logs, submit our data and compare notes.  As I don't yet have a power meter, my training will be based on heart rate monitoring which I can do with my Garmin 310xt.  Those who did the program last year described it as a "sufferfest", so it must be good!  It starts late October - I'll keep you informed.

Here's a shot of my bike attached to the trainer.


  1. Not sure if you knew this, but Derrick used to ride competitively. He's got or had a similar torture rack, I believe. He's also told me of something even more insideous - 2 pairs of rollers that you put the bike on top of and then ride in place. Not only does it provide the burn of your torture device, but it allows you to fall over and make an ass of yourself as well. Here's something similer:

  2. Oh yes Rob - I'm very familiar with rollers (and I can make an ass out of myself without their help!). They recommend that when you start using them you position yourself between a door frame so that you have something to grab onto when you forget where you are and crash and burn!

    C was complaining last weekend that she bought D a nice Specialized road bike but that he doesn't use it!