Snow on the ground means that it’s time to dig the rollers out of the closet, get back to working on a smooth pedal stroke, and queue up TV shows and movies on the computer, hoping they’ll keep you entertained enough to stay on the rollers long enough to get a workout.
From my friend and teammate Al comes this training outline:
Due to the shiiiiite weather I’ve been riding the rollers a ton and I’ve created the “Hulu Interval”!!!! Watch a hulu tv show while riding rollers. TV shows usually last around 22 minutes. In those 22 minutes there are three 30 second commercial breaks.
Step 1. Ride at a steady pace until the first commercial then sprint all out for the 30 seconds, then return to riding a steady pace and continue watching your show. Repeat this two more times when the commercials appear.
When the show is over get off the rollers, quickly change into sneakers and do 4 sets of squats with 25 reps per set. I’ve been doing it with a 25 pound weight held out in front of me. (You can also do tabata squats instead)
After the four sets immediately change back into road shoes, choose another hulu tv show, hop back on the rollers and repeat step 1.
My good buddy Al is the King of NYC Roller Racing. At last night’s roller races, he beat (ahem, BEAT) Olympic-level and professional track racer Bobby Lea and got to the finals, where he had a lead on Andy Lakatosh (as in, Andy Lakatosh!) before, well, finishing third to Lakatosh and somebody wearing stars and stripes – all things considered, a good result.
The cool thing about roller racing is that it’s a rare way in cycling to go head-to-head with people who are way out of your league, but whom you still have a shot of beating. Rollers offer little resistance, which all but removes power and strength from the equation – it is, in essence, a test of pure leg speed and its secondary requirements – stability, souplesse, and concentration, the latter of which is incredibly important in convincing your body to sustain 150+ RPM for almost a minute.
Obviously, Al wouldn’t be able to take these beefcakes on the track. But on rollers? Well, if it takes some National Champ and a pro to send Al all the way down to 3rd place, well – there’s no one in New York City who can take him. And he got to throw down with some national calibre races, and hold his own. And that is pretty damn impressive.
I was going to write a post about track bike orthodoxy and why it’s silly, using my own bike as an example. This morning I put cyclocross tires on it. When I woke up around 6 AM it was snowing heavily and the street in front of my apartment barely had any tire tracks in it. Cyclocross tires, I thought, would be useful for a day of working in those conditions. At 10 AM, a few hours after mounting cyclocross tires on that trusty workhorse, I looked out the window again. Freezing rain. Slush as far as the eye could see, and not enough time to put slicks back on before I had to leave for work. Damn.
There is nothing worse than 33 degrees and raining, especially if it’s combined with thick slush all over the roads. Plastic bags over my socks kept my soggy shoes from freezing my toes off – barely. A reminder from your friendly local bicycle delivery person: tipping 10% is a good start. Increase with generosity for longer distances, worse weather, walk-ups, and any additional hassles, complications, or waiting. Four or five additional bucks means more to the bike delivery person than it does the person warm in their apartment.
Anyway, since the weather was miserable, upon coming home from work I rode rollers for a little over an hour. Speaking of rollers: last night’s roller races (a fundraiser for Recycle-A-Bicycle and featuring Bike Works’ fabulous Competition Rollers) saw my buddy and teammate Al defeat this guy, who has a couple of noteworthy palmares. A velodrome rematch will have to wait until Al upgrades (a few times).
Good job, Al!