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Sit on it and spin – my foray into cycling training

November 3, 2010
Either I'm not a very motivated person or I am just short on time I don't find it easy, or appealing, to get on the trainer at home. After a day at work, bike commuting about the place and then fending off spammers here I can't bring myself to do the time on the bike to "get some extra KM in my legs". In the time I have had a trainer, a borrowed one, I've used it twice in 4 months.

So on Tuesday I accepted an invitation from Matt Lloyd, a member of Adelaide Cyclists, to come down to Sturt FC at Unley and try out his training class which he hosts under the guise of Buekin Sports. With some trepidation and a big boost of motivation (especially after the Melbourne Cup day lunch and a ride to work via Norton Summit in the morning) I collected my bike, trainer, heart rate monitor and went down.

I do have some motivations for this year. I want to increase my average speed on the flat by 5 – 6km/h, I want to increase my average speed on climbs by 2km/h (or reduce my times up known climbs that I keep PBs for), build some endurance and loose a couple more kilos. Not over ambitious goals? And after reading some of Matt's comments on posts here I thought I might learn a thing or two about my technique and my physiology in his opinion.

I have not sweated like I did since the hottest days of last summer. I have not clocked* my HRM like I did. I won't go into details about what the hour long session included specifically but there was:

* warm up,
* some pedalling technique advice rolled into intervals,
* spin or increasing cadence/RPM intervals
* short intervals, or sprints really, to work those fast twitch muscles,
* a warm down and
* a set of directed stretches

So why do a training class on a stationary trainer? This is what I got out of it anyway. It wasn't boring, it was structured, Matt set me mini goals in steps and recorded them, someone was there to do the interval timing (I cheat at home) and even though it was just me in the session, doing it with others would be fun and some extra motivation.

But the real benefits are I really did take away some practical information to practice and goals to aim for when I'm out riding. What I am saying is the training I got was specific to a cyclists needs and better than I would get from going to a gym spin class or any session done on an exercise bike. Because I used my bike I can replicate it at home – same settings, same gears/ resistance, and I don't have to pay exorbitant gym fees. All I need to do is do it at home! I also found the stretching regime really good and something I'm sure you'd agree none of us do properly, especially after a ride when we are really warm. Personally Matt is great as well. He explains things really well, is enthusiastic and pretty low key. I was talking about trying to get a new bike and he said I shouldn't rush because my current one is making me work harder and in training that's a good thing — my wife really liked that advice.

So if anyone is looking for some advice, motivation and a way of getting to their goals drop Matt a line – He has very generously invited all Adelaide Cyclists members to his training sessions at a great price. I'll be going again so if you want to join me let me know as well. There's nothing like helping each other improve. The sessions are Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6.15pm (or other times at request) at Sturt Football Club in Oxford Tce, Unley.


*well, not clocked but it did get up there!


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