BKOOL with the KICKR (on a snowy day)

BKOOL-3D-VR-World-trainerI tried the BKOOL ride simulator today and wrote a lot about it here. It was a blast riding with a half dozen other riders on a course in Dubai! We had ourselves a race! The ANT+ or Bluetooth pairing worked seamlessly, without my babysitting and without a lot of annoying signal dropouts.

I didn’t play any music – I’ll fix that next time. First impressions: it’s a kick riding real time with others in a sim world, and the tech works remarkably well. On the downside, the workouts are nowhere near as varied as the Sufferfest interval workouts, and the resistance makes the entire ride a hammerfest. The $15 monthly subscription price is pretty hefty as well.

More to follow, I’m sure. It was a great way to spend part of our snowy day!

Lame KICKR

ThIMG_1594e KICKR locked up on Monday, Feb. 16, after seven workouts (approximately five hours) from the time I purchased it on Feb. 3. Tech support at Wahoo told me the next morning (Tuesday) that it was a faulty speed sensor in the Top Cap, and that they would ship me a replacement Top Cap. When I received it Friday, Feb. 20, the KICKR worked like its old self for about 20 minutes, before failing again.

What I mean by “locks up” is that after 3-5 seconds of spinning, the resistance increases to the point of stopping the KICKR. There is no other choice but to stop. Then you can spin again or another 3-5 seconds before the KICKR locks up again. Performing a spin down calibration is possible, but the offset number is always 0, and the KICKR always locks up in any other mode.

Wahoo is closed for the weekend.

IMG_1601-768x1024I notice that it’s impossible to find a KICKR for sale these days. They’re all back ordered (at Performance, the anticipated ship date is March 19, 2015, a month from now). Which makes me wonder about these repeated fails (I bought one that was still in stock at my LBS). I’ll call tech support again, and maybe we’ll try another Top Cap. But I’m not holding out a lot of hope until I replace the KICKR entirely, which looks like an impossibility until early March.

Til then, I’ve set up the Comp Mag+ again. Oh well. When this gets sorted out, I’ll have the best trainer on the market. Between now and then, I’ve got a very expensive, very heavy piece of basement junk.

UPDATE (Feb. 23, 2015): Wahoo will replace the KICKR, which they now say must also have a defective strain gauge. I shipped the lame one back on their dime and they shipped a new one to me to arrive via UPS Thursday, February 26.

UPDATE (Feb. 26, 2015): The new KICKR arrived Thursday just before 6 PM and works like a charm. I took it for a spin (SF Rubber Glove, a 20 min FTP test) Thursday evening and logged a revised FTP: 270.

Bo Accepts appointment to Whatcoat UMC

From Facebook (Feb. 9, 2014):

After worship today at Asbury, I announced my acceptance of Bishop Johnson’s appointment to serve as pastor of Whatcoat UMC in Camden Delaware, effective July 1. Bittersweet day. How grateful I am to God for the gift of serving alongside the saints at Asbury for the past four years. You have healed and prepared me for the next part of this Pentecostal Pilgrimage. Thank you especially today for the mutual expressions of grief and blessings we shared.

Though I am sad to leave Asbury at the end of four years of ministry together, I look forward to reuniting our family in Dover. We plan to sell our home of 18 years in Pike Creek and move into a new home this summer.

Winter Cycling on the Wahoo KICKR

IMG_1574-1024x768I started training on the Wahoo Kickr  yesterday, February 3, 2015, and immediately discovered that I’ve been training to inaccurate power predictions using the TrainerRoad calculations for the Performance Travel Trac Comp Mag+ trainer (TR’s estimates for the Comp Mag+ were well below what I was actually doing).

Setup was simple. After unboxing (it weighs 50 pounds!), I extended the stabilization legs, set the trainer height to 700c, plugged it in (leaving it plugged in is OK) and attached my hobbled Fuji Altamira 2.5C. The Kickr came with a Shimano 10 spd cassette (11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25). It’s extraordinarily stable, in and out of the saddle, even with a 120+ cadence.

I used the Wahoo Utility App to run my first spin-down calibration (spin up to 22+ mph and let it coast down to 10 mph) via BlueTooth. Everything else I’m doing with it uses its ANT+ capability, connecting with TrainerRoad running on our old Dell Laptop with a Suunto Movestick Mini USB ANT+ receiver. In ERG mode, TrainerRoad not only receives power and speed data from the Kickr (along with heart rate and cadence from my other ANT+ transmitters), the software controls the Kickr’s resistance as well. Changes ramp up (or down) gradually, so it’s almost imperceptible at first.

IMG_1577I’m used to using speed to nail power targets. Once the Kickr sets its own resistance, I can pedal within a +/- 10% cadence RPM window at a given power level. Which is a lot more, like, riding outside. Pairing the Kickr (in ANT+ mode) on TrainerRoad was nothing. My first test ride on the Kickr used the Sufferfest session “The Hunted.” I rode “The Elements of Style” (IF .71 and TSS 32) early this am. After another day of rest, it’ll be time for a 20 min FTP test Friday. The one I did Monday (on the Comp Mag+) was a bust. After warming up, my heart rate hovered at max for the first 10 minutes of the TT, before I stopped to get my heart rate down and limp the rest of the way home. I’m never, ever, gonna do that again. My last complete FTP test was 217 on Dec. 13, 2014.

I’m now suspecting that my fatigue and breakdown over the past three weeks has everything to do with the overtraining I was doing. The Kickr price tag was high (even though I got 10% off by purchasing it fromPerformance during their Tuesday lunch time special – plus 10% in BongoBucks). But it just might save my life.

Back in Business

BLG_3373We’re the Gordy-Stiths, a family of five (three of whom are leaving the nest to make their way in the world). Vicki and Bo have been married for nearly thirty years after falling in love while attending theNaval Academy, class of ’86. After serving as naval officers in the Seventh Fleet, they went to The Divinity School at Duke University to pursue a calling to ordained ministry, were ordained on June 13, 1993 and have been serving in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the UMC ever since. Vicki earned her Doctor of Ministry degree at Drew Theological School in 2010 and when Bo earns his degree from Drew in 2015, they plan to try life as a pair o’ docs. Heh, heh.

Joy is a junior at Wesley College in Dover, Eli graduates from Cab Calloway School of the Arts in 2015, and Elijah is a junior at Dickinson High School.

The Gordy-Stiths are into singing and preaching, reading, indie rock, tumblr, a capella, basketball, camping (in 32 states in their pop-up since 2004), hiking, running (Vicki ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 2002), cycling, Pokemon, Netflix, and friends and family.