Quest for a Cure

As of early February, after successfully completing the Tour of Sufferlandria, 2017, I felt compelled to train and ride a Sufferlandrian Knighthood DO (not an attempt). This involves riding 10 back-to-back video workouts (with no more than 10 minutes break in between each. Essentially, this boils down to another Total 200 – or its virtual equivalent, a year after that last little fun fest.

I originally planned the DO date for July 22, but the way training is going (especially the first two double trials @ 95%) encouraged me to bump up the date by six weeks, to June 10. The KoS DO involves a fundraiser, and I have chosen the American Cancer Society, setting up a contribution website. I plan to contribute $100 a month (plus overhead) until the KoS DO, as well as invite people to join me every Plateletpheresis donation (April 6, May 4, and June 1) and major cycling event leading up the the DO:

  • Icicle Century – Elkton, MD, Saturday, March 25, 2017
  • Ocean to Bay Double Metric Century – Bethany Beach, DE, Saturday, April 29, 2017
  • Shorebird Metric Century – Salisbury, MD, Saturday, May 6, 2017 (also an ACS fundraising event)
  • Skyline Drive Century – Front Royal, VA, Friday, May 12, 2017

For training, I’m also completing the 10-Week Sufferlandrian Intermediate Road Training Plan. I’m excited about this season’s focus (a season I’m dedicated to climbing, which will culminate in the Civil War Century and Savage Century. Who knows what success I’ll have with fundraising, but I know I will personally contribute $500 to the cause, as well as three units of Platelets, and over 2500 miles of blood, sweat, and tears.

2015 By the Numbers

2015 Heat MapThis year I was able to ride a personal best 4271 miles, including 1032 miles on the trainer and 565 commuter miles. That brings the total for my Altamira 2.7 (Phoenix) to 3854 miles (since August 30, 2014) and 1583 trainer miles (of 3245 miles total) on the Altamira 2.5 (Crimson Ride) since my August 11, 2014 crash. I’ve almost ridden as many trainer miles on the 2.5 as I had before the crash.

Of the 8824 miles I ridden since the “Drew Renaissance,” July 15, 2013, 77% have been road miles and 23% on the trainer. I enjoyed two organized event rides this year, the Icicle Metric Century in Newark, DE on March 28 and the Amish Century in Dover, DE on September 12 (my longest ride, 103 miles). The hurricane winds prevented me from riding the Seagull Century in Salisbury. Next year!

On November 21, 2015, I began commuting at Whatcoat. I had logged 463 miles commuting to and from Asbury UMC in the first half of the year, but this was a new kind of “purer” commuting on the hybrid, in my work clothes. I logged 76 miles commuting in December, or 14% of my total miles for the month (532). The road/trainer split was 54% (288)/32% (168), but December was a trainer heavy month. I’m finishing Week 5 of the SF 10-week Novice Training plan, much as I began 2014. Only this time I can eat, as I  am no longer losing weight while training.

My cost per mile remains high. This year, I added a Shimano 105 compact chainset/chain and BB, Revolution REV27 wheels, and purchased the rest of the SF videos and WKO4 for Mac upgrade – in addition to lights and commuter gear. I will no doubt have to replace some items due to normal wear and tear, but I’m hopeful that I can get the cost per mile well south of a dollar. This is an expensive sport/hobby. But a rewarding one.

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.

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.