Winter in the Pacific Northwest is pretty when it snows, and I enjoy a good blustery weather day, but I have turned into a major softy when it comes to cold weather riding. Well, I suppose I have the valid reason of a touchy case of Raynaud’s, the finger and toe suffrage has extended to finger, hand, and mid-calf down coldness this winter and I’ve found my best solution is to stay proactive about ensuring my limbs are thermally prepared before even thinking about cold exposure. You should see me right now, working from home today, I’m rocking the flannel pajama pants, compression socks, grabber toe warmers, and down booties. Life is good with that, but that’s what it takes for me to keep my lower legs and feet warm just inside when I’m at my occupation or blogging, sitting in front of the computer.
Last year I picked up the SportCrafters OverDrive Trike Trainer with Progressive Resistance and have been able to log a chunk of miles pedaling Lowly the trike in my garage when I just can’t muster up the grit to go riding outside in torrential downpours, cold weather, the dark, or all of these above. Really, I’ve never had a problem with boredom spending a could hours spinning in place, my headphones go on to a peppy Pandora station and I try to push myself watching my speed, cadence, and heart rate.
Occasionally I start trying to work in more intervals, but usually fall into just pedaling without bigger challenges. Enter Zwift. This last year my brother picked up some rollers for his upright road bike and then the smart trainer add-on, which enables him to plug into the computer and have something such as Zwift or TrainerRoad adjust the resistance of the rollers to more closely mimic outside riding with difficult hill climbs, descents, etc.
I’ve been watching this technology for sometime with great interest, I enjoy some video games from time to time, I like pedaling, and I am always wanting to push myself into better shape. This christmas, my sister in law and brother in law gave me the missing Garmin ant+ usb dongle necessary to connect my speed, cadence, and heart rate monitors to a computer so I could try out Zwift for myself.
When visiting my bro
ther and family in California over the holidays, Todd helped me get things setup to give a first shot. And, of course, I was instantly hooked. There are some things that could use some improvement. For starters, it would be pretty awesome if Zwift would come out with a recumbent bike rider as well as a hancyclist. Now, there’s a lot of algorithms that could go into power conversions etc. with uprights vs recumbents vs hand cycles, but for starters, it would just be awesome to have the skin, or appearance feature.
Zwift primarily is power based (I think), so not yet having a power meter for my trike, they use some sort
of virtual power algorithm derived from what my speed, cadence, and heart rate sensors are reporting, mixed in with what type of trainer I have. This is all pretty awesome, but my trainer is not on their list so I have to choose a generic trainer and I feel like there is a bit of a penalty on the equation in terms of how hard I’m working in reality vs. how fast that translates into on the virtual course, especially when it comes to the hill climbs.
Enter nerd mode, I started researching options that might help me balance out this equation, other than just getting in better shape and riding harder, of course. The ultimate answer would be to pickup the Wahoo Kickr which has an integrated power meter and is also a smart trainer, with the ability to interface with your computer and let these programs adjust the resistance while you’re riding. Well, while I’d still love to get one of these, the price tag rings in a little over $1,000 which is a tad prohibitive, and for that price, I can pickup a power meter setup for my trike, such as something from Stages Cycling, that would interface with Zwift and also provide me with power metrics for my outside riding, you know, when it’s not hostile out there. I wouldn’t gain the smart resistance technology with that setup like I would with the Wahoo Kickr, but I think it’s a better plan for me to try and start saving up my pennies for.
Anyhow, I’m enjoying this change of scenery for fowl weather add winter night time training. In the interim of trying to save up for a power meter, I may be able to cobble together an older computer and bigger monitor to setup in the garage to provide a bigger screen as opposed the the tiny laptop screen I’m working with now. I haven’t figured out how to add friends yet on Swift, but check out my #imnotdeadyet club on Strava and send me an invite through there and we might just have to meet up one of these nights on the virtual road!