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The Scott Sunderland Diary 2001

The Scott Sunderland home trainer awards for 2001 - Part III

Scott threw down the challenge in his last update: Who of you has done a longer session on the home-trainer than Scott's fakta teammate, Roberto Lochowski (6 hours)? Some of the responses recieved so far have been published below - there are some indoor lunatics among you! The "winner" of this informal competition may be rewarded with some fakta team kit according to Scott.

Read the first 19 entries
Read entries 20-26
Read entries 39-46

Entry #27

Scott,

Prior to owning a computrainer I honestly couldn't make it past 40 mins. My prior trainer used to screech like a strangled parrot once you hit 20 mph+ so it created its own set of limiting factors.

Now I set a course, usually 50km, which takes anywhere between 1:29-1:35 without the pressure from the little silver guy. What keeps me on however is my set up with a TV/Tape machine to watch Cycling videos. The hills provide variety and the trainer can be set up for flat, downhill, I can do that, piece of cake. My own particular nemesis is one called Alien Crop circles which is 18 miles of solid torture ranging from 6% to 12% both up and down.

Other mind numbing exercises are motor pacing behind the little silver guy for 40 miles averaging 26-28 mph. Its just like a road race, you cannot let go of that wheel ahead and have to maintain it in a narrow band (e.g. 7-12 feet behind the silver guy) or suffer the consequences. Trust me, chasing back on has inevitably shorted my expected life span. I can only liken it to trying to hold Museeuw's wheel, something I suspect you are familiar with.

Theres nothing like the Belgian classics to make you thankful that you are inside, despite the fact that my wife has me outside in an unheated porch in the middle of winter. I'm in Boston/Concord USA, so believe me it's too cold and icy to ride.

I cannot imagine doing 12 hours even under these circumstances. Actually I cannot even imagine staying on the bike for 12 hours outside either.

Regards,
Ross Kennedy
Concord/USA

Entry #28

Scott,

Well I don't have a record but I managed to ride over 1 hour a couple of years ago (make it a long time ago) while living in Brisbane. I had broken my arm while cycling and wanted to get a few km in the legs so I got out the home trainer in my parents' garage. This was during the summer season in QLD and all I can remember is that it was bloody hot in that garage and the electric fan did not help...

After this experience I hardly got on the home trainer while in Brisbane. Now living in Paris I'm forced to use the home trainer from October to March (after work) and just getting a couple of hours per week.

Enjoy the QLD sun and surf, I wish you and your family all the best in 2002 and hopefully we will see you with your hands up in the air in a Spring Classic on cyclingnews.com

Ciao,
Jerome Camilleri

Entry #29

Nowhere near 8 hrs but I did crank up 4 hrs 35 on the home trainer training for Forster Ironman back in 1996. It was my first Ironman and it was raining. I was shitting myself about having to do big miles.

Thanks,
Grant Major

Entry #30

Hi Scott,

A couple of years ago I was working long hours and thought a home trainer would be a handy way to try to maintain some fitness. I enquired at my favourite bike shop about them. He said they were absolutely boring no matter what videos you are watching and did not try to sell me one at any price. I really like his judgement.

Now work has settled down and I can train more often and I even go out in the rain occasionally. At 50 you have to have some standards I reckon.

Good Luck for the coming season.

Mike Renehan
Stratford, Australia

Entry #31

Scott,

I read your updates pretty regularly and really enjoy them. Last December, a teammate and I where out training in sunny South Florida when we were hit by a car. After weeks of lying in bed pissed off I rode the trainer for more than four hours while it was 75 degrees outside, because my doctor, who also rides would have killed my had he seen me on the road with my cast on my left leg. It probably was not the brightest thing I have ever done but I had to do something, everyone else was outside getting fit while I was in bed eating!

Have a great season,

Chris Frederick
USA

Entry #31

Well my training buddy John Rubcic once did 24hrs on a tandem with another guy, on rollers, in a shopping mall! I understand they went through a few rear tires...

Cheers,
Jim C
SoCal, USA

Entry #31

Hi Scott,

I have changed my job last February and it meant that I, all of sudden, did not have that much time for proper training in spring time as I finish at 5PM and it is already dark outside ( before I was home by 3PM). At the beginning I thought that going out on weekends would be enough but when first races came (amateur ones) I realised how big impact it had on my form.

This winter I decided to buy home trainer to keep myself in shape and also keep my weight down. I try to do an hour daily, which is not always true and plan to increase it to maximum 2 hours at the end of February. That, I guess would be my maximum. I know this is not enough to beat the best contestants and I did not intend to take part at this contest first.

All the best for 2002

Leo Miklenda
Czech Republic

Entry #32

Scott,

Best wishes to you and the family for 2002. Adelaide is looking forward to seeing you and your colleagues for the Tour DownUnder.

Regarding home trainer endurance...I heard someone describe cross country skiing as the "most boring thing you can do!" He had never tried the home trainer and if he did would have to reconsider. For me though, there are two considerations.

1 Winter only. Otherwise it's too hot, let alone boring. Thankfully in Adelaide, there are few times of the year that the road is too wet/cold etc.

2 Coinciding with the coldest weather is the Tour De France in Europe and SBS's half hour summary of an evening.

These factors combine to make using the home trainer as tolerable as will ever be possible. It is amazing that as they ride faster on the TV, the trainer gets more of a work out.

Anyone who uses the home trainer in circumstances other that these really needs help.

Regards,
David
Adelaide, Australia

Entry #33

Hello Scott,

My personal record for time spent on a trainer was about 4 hours and 20 minutes. I rented a copy of the movie Dr. Zhivago and watched it along with some other TV viewing that day. That winter I also discovered that sub-titled foreign language films were great for overcoming the problem of a noisy trainer. No need to rewind the tape to try to figure out what so-and-so said.

This was about 3 years ago and since then I have grown to be less enthusiastic about the trainer. Last year, I spent a lot more time on cross-country skis. This year I have structured my plan for the year to keep indoor riding to a minimum. Let's see how that affects me when May comes around!

As an alternative to the trainer, those of you in colder climates should consider cross-country skiing. Somebody replying to your call for trainer ride records said the XC skiing is "boring". I suggest that they try skate skiing as opposed to the traditional movement called "classical". Skate is much faster and much more exciting. I know several top level masters (veterans) level racers here that only ski from Christmas until March or so. When they get on their bikes again, they need to spin a bit but their aerobic fitness and strength is right on. No problems there.

Finally, best of luck in the Commonwealth Games. There's a fellow who lives near me who will probably be riding for Zimbabwe in the MTB and road competitions. For what it's worth, he said he's most worried about the Ozzies (your name was mentioned along with O'Grady) making life difficult on the road.

Regards,
Steven Bonadio
Boston, USA

Entry #34

Seems to me that most people think of training indoors when it is simply too cold outside to train. Ha ha, that is not an issue in Kosovo, I can assure you.

I am an American cyclist (oops...lawyer) working for the UN government here and have survived through three long cold winters. Yes, it is cold outside (minus 20 or more is common), and yes, there is ice and snow on the roads (which actually help to fill in some of the mortar and bomb craters that present unique hazards in summer). So one would think cycling indoors makes sense. I did, so I brought my mag trainer here and left my extreme winter cycling wear at home - until this winter, that is.

So let me describe our little winter cycling world in Kosovo. Since the first hard freeze, there has been no running water in my entire neighbourhood in the capital city for more than one month now.

Electricity is supplied for 6 hours or so on a good day, but recently we are lucky to get an hour if at all. My rented house is insulated like a bird house, and it's construction is such that you feel a breeze in every room even with all windows and doors shut tight. Thus, when it is minus 20 outside, it is minus 20 inside.

There is an icicle hanging from the spout where I have now only faded memories of what bathing and shaving were like. My roommates and I all have the flu. But I still train indoors like a demon.

Is it because I won the championship of Kosovo last year and I know that all the local racers are looking to topple me this year? Could be, but no.

Is it because I must keep training to try to increase circulation in my left leg after an accident 5 years ago left me with diminished capacity? Again, could be, but no.

It is because, if all of us are in the same small room, and I am cycling hard, imagining that I am watching one my TdF tapes (remember, no electricity...), and with a high fever from the flu...Then we can have a brief respite from the head-numbing cold.

Yes, my appreciative roommates are great coaches as they motivate me to even harder training and faster revolutions. I even caught them increasing the resistance when they thought I was not able to focus my vision any longer.

As for your contest, I admit that I cannot keep the pace up for more than an hour or so at one go. But my break times are limited - the frigid breezes blowing mysteriously throughout the house cause all traces of my heat generating efforts to disappear inside of 10 minutes, prompting my "coaches" to remount me aboard my (once-beloved) Fondriest for more "training".

Wish you were here :)

Michael Stechow
Pristina, Kosovo

Entry #35

My friend Kevin Borgen, in preparation for his "Borgen II" project, used to do regular 4-6 hour sessions in the basement of his parents' home in Illinois. He's a lawyer now, so the indoor training was obviously good practice for overcoming mind-crushing boredom and doing the same thing over and over.

Cheers,

Mark Featherman
Lancaster, PA USA

Entry #36

"Misery loves company": The motto for any roller session.

For a successful session, one needs to find another individual suitably desperate to put in some miles. Look for a rider with sunglass tan lines (saying something in the winter) and a gaunt appearance who peers at the sky every 5-10 minutes, looking for a speck of sun in the rain clouds.

Once you've found this training partner, set two roller sets alongside one another and pretend you're out on a ride. You can always add diversions not possible during a regular training ride. Some fun ones include:

1) Who can ride with no hands longest.
2) Who can take off their (you choose) jersey, shoes, arm warmers, leg warmers, and/or socks then put them back on again without crashing.
3) Who can reach the highest speed in a 39x21 (Quite exciting when some lunatic is wobbling along at 210 rpm 18 inches away from you).
4) Who can push the other one off their rollers first without use of hands (My personal favorite).
5) Who can pretend they are enjoying the ride the longest.

My longest training session was about 95 minutes. It would have gone on longer however an over-enthusiastic training partner took me out during a roller "shoving" match, ending the "ride" prematurely.

Good luck in the coming season.

Tim
San Jose. CA

Entry #37

These guys that are answering your call are all nuts. I guess I represent the 'regular' roadies out there. I can only put 90 minutes at 220ish watts and high cadence on the trainer before I start losing my mind!

I really enjoy your column and wish you all the best in the coming season!

Regards,

Geoffrey A. Mar
Calgary, Canada

Entry #38

Hi there Scott and the Sunderland family

I would tend to agree that a one hour session on the home trainer is more than enough mental torture for one day! In the recent few months (well, just one anyway!) I have returned to my home trainer to build some fitness for the summer months in Australia. Needless to say, I cannot relive the halcyon days I encountered on the home trainer during 1999.

Back then, I was still a motivated teenager with hopes and dreams of making it someday as a professional cyclist, even though I had never joined a cycling club! I could easily do a one hour session on the home trainer and would often do 90 minute sessions even if the weather was dry outside.

The pinnacle on the home trainer came one late May evening where I had done the longest session ever - although it was not even at 80%. That night I rode for about three hours, not whilst watching old cycling tapes, but by watching the English FA Cup! I set up two stools beside me to hold the remote controls and drinks and just sat there pushing my legs around to watch Chelsea defeat Newcastle United. The remote controls came in good use to channel surf to watch a young John Travolta and Sissy Spacek in that (apparent) horror movie "Carrie". No doubt after that ride, the feeling for me was that I could turn professional for anyone at that present time!

As we fast forward to early 2002, those days have long gone now. In the past two and a half years, I have put on at least one quarter (15+ kgs) of my weight then and have not ridden once on the road (its too hilly where I live!) in the past 18 months. I keep myself 'amused' now by surfing but not the physical kind - internet and television! Must have something to do with me being a university student!

All the best for the year 2002. May you have continued success in your own life and out on the road.

Regards,

Edilberto Junior Pangilinan
Melbourne, Australia