One of the many tools available with T3 is access to their Computrainer Pro systems. Beyond simply sitting on your butt on a normal trainer for 3+ hours, the Computrainer allows you to “ride” the actual race course complete with real video footage on race day, hills, drag factor, etc. You get constant graphic depictions of your wattage, heart rate, cadence, elevation changes and your pedal scan. Seriously—almost too much information for a non-techie like me and a bunch of numbers that ultimately leave me wondering, “So, am I going to make the bike cut-off time on race day?!”
The answer (barring no tragic happenstance) is that, “yes,” I will make the bike cut off. However, the Computrainer version of Ironman Coeur D’Alene is nothing short of demanding. Perhaps it’s my coaches way of making me feel better, or my own rationalization, but they insist that the Computrainer ride is much more difficult than the actual course. I hope so and here’s why:
First and foremost, we’re pedaling in a non-air conditioned warehouse with no airflow except for the “Big Ass Fan” on the ceiling. There’s no visual stimulation of being outdoors or in a race/group atmosphere. There’s no tailwind to embrace. There’s nothing to look at except those little numbers as they constantly change. Oh yeah—also on the Computrainer, there is no coasting down hills. If you stop pedaling, so does your virtual cyclist. That means you are working and pedaling just as hard on the downhills as you are on the uphills. Believe me, there are lots of uphills. That also means NO REST. Finally, the graphic depiction of the course can be very deceiving. The graphic elevation of IM CDA resembles a bike ride through the Grand Canyon. (see above photo)
I prepared enough nutrition for a solid 3 hour ride on the trainer from 11a-2p. After three hours, I was at 47 miles according to Mr. Computrainer. My goal was to ride the entire 56 mile loop keeping in mind that on actual race day, I have to do this loop TWICE! Once I ran out of nutrition, I stopped the intense effort and just basically pedaled for another 20 minutes or so to get to 50 miles. I called it a day knowing that my effort level and time in the saddle easily equaled what would be 60 miles if I was outdoors. (Again, I’m rationalizing a bit here)
I’ve got several more Computrainer rides on the calendar and with everything else, I’m sure it will become less daunting with each spin. Special thanks to Mr. Podrunner for providing the heart-thumping techno music for 3 hours straight. It really helped me focus and center myself for the haul.
Here were my results after the 3 hours of riding.
Computrainer Ride #1:
Miles of Real Effort: 46.64
Avg mph: 15.5 mph (this is the part that looks initially very discouraging on screen, but I’m assured over and over again that it’s a lot tougher indoors. I averaged just under 17 mph at IM Arizona last year and hope to at least match that effort)
Avg HR: 141 (working on getting that higher in the mid to high 140s and sustaining)
Avg Watts: 142 ( I honestly don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this number just yet besides make it higher)
Peak Watts: 247
Average cadence: 90 (very happy about that with the hills)
Calories Burned: 1500! (I took in about 800-850 calories through Perpetuum and Clif Blocks)