IM CDA Computrainer Ride #1 Review

Note: this graphic is taken from the Racer Mate website and is not my actual ride. However, check out that elevation chart above for the Ironman Coeur D’Alene Course! Up/Down/Up/Down/Up/Down
Damn…that was hard…the end.

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)

Spin Scan: Mid 70s (my pedal stroke is pretty efficient for the most part. I just need to build strength)

Calories Burned: 1500! (I took in about 800-850 calories through Perpetuum and Clif Blocks)

Overall, I am happy at the consistency of the overall ride. I took several minutes to get in the flow of the ride as I chatted with friends at the training center, fiddled with my HR Monitor, screwed around with the iPod, flirted with hubster who was riding next to me, etc. Hopefully, I’ll settle in quicker on subsequent rides. I’ll definitely pack more nutrition as well.
At one point before the hills I was averaging close to 16 mph, but it dipped down to 15.2 when I hit the hills. At least my avg mph was going back up as I was heading out of the hills before I stopped.
I can’t believe I didn’t get any pics, but suffice to say there was a puddle of sweat illiciting a nice comment from Alisa about how pretty I looked 🙂

6 thoughts on “IM CDA Computrainer Ride #1 Review

  1. did not have the race day adrenaline too!! maybe that will account for something…Can you get hubster to ride part of the course race day..haha

  2. That is so cool! I need one of those things! I agree. Indoor trainer rides always seem way more difficult than being outside. I love all those numbers. Great work!

  3. I think riding indoors is way harder than riding outdoors (unless perhaps you have a 20+mph headwind the entire way). But what a great way to ride the IMCdA course and get some good training in without even leaving home. Thanks for the Computrainer ride report!

  4. Carrie, you officially kicked my you-know-what on this one. Now that I’ve ridden it, I can say great job! I believe I was averaging somewhere in the high 14s at the 3 hour mark. (And we won’t mention the average through the end…)There’s just no break in that course on the computrainer, and a few of those hills feel like a wall! I think Meredith enjoyed me telling the trainer from time to time that I was on a flat part and it should back off. The good news is that my breakdown came in the last part of the first loop, and I can always coast that part in real life if I really need to. 🙂

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