Thursday, 1 January 2015

Indoor Cycling Part 1 Complete

For a while I was posting weekly updates for the indoor cycling.  It was pretty dry, boring stuff focusing on the detail of the intervals.  I wanted to record those details anyway; I ended up recording it in Strava instead of gumming up my blog with boring posts.  Instead I'll post more occasionally about it, but with more relevant (and less boring) material.

After nine weeks we've completed the first part of our two-part indoor class.  I figured it would be a good time to look back at the nine weeks and see what I've managed to accomplish thus far.

I've noticed an increase with my functional threshold power.  We did our first test on the very first day and we did a follow up about seven weeks later.  The second test showed an improvement of 8%.  It doesn't seem like a lot, but keep in mind I'm basing my FTP on my heart rate; this means I can hold a heart rate that is 8% higher for an entire hour.  That's very significant!

My pedaling technique and cadence have greatly improved.  I figured I was pretty good at the start of the class, easily able to fall into a rate of 90-95 rpm.  Since then I've been improving my technique by trying to "kick" forward on the top of a stroke and scrape my foot at the bottom.  With this technique I've managed 125+ rpm cadence in a very controlled manner.

My leg muscles have come a long way as well.  My calf muscles were already pretty large at the start of class.  They've gotten bigger and more well defined.  My quads are definitely the larger increase though; my upper legs went from flabby to extremely muscular. My time spent posing in the mirror has basically tripled, yay for vanity!

I've gotten much better at standing up while riding.  I used to have terrible stamina and get exhausted right away.  Now I can maintain it very well.  My technique is improved here as well; I used to just pedal mash while standing but now I apply my newly learned pedaling technique.  I've also been working hard at my standing form so it is much easier to perform.

Riding in the drops of my handlebars used to be very tough.  One big factor is size of my gut; going into the drops meant kneeing myself in the stomach a lot.  Not to mention the position was just plain uncomfortable and I felt like it was harder to breathe. But over time my gut got smaller and my endurance grew.  Now I am much more comfortable leaning down and getting closer to my bike.  It doesn't help much in the indoor class but it's going to do wonders for me come spring.

My overall comfort and confidence with my clipless pedals and shoes has increased a lot.  To be fair, I'm on a trainer and there's very little chance of something going wrong, like falling over while my shoes are locked in.  But I've gotten very used to  being able to hop on or off the bike quickly.  When I go to stick my leg out, decoupling from the pedals is second nature.

Most importantly, it has been an exercise I've been able to maintain.  In the nine week period I've only missed a day or two.  Even when I had pneumonia and I was hacking up a lung, I was there on my bike.  Diabetes doesn't take a sick day so I felt like I couldn't either.

So, long story short, I'm really happy with my results.  I'm looking forward to what the next nine weeks will bring!

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