Thursday, January 14, 2010

Winter = Trainer Time

Winter in Calgary means arctic cold temps, snow then slush and ice and really, really short days (OK not quite as short as the Alaskan Lovejoy's days), and it also means a lot of time on the stationary trainer. I travel most weeks Monday morning and come back Thursday evening. While I'm in Calgary, I typically work long hours and end up eating a quick dinner and then getting on the trainer.

I thought I would post up a quick sneak peak at the luxurious lifestyle of a traveling consultant and do a little quick review on some of the products I've been using for the last year.

First up...the bike and trainer (excuse the crappy iPhone pics please)

I shipped Ruby (my Specialized Roubaix) up to Calgary about a year ago to pound out miles on the trainer. She has done remarkably well, although I know she longs to get outside just like I do.

Next up is the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine stationary trainer

This trainer has been amazing. Its so smooth and delivers about of a real riding experience as I've found indoors. I compared it to some other trainers (Cycleops Fluid2 notably) and really like its sturdy frame and ease of setup compared to the others. It absolutely blows away my crappy trainer I used for years, I tried to ride it a couple weeks ago back home and realized just how much nicer this one is. I put about 2000 miles on it in the past year and it feels just like it did the day I bought it.

Another thing that I found that is essential to creating a more pleasant experience on the indoor trainer is the Continental Trainer Tire. This is a harder rubber compound (the hideous color is just a bonus feature) that feels better on the trainer, doesn't wear out nearly as quickly and is much, much quieter than a normal tire. This tire has over 2k miles on it and is still going strong. Highly recommended if you spend time on a trainer.

This is my apartment living room.

Not big, but enough space for me M - Th. The important thing is a TV that I can watch while I am pounding out monotonous mile after monotonous mile on the trainer. Most I know have a real discord for the trainer, but for some reason I can pound out long miles on it.

And the last review, which admittedly is more of a snap judgment than a review, is around's new version of their WKO+ software, version 3.0. I have been using Version 2 for a couple of years now, for tracking workouts with power there is simply nothing better that I've found. It provides an amazing amount of analysis (Oh Charts and Graphs!) of a workout, allowing you to slice and dice every aspect of a single workout, series of workouts or a season's worth of workouts.

I had high hopes for the new version and I immediately upgraded. While there are a couple cool new features, namely Quadrant Analysis and the Scatter Graph, the software still feels a bit beta. I have constant screen display issues with the screen flickering and not redrawing properly, and the new features feel more worthy of a 2.5 version designation instead of a major release designation like 3.0. The great news is that all the old functionality still exists and that is a data nut's dream. Its still leaps and bounds better than the standard Cycleops PowerAgent software.

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