Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Indoor Riding: Purely Mental & Keeping Your Focus

I spent the last two days riding on an indoor-trainer - a generous gift from marketing consultant, Reeves Lim Leong. For the relatively uninitiated, I mounted my road-bike on an indoor-trainer (an apparatus that locks your bike in place, and allows for variable resistance). The version I use is the Minoura Rim Drive Trainer, which operates with two wheels over the rim of my road-wheels. The advantage of this type of contraption is that, it spares my expensive race tyres from being worn out. The version I used previously (years ago) was abrasive on my tyres, and left sticky shreds of residue after each riding session.
The roller pressure is kept at an even 365 watts, and larger resistance would cause more rim/roller pressure and wear them out. The initial pedal resistance is not very hard, and gains nice momentum after a few revolutions. I have up to seven levels of difficulty to adjust to. Due to the varying resistance offered from each style and model of trainers, it has often been described that, an hour of indoor riding might be equivalent to 1.5 hours outdoors. It certainly feels that way, since you do not enjoy a variety of surroundings and scenery.

Considerations for doing indoor sessions with your trainer:

1)    Keep you room ventilated. Open all windows.
2)    Use a fan, and ensure that you are adequately cooled especially when the humidity is high. Set your fan to blow at your face-level for most effect.
3)    Ensure that you have adequate fluids. Fill up two bottles of hydration.
4)    If it is a session that is 3-4 hours long, consume nutrition as per your long rides outdoors.
5)    Lay a large towel directly underneath your body, including the pedals. This will assure your family against a wet and slippery floor. Use a smaller towel, draped over your handle-bars/aero-bars set-up.
6)    To ease into the mundane situation of riding-but-not-moving, you can catch up on the news on television.

Deca-Ironman Kua Harn Wei has spent 4-6 hours on his trainer when it rains. Rumour is, he used to do it consecutively, every day, for three weeks as a prelude to his 10 Ironmans done back-to-back for 10 days. Indoor-trainers may be testing on your patience and mental resilience, yet it is as Spartan (and mentally punishing) as it gets. It is certainly safer than riding on the roads these days (unless you mounted your bike poorly). However, you do lose the effort put into balancing, bike handling, and experiencing headwinds/side-winds and other impediments. Nevertheless, you can train and rehearse your entire bike leg in safety, and with strategic relevance. You can mix your program up with power sprints, strength intervals, time trials and tempo training.

Leadership Lessons: How mentally tough are you? Handling your boredom and impatience can be a useful skill. How do you handle senseless, mindless tasks like irrelevant meetings and useless presentations? How do you maintain strict focus over your professional behaviors? How aware are you about displaying appropriate behaviors?

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