Saturday, January 29, 2011

Works for Me! Unexpected Results from Swimming Change-up

I revisited the "pool of memories" in 2010
People once said I was a natural born swimmer. Well, some actually said (and still say) I was born a fish. But either way, at age 14, there was no denying it - my first, best destiny seemed to be as a swimmer. Because, unlike most swimmers, I started swimming competitively at age 14. I set a high school record two years later and became an NCAA All-American three years after that.

But swimming as a life-long activity is not nearly as easy to do as running (my anywhere, anytime activity). And if you live in a northern climate - for instance, Cleveland - swimming is all about logistics. You need a pool. And you need work-friendly pool hours.

Finding a pool close to home with decent pool hours and space for lap swimming has become increasingly difficult for me. My hometown recreation center has been adding aquatics programs during prime non-work hours, and thus, swimming laps comfortably (i.e., not having to share a lane with more than a million people) is only possible in the early morning or late evening. (Or on Friday evenings during what my husband and I affectionately refer to as the "Friday night loser workout.") But because running is my preferred morning workout, I now find myself trudging to the pool at 9 p.m. and skimping on valuable sleep.

The olden days: RPI's medly relay.
back when I had "football shoulders"
(that's me, the pinhead at far left)
It reminded me of my freshman year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) when I joined the women's swim "club." We were relegated to practice at 9-11 p.m. - prime study hours when no one else would dare want the pool. Meanwhile, the men's swim "team" had more family-friendly hours of 4-6 p.m. We could not share pool hours because, besides the fact that we were only a club, the "pool" was a tiny five-lane hole in the ground in the dungeon... I mean, basement... of the gym. It was cold. It was dark. And we had to trudge through several feet of snow to get from the freshman dorms to the gym. But, luckily, the RPI women swimmers were given bona fide NCAA team status the following year, and we also got a new pool - complete with bleachers, a diving well, a paid coach and a coach's office.

So, yeah, a few months ago, I was having flashbacks of THOSE days. I was doing it all over again. And not liking it, all over again. If I actually watched prime-time TV, I would hate it even more.

Thus, when my employer offered a $300 reimbursement for gym membership fees to anyone who passed a fitness test, my main goal was to get that money and use it for a second gym membership -- somewhere close to home with a pool and, most importantly, favorable pool hours. Who knew a new pool might provide an additional payoff? Not me.

The additional payoff came in the form of a 25-meter pool (my regular pool is 25 yards in length). I saw a new pool length more as a fresh take on the same old boring intervals. It would be something different, something even a little harder. (Although, I could even see myself lollygagging through sets and convincing myself I was swimming fast because I had nothing to compare it to.) Secretly, it took the pressure off.

But reality eventually set in (note, reality = my competitive instinct). Only one set of data is needed to compare the next set to, and before long, I found new interval times and worked my sets just as hard as ever. But the change-up, however small it seems, was doing me good because I was enjoying the challenge of swimming different distances. By default, I increased my "yardage" by swimming the same number of laps I did in a 25-yard pool. Swimming "3000" in my new pool added 280 yards. (Yeah, I know you say "why not just swim another 300 yards in the 25-yard pool?"... but it's a mental game.. I think.. or maybe it's all about the number of flip turns.)

But, whatever it is, two days ago, I noticed an unexpected after-effect of swimming in this new pool. I did a workout in my other "short" pool only to find I can swim 100-yard repeats several seconds faster than I could a few weeks ago. For the first time in over 20 years, my times are well under 1:15 (closer to 1:10) while doing repeats on 1:30. It seems like an unusual and drastic drop, but it's given me hope for the future. I may never be as fast as I was in THOSE days, but, I still dream of one day being able to complete that Ironman swim well under an hour and hopefully out of the clobbering pack.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Need to Share: New Turin Brakes Video

I know I do it. A lot. I go on and on and on about Turin Brakes. But in my defense, they are likely the most underrated band ever, and I feel compelled to protect their amazing music from becoming lost to the world forever. That being said... with their personal release today of a new song and video, I feel that needing to remind people of the genius of Turin Brakes may not continue to be necessary (although I will continue to do it).

The new song is actually a cover of a Talk Talk song, "Ascension Day." As usual, Turin Brakes have made a cover that is true to the music and feeling of the original, but have boiled it down to its essence in a way that only they can. One (sharp, unforgiving, honest) voice. One (crisp, heart-wrenching, perfect) guitar. And you may never want to hear the original again because now you know exactly what it COULD HAVE sounded like.

But that's not the only thing to talk about here. There is a new and brilliant collaboration in the world of Turin Brakes. One that you should have seen coming if you follow them on Twitter (@the_real_TB). The collaboration is with filmmaker Philip Bloom who created the video for Ascension Day. The stripped-down rawness of the music has received its quintessential visual representation. I expected no less after seeing several still photos of the video shoot before I even heard the song. Now that I've experienced it as a whole, all I have to say is, this is a video that takes no prisoners. Starkly beautiful, desperately intimate, and with teeth-clenching intensity, it gives you nowhere to hide. I almost had to cover my eyes to shield myself from the honesty of it.

And now I'll let you decide how you feel about it. And I wager that you WILL feel SOMETHING.

Turin Brakes: Ascension Day from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Treadmill Disaster: A Day in the Life

That doesn't look too bad:
when you fall on a treadmill, the
welt resembles the belt pattern.
I've grown to accept my lot as the Disaster Magnet. It's made me a little more careful over the years and even more superstitious than most. Yes, I do avoid walking under ladders, and I take extra precautions on Friday the 13th. But, as I found out yesterday, sometimes, even when I make a concerted effort to avoid disaster, it will find me. It seeks me out. And I must be lacking in proper disasters as of late, because I was obviously due for a big one.

The big one started with the weather. Two weeks ago, I had my yearly reminder of what happens on black ice. Luckily (for my body but not for my neighbor's yard), it happened in the car. I pulled out of my driveway, turned the wheel left but kept going straight... straight into the snowbank in my neighbor's yard. Note to self: ice is dangerous. Especially the ice you can't see.

Every winter, I slip at least once on black ice. I have constant reminders of these incidents: running tights with holes in them and scars on my knees. In 2008, I slipped once while running and once while NOT running. I was on a photography assignment at work when I slipped on ice and fell right smack on my camera lens (of all things) -- and broke a rib. And you question why they call me the Disaster Magnet?

So yesterday, I decided to be smart after finding out the weather forecast was rain/snow and temperatures around freezing. That usually spells I-C-E. And for those judging, I'm not a wimp! If it were dry and 30 degrees, I would definitely run outside. But why tempt disaster? I saved my morning run for an evening workout on the treadmill. I was so proud of myself. I even bragged about my decision on Facebook. Yes, I set up THE perfect recipe for disaster.

I should have known better -- pride usually goes before a fall. And I'm the Disaster Magnet. I walked (well, ran) RIGHT into that pitfall. And it's no coincidence to see the word "fall" twice.

The last time I fell on a treadmill was seven years ago in a hotel in Chicago in January. It was the first time I attempted to run with music, and I foolishly placed my iPod on a rack in front of me with the headphone cable running in front. Almost immediately, I crossed my arms in front of my body, hit the wire and sent the iPod flying. It landed on the side of the treadmill and I stopped to pick it up -- ON THE MOVING BELT. I ended up crumpled against the wall of the workout room (this was not a big place). Even though I was alone, I immediately looked around, more concerned with how silly I looked than if I was hurt.

Here comes the stupid part. I got up, put the iPod right back on the rack in front of me and told myself I would REMEMBER it was there and not cross my arms in front of my body again. But what happened? Just like great comedy, I did the exact same thing. Again. I sent the iPod flying... AND, I stopped to pick it up. AGAIN. ON THE MOVING BELT.

Crumpled against the wall a second time was enough to drive the lesson home. My iPod is now firmly attached to my body when I run on any treadmill. I learned to love the treadmill, with music, and I never had another disaster. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I learned what it's like to fall off a treadmill, not alone in the dark, but in the presence of a gym full of people. And it's not even a GOOD story. I can't say I was ogling some hot guy or challenging myself to run faster. My mind wandered, I stepped off the belt and I never recovered. After a stumble and fall that seemed to last forever, I was ejected off the back of the treadmill and into the elliptical machine behind me.

Ouch. That hurt. The 90-something-year-old guy on the eliptical machine never missed a stride: "are you ok? maybe you should sit down for a minute."

This was NOT happening. I did NOT just get told to take it easy by some ancient dude on an elliptical machine.

I looked at the guy next to him: "Did you see it happen?" His answer: "Oh yeah, I saw the whole thing [insert attempt not to chuckle]." (His expression reminded me of Jerry Seinfeld trying to keep a straight face when "Kramer" did something completely hilarious on their TV show.) I might mention he was ALSO on an elliptical machine.

OUCH. That hurt more than the injuries.

I got right back on my treadmill. The guy - walking - on the treadmill next to me said: "I've heard that people fall off these things, but I never actually saw someone do it!"

OUCH! Once more. I am NOW the idiot in this guy's hilarious story that starts with: "yeah, I saw someone fall off a treadmill once."

They even sent a gym staff member to keep an eye on me while I started back at my workout. He stayed there. For a WHILE. I wasn't giving in. I turned the treadmill up (I was going to continue my mile repeats). It was then I realized... heck, I am in LOT more pain than I thought. But I finished my workout in defiance.

And now my biggest problem is figuring out what part of my body actually NEEDS ICE. The left side or the right side. Or my wrist. Welcome to my world. It's one of irony. And just another typical day in the life of the Disaster Magnet.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Impossibility of Basking in the Afterglow with [a Nasty] Ironman Looming

I should have been (but wasn't) in this pool last Monday
In my attempt to blog at least once a week, it wasn't hard to come up with a topic because there was only one thing on my mind this week - anxiety about the fact that I'm 17 weeks away from Ironman St. George, I still don't have a hotel and I haven't done a long ride over three and a half hours.

After a decent showing at the Walt Disney World Marathon last weekend, all I wanted to do was sleep in on Monday. But I couldn't. A huge snowstorm in the southern U.S. created havoc for my husband Jim and me in getting home. On Monday, we were supposed to stay in bed late, go swimming and hang out at the massive hotel pool, and go to Downtown Disney (because I had not been in the Lego store yet). But when we got back from Epcot on Sunday night, we found out our flights through Atlanta had been canceled due to the storm.

After panicking that we wouldn't be able to get on the same flights out of Orlando because our tickets weren't bought "together," we managed to get ourselves rerouted via a hotel computer kiosk - Orlando to New York to Detroit to Cleveland. The worst part? We had to be at the airport early in the morning. This meant one thing: no fun in Orlando on our final day and stress of a long day of travel ahead of us.

The four-airport travel day made it extra hard to get back to working out on Tuesday. But there could be no rest. Although I'm not stupid -- I did take four days off from running to recover from my 26.2-mile race. But I was seriously behind on my bike training, and two days after my marathon, I got on the CompuTrainer for two days: the first day just to get my bike legs back, and the second day doing a hard strength-building workout. On Thursday, I managed to get in my rec-center pool for 2800 meters. Then on Friday, I finally got back to running, albeit on the treadmill (because we had our own massive snowstorm in Cleveland this week).

Along came this weekend and the most important workout in my mind: a four-hour ride on the bike trainer. I managed to tackle about 64 miles, more than 50 of which were on the St. George simulated bike course. When it was over, discouragingly, my average speed had not even broken 16 mph, and I am increasingly worried I made a huge mistake in choosing Ironman St. George as one of my races this year.

From the video simulation, the course is quite brutal and as of yesterday, I've managed to ride only the uphill parts. After which I find myself lying on the floor next to my bike, and NOT to do my usual sit-ups. The final part of the course (which I haven't actually "ridden" yet) is downhill. Here's the bike profile from the IM St. George website:

Ironman St. George bike course profile

It's a modified two-loop course and although the profile above is very compressed (i.e. 112 miles on the x-axis), it's still a LOT of uphill riding. All I can hope for is that my less-than-16-mph average would have been greater than 16 mph by the time I completed the course -- i.e., had I done that final downhill portion of the loop. But based on how I was feeling afterward, I can't say I'm confident that would have happened.

But the commitment has been made and the registration fee has been paid... and I will do my best teach myself to love hills (or at least think of them as welcome acquaintances) and accept that I'm going to be out on that course for a long time. It's all in the mind, right?

And to end on a high note, there is ONE positive thing I have gotten out of seeing the course on video - the scenery is SPECTACULAR. It might even make up for the fact that I won't be able to take any vacation time off from work to see the Grand Canyon while I'm in those parts.

Ironman St. George bike course

Monday, January 10, 2011

Of Mice and Men: Walt Disney World Marathon Race Report

The medal - yes I am aware that it is
covering my super cool Punk Rock Racing shirt
The name Walt Disney conjures up many thoughts to many people. Some are good. Some are bad. For me, Disney means animation. And Disney means Mickey Mouse - my favorite cartoon character.

I LOVE Mickey Mouse. Some might say I'm OBSESSED with Mickey Mouse. My poor husband Jim was the unfortunate witness to said obsession in 2009 when he took me to Disney World. I dragged the poor soul through three theme parks in search of the ultimate prize: my photo with Mickey Mouse dressed as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" from 1941's masterpiece "Fantasia." Not only did he have to facilitate my ultimate photo op, but he also had to put up with my nerve-wracking borderline-insane fanatical behavior. I suspect it was terribly embarrassing at the very least (Mickey's assistant was charged with the task of calming me down when Jim had had enough). The ONLY thing I DIDN'T do that day was cry.

The first time I met The Mouse.
No, I saved my best Mickey Mouse "cry" for yesterday.

Yesterday, I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon, a race I've wanted to run since the year it was created. But I never wanted to run it for the same reasons most people run marathons - the challenge, the sense of accomplishment, the performance, the course, etc. No, I ran it for one reason. The medal.

The medal has Mickey Mouse on it.

Getting into the Disney Marathon was almost an accident. Jim had a conference in Orlando the first week of January. I planned to fly down and spend the second weekend with him and meet up with my great (and generous) friend Kris who works at Animal Kingdom. I had not even considered running the marathon on Sunday, January 9, because it was undoubtedly sold out.

Or so I thought. An email from said otherwise. Upon finding out the race was 98% full, I signed up immediately. My friend Jess jumped on the bandwagon and entered too. After having to drop out of the Detroit Marathon with an injury, she decided that Disney was the next best place at which to become a marathoner. And what northerner could argue with going to Florida in January?

Only after registering did I realize the marathon was a mere five weeks away. Was I even ready to attempt a marathon? Time for a crash course in marathon training. In those five weeks, I ran three or four times per week, with a few 8- or 9-mile speed sessions on the treadmill and two long runs of 2:10 and 2:30. In addition, I had started building up swim yardage and bike mileage (on my trainer) for Ironman St. George in May.

Jim & me at Harry Potter "World"
at Universal Orlando
In terms of training and racing, I decided to treat the Disney Marathon as a hard long run. To force myself to take it less seriously, I only tapered my running for a week. Then, four days before, I did a (previously-scheduled) bike time trial on my CompuTrainer. I didn't even take it easy in the the two days leading up to the Marathon. On Friday, I did a swim workout at the hotel, then we visited Disney's Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, and on Saturday, we spent most of the day at Universal Studios (did you really think I'd miss the new Harry Potter ride?). All of the walking and (not so balmy) fresh air, along with two glasses of wine with dinner, took care of the one thing that usually plagues me before races: sleep.

I slept like a rock -- right up until the 2:00 a.m. alarm. The Disney Marathon starts at 5:30 a.m. Yes, I said 5:30.... A.M. Jim has probably still not forgiven me.

The Walt Disney World Marathon runs through the four Disney theme parks: Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. If you're planning on going just for the race, it's almost a logistical nightmare for spectators. To see your runner from somewhere other than the parking lot, you'll have to purchase park tickets. Families with "park hopper" tickets will make out best.

For us, the logistical nightmare actually began at check-in and packet pickup. I had to go on a wild [mouse] chase to track down my pre-purchased commemorative pin, the one with Mickey Mouse on it. Two buildings, an expo, several volunteers, and a help desk later -- followed by an incredulous outburst (by me) -- finally landed the pin in my hands. (That's the prepaid pin with Mickey Mouse on it that was supposed to be included with my number and chip when I checked in.)

Jess & me before the start
(our smiles give no indication how cold it was)
We arrived at the race start at Epcot early enough to avoid traffic and parking issues. Although, the second logistical nightmare came in the form of very bad driving directions in the race packet (judging by others making U-Turns, we weren't the only ones who made the mistake).

Then came the next logistics problem. Runners need to be at the starting line by 5 a.m. and spectators cannot accompany runners to the corrals. It was close to 40 degrees F and I was very glad Jim insisted on buying me a cheap throw-away paper shell at the expo. Even with gloves, my fingers were numb well before the start.

As we walked to the start, Jess and I laughed at the irony that they call the start line "corrals" because we felt like livestock being herded towards them. With over 17,000 participants, the start would be in waves. Luckily, my previous marathon performance landed me in the first wave.

Jim actually got a photo of the start fireworks.
(He missed the photo of the giant flame throwers!)
Disney does everything big, including the marathon start (and the size medium tech shirt that was so huge it comfortably fit my 6-foot 4-inch husband). Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy were on stage in track suits. The starting line had huge pillars of fire and fireworks.

And finally, in a flash (literally), we were off and running, or at least shuffling. It was still cold. And dark. In fact, we covered two theme parks before even a hint of sunlight appeared on the horizon.

After over a mile on the parking access road with quite a few spectators lining the course (where did THEY come from?), we entered Epcot. The entry and run through Epcot, despite its brevity, is nothing short of breathtaking. The crowd was very supportive and before I knew it, we were five miles into the race, and looping back on the start to see the final wave go off (with just as much fanfare and firepower as the first).

I can't say I was feeling great for those first several miles. My legs were fatigued but after a 7:33 first mile, I managed a 7-7:10 mile pace through mile 8 when, just like in Detroit, disaster was on the rise. I realized a portajohn stop would be necessary (but, unlike Detroit, not urgent).

Around mile 9, I heard Jim yell to me from a crowd on the sidelines. I saw him and waved. Then came the pitt-stop. I ducked into a portajohn right before the next water stop. Thankfully, unlike Detroit, my colon cooperated, and I made it out in record time - mile 10 in 7:45!

I was so busy trying to get back on pace, i almost didn't notice we entered the Magic Kingdom (it should have been obvious by the humongous white gloves of Mickey Mouse that someone was waving from an overpass). I looked up from my watch to see Cinderella's Castle all lit up right in front of me as we ran down "Main Street USA."

Cinderella's castle at night
(photo taken the day before)
The run through Magic Kingdom was truly THE magical part of the race. I felt like a kid again as we ran into Tomorrowland and past Space Mountain, then around the back of and THROUGH the castle and then through Frontierland -- with cheering crowds throughout the park. But it was over quick, and we were back on the access roads and spectator support dwindled once again, except for the occasional costumed characters, performers and marching bands (who were AWESOME but sparse). The most fun I had when the crowd thinned was watching the occasional runner in costume, for instance, a guy from Japan dressed as Minnie Mouse stopped to take a photo of each and every mile marker. I am NOT making this up. He was in front of me for a WHILE, which is how I know that.

After running through Magic Kingdom, I caught up to the 3:10 pace group. In retrospect, it may be the single most important thing that happened to my race. They were holding an almost dead-even 7:10 pace. My comfort level with the pace came and went, but I hung with them through the half (1:34), through Animal Kingdom -- which was entirely too brief -- and through Hollywood Studios.

Besides the theme parks and the AMAZING volunteers at the water stops (which might very well be the best I ever experienced in a marathon), some of the highlights of the course during my stint with the [self-declared "Boston bound"] 3:10 pace team were the following: two different performances of "Sweet Caroline," accompanied BY the men of the 3:10 pace team, an appearance of Captain Jack Sparrow ("look it's Johnny Depp... Damn! No it isn't"), Chip and Dale, a run through the movie costume production area, high fives from the Richard Petty Driving Experience, Ballou, King Louie, various faries, Phineas and Ferb, Donald, Goofy, and Minnie in safari digs. At one point, we were greeted by an overly peppy Peter Pan ("runners, go to your happy place!"). When I declared (out loud), "I'm gonna strangle that guy!" it drew a round of laughter from my fellow runners.

The finish (note I was just about to high-five Goofy & Donald).
At mile 23, I got cocky, picked up my pace (to 6:54) and shook off the 3:10 pace team. I chased town three women on my way past Disney Resorts and back through Epcot. But I soon became aware that I surged too early, and the 3:10 pace team was eventually back on my tail by the finish line.

Similar to Detroit but not as agonizing (or debilitating), the last three miles of the race were marked by a sharp stabbing pain in my left hip. It slowed me a bit (to 7:25s), but I ran hard right to the finish line to cross in just under 3:10 (official chip time 3:09:42, for 15th overall and first in my age group). When they put that big gold Mickey Mouse medal around my neck, I could only think of one thing to do. I cried.

Volunteers came up to me hugging me and congratulating me. I started to think I had missed the fact that people in Orlando were overly friendly and not respectful of my personal space. Then it hit me. By my behavior, they mistook me for a first-time marathon finisher -- which, I might add, Jess actually did become that day (read her race report). Little did they know I was no more than a sap. A sap who ADORES Mickey Mouse.

FINISHERS! (check out the medals on those chicks!)
Jess's smile was worth the trip.
The Ultimate Prize.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Toy

the spare-bedroom bike-training facility
I got a new toy for Christmas this year and I've been avoiding writing about it because at the moment, it stills scares the living daylights out of me. What is it? It's a RacerMate CompuTrainer. It was an extremely generous gift from my husband Jim, courtesy of a team discount from Bike Authority in Broadview Heights, OH. Like last year, I think Jim is tired of watching me sweat for hours on my trainer only to hear me cry over and over again about how I work so hard on the bike and get nothing out of it.

So this year, instead of books about how to train, his gift came with a "Performance Improvement Guarantee" -- I am NOT making this up. If I don't get faster, he gets his money back. That's what's so scary. As far as training tools go, improvement only happens if you use them properly. I know how to use a treadmill to run faster. I know how to use hand paddles to get stronger (and faster) in the water. But, a bike trainer is a bike trainer, right? If I haven't been able to figure out how to use a fluid resistance trainer to get faster on the bike (even with a heart rate monitor), how is this going to change? The answer appears to be the one detail missing from my bike training: power. I have no clue how much power I'm generating. This CompuTrainer thing is supposed to help with that. But HOW? Just knowing my power output isn't going to make me more powerful.

After two days of looking at the box, Jim and I - well, mostly Jim - spent time last Thursday setting up the bike on the CompuTrainer. We then hooked it up to the refurbished Dell PC he also bought me for Christmas (specifically to run the software) after I installed the software. The first thing you have do is calibrate the trainer. Oh great! More things to worry about. Luckily, you can do this as a warm up. And guess what, it's not hard at all!

But what else can I do with it? The anxiety starts...

You can do so much with the CompuTrainer, it boggles my mind. I worry I will never fully know how to digest, analyze, and use all the information. But that doesn't change the fact I now think it's one of the most awesome training tools I have. And that's good because I live in Cleveland, and I will probably spend most of my bike training for Ironman St. George indoors.

I already have one advantage. The CompuTrainer came with a free "Real Course Video" ... Jim chose (obviously) Ironman St. George. I can ride the course and the trainer will automatically adjust resistance based on terrain while showing you the exact video of the course -- not a 3-D rendering, mind you, but someone actually DROVE the course and videotaped it.

And yesterday, New Year's Day, that's exactly what I did -- I rode the virtual Ironman St. George bike course (while simutaneously watching the great Christmas classic "Die Hard" on my television).

I know there are a multitude of things I have to learn in order to use the CompuTrainer effectively. Right now my fear is based on the old cliche: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." It's overwhelming for my ancient brain to fathom -- I'm afraid there's too much to learn and not enough time to figure it out by May. But the bottom line is that I need to increase my power on the bike, and everyone says the way to do that is to: "get a CompuTrainer." Am I allowed to mention they're all a LOT younger than me?

If I put aside my anxiety for a moment, my starting impression of the CompuTrainer is that it IS one of the coolest, and most fun, gadgets I ever trained on. Hopefully it will do exactly what it is "guaranteed" to do. At the very least, I will be better prepared for Ironman St. George than those who have never seen the course before. I may even be tempted to buy the Ironman Lake Placid course just to relive the horror...  I mean for the beautiful scenery.

And, if anyone has favorite references on what they did or the best way to use the CompuTrainer for increasing power on the bike, please point me to them. I do know I will be doing a test this week to find my "FTP" (Functional Threshold Power). It all starts here.