Kelly the Culinarian: Baseline Bike Testing at Vision Quest Coaching

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Baseline Bike Testing at Vision Quest Coaching

Teresa working hard
Today I met up with Teresa, the director of Venus de Miles, for a training session at Vision Quest Coaching in Highland Park. I started working with her on the ride's blogger outreach program and she invited me to a baseline assessment session.

I didn't know what to expect - I've been to spin before, but never something with a CompuTrainer. And I've certainly never done any type of testing or metric for my cycling other than what I can see on my bike's computer.

This is what I imagine cycling on a spaceship would be like. Cutting edge, state of the art and fully integrated doesn't even start to describe this place.  It's situated in the back of an amazingly spacious and well-stocked Trek bike store. You enter through a massive hallway with members' bikes every which way. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I captioned this photo with "What and expensive hallway .... " It was fascinating because there were bikes will Ironman number bibs and all sorts of accessories that I've only seen on the Internet. Of course, I looked and did not touch. Those bikes are worth more than my car.

I got there incredibly early so I could pump up my tire, buy a skewer for the trainer and get set up. An employee helped me get my bike on to the trainer. Each trainer is hooked into a computer that's measuring Watts, power, cadence, miles, speed and who knows what else. I was there for baseline training, but they have all sorts of race courses programmed into the system so you can ride the course. Your trainer simulated the elevations you'll experience on the ride. I'd love to come back and preview the Racine 70.3 Ironman course another day.

Once everyone arrived, we all calibrated our bikes together and warmed up for 15 minutes. While we peddled, out data displayed on a screen with all the information about our output. Next, we cycled as hard as we could for 20 minutes. We were encouraged to watch the screens and try to increase our average Watts as the time went on. My lunch
was starting to let its presence be known by then.
We cooled down and recovered for 10 minutes, then did a full-out sprint test for four minutes. Again, it was nauseatingly hard, but that's the point. These tests were used to establish a baseline for training, in case we wanted to come back and work on improving our times through guided cycling classes. Since the computer now saved our max output, we could do a 12-week session designed to make us stronger cyclists, then retest to measure our progress. We each walked away with a detailed report about our athletic performace

It was such a cool experience and I wish I lived closer to this facility. It's more information than I've ever had about my cycling, and I'm sure that I could get stronger at this place. It's crystal-clear to me that my bike itself needs a few upgrades, too. Here's the plan of attack:

1. Get a tune up.
2. Buy cycle shoes.
3. Get properly fitted.
4. Peddle my heart out until I'm really fast.

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