Archive for the ‘Turbo’ Category

Another new course starting with a climb, this time around, it was only ten minutes which was something of a relief. My legs were a little tired from the other sessions in the week but soon warmed to the task. There was a lot of simulated singletrack on this course with short and (very) steep climbs being the order of the day. To be honest, this is where the juxtaposition of an old brake unit with new software fails – the brake unit just can’t ramp up the effort required to simulate super steep sections, it compromises by making progress very slow. Anyway, a bit of twisting and turning, a whole heap of road based descent and the finish was mainly another big (10 minute) road climb to the end.

Average HR 152.07,

Average speed 29.24 kmph.

Average power 218.37 Watts

410 metres for the biggest climb.

Ride duration 29 minutes

I have always been sceptical about the watts and the speed so I usually work on HR and how I feel at the end. On this basis, HR was high-ish and I know I had worked hard but at the end I felt better than at the start of the week. A good course then but not as brutal as some of the others I have ridden in the last few days.


Tacx Extreme MTB – a new course

Posted: March 2, 2011 in 2011, Turbo

Last night I had a bash at one of the custom courses on the Extreme MTB disk.

What is it about this disk that someone thinks mountain bikers want to start a ride riding up the longest, steepest hills possible? Yes, another climb, apart from a couple of sections where it tipped down for a minute, it was about half an hour going up. It was nothing too tough, just a steady slog up a series of never ending switch backs. When I finally hit the top there was a lovely long downhill punctuated by a horrible, short and sharp climb in the middle. Never mind, it was straight into a lovely downhill that just kept on going. The trouble was, I could see the route profile on the screen in front of me and I couldn’t help but notice the nasty kick at the end.

I had ridden within myself all the way (my standard practice on a new course – you never know what is round the corner) and felt I was well prepared for the final ascent. Steady at  the bottom, I had selected my gear to ride to the top with, not too big and not too spinny. Hmm, this climb just got worse as the gradient increased and it just seemed to go on and on, up and up with no relief. By now I was watching the distance left clocking down slowly…. too slowly. The last mile and I was is sight of the summit but it kicked again and 0.4 out from the finish and I broke, selecting an easier gear for the ride to the finish. A minute or so later and I popped out onto the road and saw the finishing kite so I made an extra effort and went for it only to be sent out on the MX course I had ridden a day or so ago. The finishing straight was however, up the steepest part of that course and I was so glad when it was all over.

It had taken me about 52 minutes and I was pooped, well and truly. Wobbly legs but a feeling of satisfaction.

My exploration of this software continued with a session on the Motocross course. A short session (nothing like the 30 minutes taken by the “opponent” that comes loaded) I treated this one as a quality session to develop speed and strength.

The course comes complete with doubles, moguls, what looked like the odd triple and plenty of jumps. On my version of the Tacx hardware (green controller) the point of getting air was irrelevant and the moguls are a nice touch but if you can’t pump the bike through them they are little more than an annoyance. I suppose they did up the work rate but reviewing the data later it did not have any effect on my HR so it was of questionable value. The ride however was tough, the whole way round, and if you pushed it, it was enough to give you a pretty good workout – my legs were a bit wobbly at the end but that could be because I pushed a big gear throughout and made sure I didn’t use the cheat technique to get you over the lumps and bumps more easily.

The video was…. how can I put this nicely? OK it was brown, just as you’d expect a MX course to be. I like to use the scenery as a distraction as a rule, there isn’t always much to see but at least there’s stuff moving by. This time, I found the top tube and the patterns created by splashes of sweat (make that torrents of sweat) more interesting.

As a quality session this was a success; as a visual spectacle it was a disaster. I will ride this one again because it is tough and there’s little point in riding the turbo if you don’t work hard. I want to have a look at some of the pre loaded, shorter courses and maybe stitch a few together to make a long programme. I will also have a look at the virtual cycling site to see if I can download any custom courses (invariably harder and more fun than the pre loaded stuff). I may also have to dig out and dust off my steering frame and do some proper exploring to see what else is hidden away in this new terrain.

Tacx – Extreme MTB

Posted: February 26, 2011 in 2011, Turbo
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I loaded the expansion pack today. The loading was quick and straightforward. The first time I selected a ride the screen went black and seemed to freeze but I navigated back a couple of screens using the control on the bars.

The ride I selected was “The Dam Ride”, a simulated 11.1 mile course. To start you kick off with a long road section, easy enough for the first few yards then a long slog uphill. It took me about 12 minutes 30 seconds to crest the climb and it was followed by a long downhill blast – still on the road. All too soon it is over and you head off road onto an innocuous section leading to a tunnel. Don’t be fooled though, this is tough and it carries on being tough until you exit the tunnel. It is a constant progression of tough, easy, tough, easy with a bit of tough thrown in for extra fun. My heart rate got quite high here and only really stopped when I popped back out onto the road. This was followed by another climb and so it went on until a few yarsds before the end.

A 30 minute session then, seemingly not too bad but once I had finished I realised how hard I had worked. My legs felt tired and I was dripping with sweat – just as if someone had emptied a bottle of water on me.

I’ll have a look at the other rides over the next week or so but so far it looks very promising indeed.


Posted: February 24, 2011 in 2011, Turbo

Well it looks like a trip back to turbo land is on the cards tonight. I have got a new software expansion pack “MTB Extreme” to load and try out so that should keep me busy for a while. I think some people have had trouble loading this so I’ll have to see what transpires. Time is against me today or I’d have packed up my desk and headed out into the sun. Talk about enticing… I am looking out on green fields, a blue sky and the sun and all I want to do is get out! I am resigned to the turbo for today though, let’s see how it goes.

I’ll aim to pack up today at about half four so I can get the pain over and done with by dinner time.

EDIT: Well I managed an hour of hell averaging 151 bpm. I tried to push a bigger gear up the hills this time and concentrated on pressing the pedals more firmly (to gain strength) than spinning up in a smaller gear. Did it hurt? Hell yeah! Towards the end even the little climbs were killing me and once or twice I didn’t have the strength to push on after I had crested the top. Luckily this didn’t last long and the very end of the ride saw me back into familiar territory….. time trial mode. I haven’t time trialled seriously for years now but the technique stays with you.