One fact of cycling is that external conditions, particularly wind, but also road surface, tire pressure and tire wear, can have a huge effect on performance. I was finding it increasingly difficult to find motivation to train, when even using the exact same route, I really had no way to tell if I was improving from one month, or one year, to the next. CycleOps Power manufactures the most accurate, low-cost power options available. Besides cost they have another advantage over crank-based power meters, the CycleOps wheel can be moved easily from one bike to another. Since I’ve had the opportunity to train with a power meter I’ve learned that an LT test is no substitute for having access to a power meter. The short time frame of an LT test does not give a good representation of one’s heart rate as a function of power for longer training sessions. In my opinion, it would be better for most cyclists to save the money they might spend on testing to put towards a power meter. A power meter is also very helpful for pacing during intervals from 30 sec to 1-2 hours. At the short end of the range, 1 minute or less, one’s heart rate does not respond before the the interval ends. For longer intervals if one paces using heart rate, a graph of power of the interval would most likely show a spike at the start, stabilization after the target heart rate is reached, and gradual decrease in power over the duration of the interval. So pacing with power, intervals are easier at the start and harder at the end. So while I started using a power meter to give me a more accurate measure of performance, I’ve found that it also makes my training much more effective.
Smith Optics Sunglasses
Any sunglasses may be fine for an hour or two, but after 6, 12 or 24 hours differences become increasingly apparent. Smith Optics sunglasses are the most comfortable I’ve worn. My current favorites are the Redline Max and Pivlock V90. They’re both light and comfortable on my ears and lens changes are easy. My first pair of Redline Max came with lenses darker than I’d used in the past and it surprised me how much relief that gave my eyes.
Rollers are my choice for indoors riding. In late 2009 and early 2010, I did at least 95% of my on-bike training for Hill Country 600k on Kreitler’s 2.25″ Kompact Rollers. Admittedly, I haven’t spent much time on other brands. I’ve had a chance to try a few with plastic drums and various modes of resistance. None were as smooth as my Kreitlers and I didn’t last more than a few minutes. The 2.25″ Kreitler drum provides plenty of resistance for me without any add-ons. That makes them quieter and easier to travel with. If you need more resistance you can add the Killer Headwind attachment to any model or the Flywheel to any standard frame (non-Kompact) model. I’ve used both the Alloy and Challenger model drums and don’t notice a difference in those. Kreitler models with larger drums seem a little smoother, but don’t provide as much resistance.