Special Delivery: Computrainer on the way…

June 20, 2008 at 8:50 am Leave a comment

So I hinted in a recent post that I might end up buying a Computrainer again and the prognostication has come to fruition.  I recently ordered another Computrainer and will have it early next week.  So the question one might be asking is, “WHY?”  After all, I sang the praises of the advantages of the Powertap in this post and have since loved training with it both indoors and outdoors.  

The answer to that question comes down to a couple of factors:

First, the actual replacement cost for me was only about $100 since I was able to sell my old one for just under $1500 and my replacement, with shipping, only cost me about $1575 with shipping.

Second, (the real reason) my current trainer was just not cutting it anymore.  I’m not sure what was going on with it, but it would have spouts where the rolling resistance felt almost like nothing at all and others where it felt like I was going into a 20 mph headwind.  I’m a little upset since I spent about $300 on this trainer when I got it (before my first Computrainer) and now it’s crapping out on me a little more than a year later.  

Third, some points that are relevant to everyone (i.e. the benefits of the computrainer over a standard trainer even with power)

  • Ability to construct courses.  I love Joe Friel’s book, but I’ll be damned if I can find a long, slow gradual hill with no more than a 2% grade which takes me 6-12 minutes to climb in San Diego so that I can do hill cruise intervals.  I’m sorry…I’ve looked…it doesn’t exist.  Hell, for that matter, finding a road that goes more than 5K without a stoplights or stop signs is a challenge.  The Computrainer’s ability to construct courses will allow me to set up some of these workouts that I’ve been wanting to do from the comfort of my home.
  • Spinscan.  One of the easiest ways to increase your average power output is to increase your efficiency on the bike.  Mine needs some tuning so I’ll be utilizing Spinscan like a madman.
  • Course Simulation.  So you have that out-of-town triathlon coming up three months from now and you’re curious about the hills, etc?  Well if you have the right software (i.e. TopoUSA Racermate Edition) you’ll be able create that course and race on it as many times as you want prior to your event from the comfort of your home.
  • Efficiency of time and workouts.  This one is big for me.  Currently I have more free time to get outside and ride than the average person but starting in a few months, this goes away for good.  Having the ability to get in a solid workout any time of the day and have every minute be spent efficiently is huge.  Additionally, even when I can make it outside, how productive is a ride when you’re constantly being stopped at stoplights, have to slow up for traffic, etc.?  A recent ride on Wednesday on a route that looked great in theory (good distance, good climb, etc) turned into a veritable nightmare on the road (horrible road conditions, worse-than-expected traffic, tons of stoplights, construction, etc.)  This experience pushed me over the edge.  
All of these are the reasons that led me back to the Computrainer.  The device still isn’t perfect.  In fact, it’s far from.  Still too many wires (for my taste) and the TopoUSA software hasn’t been updated since 2005 so often times you may find certain roads either do or do not currently exist (e.g. the most current edition shows a grid of streets across the street from my house where currently the only thing standing there is Petco Park).  
Once I start to get some good training in on it, I’ll post feedback of the ways I’ve used it and any results I’ve seen. 
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