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Fitter Not Fatter

Hello, Wahooligans! 

My name is Kevin Batchelor, and I am a 34-year-old, passionate cycling enthusiast. I do not race bikes, but I usually ride 4,000-5,000 miles each year. I live and Boulder, CO, where it is not at all uncommon to find oneself in the midst of a threshold crisis, while a seemingly sweet grandmother happily cycles past, pulling her groceries and grandchild in a trailer. It Is December 2016, and I can still see that third helping of Thanksgiving dinner staring at me in the mirror. 

It is time to take some action. 

When I decided to start my winter training journey, my goals were pretty simple. Having grown increasingly tired of the colder months meaning the same thing year after year, all of the miles I had put in during the warmer seasons becoming a distant memory and leaving me on the other side of winter, fatter and slower, it was time for a new approach. As someone who has never really “trained” before, I did not have much in the way of specific fitness goals, other than to break those bad winter riding habits.

Originally the plan was to jump right out of Summer/Early fall fitness (who am I kidding, I did not really leave the fall with any real fitness) and jump into base training. However, on the eve of my first training week, an unexpected run-in with a Lexus SUV threw me hard to the pavement and onto a different path. Training with serious contusions on your left leg and a few cracked ribs change things. Undeterred by the setback and with the new reality firmly in my mind, I realized I would be starting back at square one. In retrospect, this is where I should have planned to start anyway. 

Here we go…

I fired up the KICKR for the first time, got all of the sensors connected, downloaded the companion apps, performed the calibration, and I was ready to go! The folks from TrainerRoad got me dialed in with a training plan that met my needs. Sweet Spot Base/High Volume is where we decided to start. While I do not recommend performing an FTP test with cracked ribs, it certainly was illuminating. Now that I had established my starting point, the journey had begun! 

With a couple of weeks behind me and one stronger than normal ride on the road, I quickly realized how powerful this tool could be. Not only would I be combating the dreaded winter chub, but I might also actually see myself hitting spring with more fitness than I have ever had! I needed a new goal. The first thing that came to my mind is something that takes place on one of Boulder’s most iconic climbs…Super Flagstaff.

I have climbed it dozens of times in the five years that I have lived in the area, but this particular goal had been well out of my grasp. I could always talk myself out of it by saying things like, “well, I do not really train” or “I do not really ride to be fast.” However, the truth is, I have looked at the number more times than I care to admit. That number is 30:00 or more accurately, 29:59. Under thirty minutes is somewhat of a benchmark for the locals. An unspoken initiation into the, faster than average club. I know it sounds silly, trying to hit a number that is more than 6 minutes off the Strava KOM, but you have to remember, I am just an ordinary Joe and the names that go much faster than 30 minutes are usually paid to ride their bikes. More on the 29:59 goal later, but for now, I am up to my sweaty eyes in base training, and I cannot wait to see where I will land when Spring comes!

Why Wahoo KICKR? This one is simple to answer. If you have ever spent any time with a traditional indoor trainer, you know it is about as close to having a door to your own private, boring, sweat-drenched hell, as it gets. Sure, the sweat is still a very real part of your indoor cycling life, but EVERYTHING else about the KICKR is better. No more worn out tires. No more absurdly loud whirring sounds. No more unrealistic feel. The super simple connectivity with apps like TrainerRoad and Zwift took all of the guess work out of how to structure my training and allows me to focus on getting the work done.

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