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Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Faux Miles a Day

That's my training program. Faux miles. Just like last winter and the winter before that, riding a trainer in the basement. But ride I must, if I hope to be able to make it through the Southern Italy tour (a REAL ride) that is now just a bit more than a month away.

As revealed in my last post, the faux miles I am riding now are more of a challenge and I get to see so much more than the selection of NCAA basketball games and Law and Order reruns that I have used as distractions to the dullness of stationary riding, oxymoron that it is.

The trainer is in touch with the the iFit Live web site and that, my friends, has opened up a new world of basement-bound bicycling. Today I was able to start of with one of my old standby rides, a trip up Bliss Road followed by a drop down County FO so that I could climb County OA and return home. I plotted the route using Google Maps and saved it as a training ride in my account. When I started pedaling, my iPad, which is sitting on the trainer, lit up, showing me the Google Street View as I rode through the neighborhoods between here and the start of the Bliss climb. Just up the climb, I found that there was no street view option, so I watched myself from the bird's eye view provided. When I reached Highway 33, the street view tok over again. Here is what the setup looked like at that point:

"Riding" along highway 33 east of La Crosse.

As I follow the route, the trainer increases and decreases the resistance automatically to simulate the climbs and descents and further adjusts when I change gears. It's about as much of a real ride simulation as I might expect for a bike that goes nowhere.

There is the added benefit of being totally unrealistic in allowing ride routes. After I finished the Bliss, OA ride, I popped over to Switzerland and climbed Grimsel Pass from Gletsch to the top. Alas, there was no street view, but it was a good climb. Here is the view from the saddle:

Going up Grimsel Pass.

Here's what the pass really looks like:

I have done this ride in real life. I think it was harder and the view was a lot better when I was really there on my Trek. Still, it was a good top-off to the day's workout. Tomorrow I plan to ride a couple of segments (not full stages) from the Tour de France, these being provided in a workout planned by Jillian Michaels, so I am informed by the iFit website. I am not aware of her having any any Tour de France experience, but the segments do follow routes where Street View is available and that's good enough for me. Then, to finish off the ride, I plan to swing over to Italy to climb Stelvio pass; I've already checked the route I mapped and I should be able to see the road and surroundings on my iPad as I climb.

Riding that provides a workout is what I am after, of course. But, with all of this continent hopping, I can also feel the faux flyer miles building up. Win, win, so it seems.

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