Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blue Steel Triathlon Club - Bicycle Indoor Time Trials

What do New Hampshire outdoor enthusiasts do on a cold blustery day in March? We ride our bikes indoors! On Sunday March 27th in Milley’s Tavern alongside the roaring Merrimack River in Manchester, the Blue Steel Tri Club coordinated a 10K indoor course race using dynamic bicycle trainers that allows athletes to ride their own bike while pedaling a challenging course simulated with an interactive computer interface.

Sound easy? Nope!  Riding your bike up steep hills mixed with going all-out on flat raceways, has you shifting constantly to maintain your cadence and watts.

Fast Splits provided the Computrainers, computer software, hardware and peripherals (interface meters between the computer and the rider’s trainer).

This was my first simulated bicycle time trail, and I did not know what to expect. Frankly, given the cold weather of our New Hampshire spring, I had only been outside riding twice along with one indoor spinning session three days before the race.

Let’s enter the room where the race time trial takes place.  There is a computer control station centered in back of eight trainers. In front of the trainers is a 5x6 computer screen image (below) with the name of each of the eight riders, and race specific information for each rider to see their race position and effort: how far behind/ahead of the others; distance traveled; time into the race; speed; watts (calculated by rider/bike weight, velocity in mph, amongst other variables.) (

We had sixty-four men and women cyclists ranging in age to 70 years young.

A race like this cannot exist with just athletes. Three behind the scene people made this event happen. Jeff Litchfield and Mike Bradford of Blue Steel Tri Club organized the event and worked throughout the day handling issues to make sure things went smoothly. Johnny from Blue Steel Cyclery, our Gold Sponsor, helped athletes set up their bikes, tweak air pressure, insert skewers, and other maintenance items as requested by the athletes.

The selected interviews in the below video go beyond asking the traditional, “How did you feel while racing?” Instead I, as a fellow competitor, wanted to hear and learn - “What parameters from the race screen were important to you during the race?” Many of the responses are humorous as they show the competitiveness of friendly rivals.

Want to see the results of the Bikes and Beers Time Trial?  To see all the day's videos and pictures click here.

Steve’s latest book, Outdoor Enthusiast: Never say, “I wish I had…” is now available both in hard copy ( and in e-Book (Kindle and Nook).