Tuesday, February 22, 2011

e-Motion Rollers

Why e-Motion Rollers?

If one were to look at the price of the e-Motion roller they may ask why I am nuts to spend so much, but once I saw some very valid reasons and the very good comments from multitudes of reviews the value was reasonable to what I hope will become a key part of my cycling training. (Update 3/9/2011: now that I have owned and used the rollers for a couple of weeks I am still very happy with the purchase.)
  • I needed to raise my training volume (time at level) above what I could tolerate on the trainer
  • I needed to switch from my favorite place I use the 2 x 60 minute intervals for safety reasons
  • I needed to reduce my drive time to safe cycling locations
  • I wanted something that I could maintain a constant stress load without interuptions like traffic

I was looking for a way to increase my CTL(Chronic Training Load) and weekly TSS (Training Stress Score) and though the my weekly training schedule included the typical 2x20 intervals at Level 4, I felt as if I needed at least one more day or two with a higher volume at Level 3 to help pull up those numbers. Also I noticed that on bad weather days that interrupt my longer training times out on the road my CTL plummets and if there are a few weekends of bad weather it really begins to drop in WKO+. When it drops so does my actual performance out on the road. I wanted to get something that I could tolerate for longer indoor training sessions and I cannot seem to tolerate my Kurt Kinetic trainer for longer sessions exceeding sixty minutes. I will still use the fluid trainer for the higher intensity sessions, but I intend to use the rollers for the longer sessions.

Another reason that I considered the rollers was due to my favorite place for the 2 x 60 minute sessions on Sunday was becoming unsafe. It is a popular fitness and recreational Rails to Trails path that draws walkers, joggers, roller blading, families with small children and all sorts of other distractions. I liked the pathway because it is so flat and continous unlike the rolling terrain for our group rides. By being flat is equivalent to training on the trainer except time seems to pass quickly and I can keep constant torque on the pedals that I find very difficult if I am on rolling terrain. As my fitness improves my speed had to increase in order for me to get into the prescribed training zones. I now have to travel at speeds exceeding 20 mph in order to stay in those zones, which I was finding the situation becoming risky to those enjoying recreation on the path. It is too unsafe for them and for me as I would have to manuever around people at high speeds and with people, kids and dogs it is unpredictable as to what they will do. I felt that perhaps I would be able to now move the 2 x 60 session indoors to the e-Motion rollers. Only time will tell if this pans out, but if so I will be able to perform the entire training session at a higher power output with no interruptions at all. (Update 3/9/2011: my data in WKO+ is now improving again as my CTL is back to an upward trend due to being able to train at longer periods on the rollers. I use a combination of the trainer and rollers to achieve my weekday goals. On Sunday I will use the rollers exclusively.)

The last reason is based on driving and gas cost. For me to get to a safe cycling place I need to drive a minimum of 30 minutes one way and that can become very tiresome on some days. Plus there was the cost of the gas and that gets expensive with my gas guzzling truck.

First Impressions

I first heard about the rollers when a friend out west and someone who has been key to my training mentioned having them so I started researching the rollers on the internet and no matter where I looked the reviews were all so extremely positive. I did a lot of searching and I cannot remember seeing any negative comments except maybe the cost. Many of the reviewers had the same intention that I describe above and many stated how they could not tolerate sitting on the trainer for extended periods.

I told my wife about the rollers and she watched a couple of Youtube videos that helped sell the potential value of the purchase. She gave me the blessing to make the order.

Yesterday I received the package at work since it is required that you be available to sign for the package. It was shipped FedEx ground and took about a week from the west coast to Atlanta. It is very nice to buy a product that is not shipped in a thousand parts and it takes a day of assembly. All you have to do is pull a number of staples from the box and the rollers are just about ready to use.

The second step is align the front wheel hub with the front roller and this is also a very nice system. It has a rack and pinion system that will adjust forward and backward with turning knobs on either side. I used a plumb bob to check the alignment.

The third step was to give it a try. The video above is literally the first time using just after the setup and I have no previous roller experience. My friend out west gave me some good instructions on how to get started. I was going to use a doorway to help my balance, but I did not have a convenient doorway threshold that was flat. I went ahead and setup the roller in the designated spot and used my wife's recumbent bike to help balance and get started. I also decided to just try my running shoes instead of being clipped in just to get the initial feel and some confidence.

 As shown in the video it just took a couple of minutes to get the hang of it. A quick test with the power meter and I noticed I can easily go into the prescribed training zone without adding extra resistance. With it set at 0, the lowest setting, I was able to get it up to 240 watts without really pushing hard and I was also not on the 11 cog so I have plenty of room to grow without even adding resistance. I can only imagine what the next two levels of resistance will feel like and I can certainly see why people are able to sprint on these rollers. At 240 watts the sound will increase, but the rollers are still a little quieter than the trainer. Riding at Tempo the noise level is much quieter.

Tonight I will begin using the rollers and I imagine the first several sessions will be a little lower output as I get more accustomed to balance and use of the rollers, but just within a few minutes I could see why these rollers get so high a review from users. The best review will come if in a few months and over the years my cycling fitness improves because I was able to use the rollers to increase my training time. (Update 3/9/2011: with some training time and confidence building as I log more hours on the trainer my ability to hold a higher power output is also increasing. Another postive thing that I notice since using the rollers is that my time on the trainer is also improving.)

No comments: