Saturday, June 02, 2018

Virtually Knackered

So after a short tester yesterday I tried a more complete test of my new Kickr 'toy'. I signed up for the Bkool premium trial so I could ride 'a real world route'. I then searched for something in the Brecon Beacons area and found what I thought would be a nice introductory 25k starting just beyond Crickhowell, going through Cwmdu, over the top to Llangorse and finishing in Bwlch. It was rated easy so I thought it would be perfect. I configured a few virtual adversaries to make things more interesting. There are loads of other options like setting real world weather simulation including wind resistance but I left that off for this first attempt and then started

The ride itself felt very realistic in a 'sat on a static bike, in the gym' kind of way. As the route unfolded the resistance of the Kickr responded in kind and I was up and down the gears like violist - I don't even know what that means.

The virtual adversaries added an extra dimension. I started off in last place before hauling myself up to second place before finally being knocked back to third. The virtual riders seemed to adapt to my level and are there to keep you pushing - they certainly pushed me on the final climb. I couldn't hold second but I had a nice lead back to fourth but they were closing in fast. My legs had had it but seeing their 'blip' on the radar narrowing the gap forced me to push through it. There were literally pools of sweat all around me when I finished. I was dripping almost at a constant flow, like someone was pouring water over me - they weren't, I checked! (Definitely going to need to get a mat).

I am an awful long way from fit but I think this kit could really help. At the steepest section the resistance switched to 14% and I was practically stopped. It was so hard work against the resistance of the Kickr that my off the saddle full body weight could hardly move the pedals round. Had I been on a real ride I would have fallen over as I wouldn't have had enough forward momentum - and then I'd have never got restarted.

I think the Bkool software could be pretty addictive. There looks to be plenty of local routes available to ride. My time in the saddle today was and hour and ten but the time just flew by. Didn't feel anything like that long. I've a month to try out all the features before making a decision on signing up but just from the initial foray I think it's likely. Eventually I might even have the fitness to ride in the real world without the risk of falling off! And I'm going to do just that and set myself the target of getting myself fit enough to ride in the real world the routes I'll be riding in the virtual one.

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