Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bending Crank Arms

I had no idea what crank arms were either so don't feel bad.

I asked Doug and got a physics lesson in cycling. And levers. Not to mention speed, leg length, tricycles and the proper definition of a 'crank'.

Crank arms are these things:

The levers that your bike pedals attach to. 

Who knew!?

Anyway, on Monday night, it was freezing cold and raining out. So, I decided that I would attach my bike to my trainer (which I haven't used all winter) and get my legs back into cycling shape. After all, I will be doing triathlons this summer and that means that I have three sports to get better at.

Our house is a very lovely little house, if I do say so myself. It suits the two of us and our lifestyle very well. One of the most interesting (notice I didn't say 'lovely') features of our house is the basement. Our basement is what you would call 'unfinished'. It has stone walls - the old-fashioned kind that feel sort of tomblike the further back in the basement you go. It has low ceilings, made even lower by hanging pipes and ducts and things. It has, no joke, about 10,000 spiders. You can access it from outside but you can also pull up a trap door in the living room closet and climb down a ladder to get to it. It feels very Wizard of Oz-ish and I think we would be very safe down there were a tornado to hit the Niagara Region.

Our bikes get stored in said basement.

Last winter, we had spinning classes at our running store so we would drag our bikes and trainers there every Sunday. This year, they didn't happen and I was too busy swimming to worry much about it so Sundays became the day of rest.

This was my first real workout on my bike since October, my first time on the trainer since last April and the first time on my bike on the trainer in the basement...ever.

It was, how shall I put it?


Doug had set up the laptop on the work bench and I chose the Spinervals workout video called 'Bending Crank Arms". This particular video is designed to build leg strength - although I would argue that there is no human out there with enough strength to actually bend their crank arms so, technically, it's false advertising.

People say that running helps your cycling and cycling helps your running. And the only way to get better at swimming is to swim.

Well, I don't know who these people are but I'd like to have a little chat with them. See, I chose 'Bending Crank Arms' because I have been doing so well at running that I figured I must be a better cyclist by default.  (yes, yes, I realize that I haven't been on a bike since last October).

Down the trap door I went in my shorts and t-shirt. "It's freezing down here!". I debated putting on my helmet to prevent the spiders from landing directly on my head but figured I'd feel more ridiculous wearing a helmet on a stationary bike than I would if I freaked out because a huge spider fell on my head. So, freezing cold and bare-headed, I climbed on the bike - careful not to knock my head on the ducts.

I was dripping wet by the end of the 'easy warm up'. I had droplets of sweat running down my glasses and off the tip of my nose within fifteen minutes. Coach Troy kept yelling at me to 'push HARD!!" and "keep it up - only three more minutes to go'. I could hardly catch my breath before the 30 second rest periods were over and he had us trying to bend the goddamn crank arms again. And technically I didn't even do the full workout - I didn't stand up on my pedals during the sprinting parts because the ceiling was too low for me to do that.

I think the worst moment was after I got off the bike, hung it back up and put the trainer away. I stood at the bottom of the ladder and looked up. Does climbing a ladder with trembling, post-cycling legs count as brick training? Cause man that was harder than it should have been.


  1. Hahaha! Welcome back to cycling, mon amie.

    p.s. - Whoever owns the bike in the picture is not to be trusted. It's too shiny and clean.

  2. It's not easy getting back on the bike after so long!
    Remind me to never EVER under any circumstances go down into your basement. I would pee my pants (no joke). Even just reading this gave me the willies.
    So crank arm, what other terms can we confuse you with? :)