Step into Bryan Taylor's Pain Cave
Verve Cycling’s President, Bryan Taylor, has four key elements to his pain cave. And to him, the fourth represents the true joy of indoor cycling.
I was asked to share with you a little about my pain cave and my training here in our EU HQ in the Alps.
To put it into perspective, I am now on the way to retirement age, if there is such a thing, and I actually stopped real bike racing some years ago and even had my last official Gran Fondo at the Marmotte a few years ago.
But a lifetime of training does not let up on you and even though I have no racing or Gran Fondo objectives, I still train. It may sound funny, but I enjoy training and that gives me enjoyment on the bike even if I am not racing.
So, a step into the pain cave…
I never really had a pain cave before, because I love riding the bike and the idea of riding indoors just never really worked for me. When Zwift started, it was good for me, because I was just about done with the hard winters here in the Alps. But it didn’t last long. No matter what they did, it did not inspire me.
But the Corona virus made decisions quite easy. Either start to enjoy riding indoors or just get fat and lazy. Problem was that there was not any sport on TV either, so in reality the choice was easy.
So, back to the pain cave. First thing, it is here to stay. It is now set up for any rainy day, any day when I just don’t have time to go outdoors or – and this is important – when I have specific exercises to do. So you can see a number of machines in here, but all are set up differently.
From the left is the rowing machine. Cyclists often miss the work on the upper body during the long winters and for those of you in South Africa or Australia, when you are not climbing mountains. It is important to keep the whole body in action. So the rowing machine is just there for variation. I could use it for much more, however I am not motivated – but I would not give it away either, the value of a rowing machine is fantastic.
Next is one of my prized and most valuable bikes. The Cervélo S5. The problem is that I bought it with DuraAce when the 10 sprocket was king. Well, you have to love the bike manufacturers, they changed to 11 and even the DuraAce and the wheels could not step up to the change. So my favourite bike at the time became obsolete in a flash. Well, not quite!
This might be the most important indoor bike of the lot. I have set it up with a VINC Pro data logger and locked it down so the cranks cannot turn. Of course, it has InfoCrank with the latest firmware that allows me to record everything that happens on that bike. I use it for isometric testing and for my strength exercises.
Suffice to say for all of you who are aging at the same rate as me – the thing that goes first is strength. You need to put some effort into this. How do you do this without going to the gym? Well the secret is isometric work on the bike with an InfoCrank and data logger. The evidence is in the scientific papers and also in the fact that I hit my record power numbers for the last five years in all periods from 10 seconds to 40 seconds. And just one watt from my five year best in 60 seconds.
Verve Puncheur 0.1
The next bike is the duplicate of my road bike. It actually is my prototype frame, but I am planning (when I get round to it) to change it to a very good alloy frame. However, the geometry is the same as what I ride on the road. This is the bike that I use for Zwift. YouTube videos play as I race or ride on Zwift. Generally, I do not ride on Zwift above my threshold except for short periods, but use it as a medium to keep my brain occupied while doing the indoors stuff.
I ride in C grade for most races – that is between 2.5 to 3.1 wkg. For nearly all races, I start at fast pace, but quickly find myself a group where the pace is averaging 2.6 to 8wkg and then just enjoy the game. This is high endurance pace for me, but not really hard. I have done some races hard, but winning is not the key – just good solid training without falling asleep on the trainer. In the races, you have to concentrate on following the wheel, because the Zwift game is tilted to aero not strength. Lose the wheel and you have a problem. Same in real life but different, as they say.
My wife’s bike!
The next bike is my wife’s. Now this is the joy of indoor riding for me. My wife has had a knee replacement and so is no where near as fit as me. But we can ride shoulder to shoulder for an hour. I am doing my Zwift race and she is doing a Sufferfest programme. I can urge her on during her interval and she can count me down as the final sprint occurs. Now that doesn’t happen on the road.
Lots of things have changed in the world in 2020 – thinking of the pain cave as part of my life is one of the things that changed for me.