At the end of October a customer who I had sold a road bike to came in looking for a trainer. It was a Saturday and we were dead. The manager said “Bob, go sell that guy a trainer.” and I calmly said “No. I’m going to sell him some rollers.”
Rollers are a hard sell, because they require work and focus. It’s easy to lock a bike into a trainer and hammer yourself stupid, but “rollers will make you a better rider” as I told the customer. They do that because they are “hard” to ride.
I bought mine a two years ago, a christmas present to myself. I had heard stories about how they would improve my spin and help me hold a line, and I needed the be better at the later, but I had also heard horror stories. I remember reading that Wiggins once crashed on his, and thinking If a trackie can crash on them then I’m fucked. I went along and got on them anyways.
My first ride on them was a twenty minute TT test. Not exactly dipping your toes in the water, but I didn’t crash and infact I’ve only ever had one near miss, and that was after some fifty-seven minutes of threshold intervals. Still, I can’t do any fancy tricks.
Sunday I got on my set for real for the first time since last March. I had been on them only twice since then, but only for a few moments as I attempted to make a sale. I didn’t pitch over, but the ninety minutes I spent trying to pedal circles were less than smooth.
My spin was jerky, and so the ride was jerky. Trusting my skill, real or imagined, I reached into my jersey pocket and tried to take a picture. I didn’t veer too far from my line, but my attempted photo shoot was worse than those shaky cam faux documentaries. I immediately felt ashamed. I immediately felt bad for anyone who has ridden behind me as I’ve rifled through my jersey pockets.
Once this realization settled on top of my square spin I decided it was best to skip the intervals I was going to do in order to make up for the shorter indoor ride and instead work on roller skills. So I spent time riding with one hand, switching between left on the top, right on the top and both hands in the drops for ten minutes (gotta shore up that core) and yes, working on steady pressure through my whole pedal stroke.
There are other things I could be doing, so I won’t practice cooking an omelet, or passing old tubulars over my body. I will continue to work on pedaling one handed and no handed and anything else that’s going to smooth out that spin.