Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Three Questions about the ElliptiGO

First off, my weekly mileage. This was a lighter week, due to two missed days, but I continue to thoroughly enjoy every ride I have on the ElliptiGO. I also met a fellow ElliptiGO rider this week. While finishing up a ride on the Nashua River Rail Trail, I couldn't believe what I saw coming at me. Another ElliptiGO. No way! We stopped and talked a bit. He probably lives about 3 miles from me and has seen me riding around. He said he usually rides about 5 miles to Pepperell and then returns to Nashua to give the "GO" to his wife who has been walking and then she rides it. After we talked a bit, I headed home on the rail trail and I told him I would look for his wife to say, "Hello." Then I realized that we had the same green color ElliptiGOs and I was worried that she might think I had jumped her husband and stolen his ElliptiGO. I found her, but she wasn't nervous! They had a 3 speed bike and mine is an 8 speeder with different handlebars. She recognized that, I think. We couldn't talk much as she said she was learning English, but I was thrilled that there are other ElliptiGO riders right here in Nashua!

Weekly ElliptiGO mileage July 22-28:
Monday: 0 miles
Tuesday: 24 miles
Wednesday: 31 miles
Thursday: 31 miles
Friday: 31 miles
Saturday: 30 miles
Sunday: 0 miles
Total miles: 147 miles
Total ElliptiGO miles: 847 miles in 37 days

The Mont Vernon General Store. Time for some Gatorade.
Today I headed for the biggest hill I could think of within riding distance as I have been all over the hills in and around Hollis so I headed out for a destination ride to the town of Mt. Vernon which is on top of a large hill. The ElliptiGO makes you climb like a mountain goat and I felt better during and after the ride than I used to do when I cycled this 43 mile route a few times over 10 years ago. There were storm clouds brewing all around, but somehow I missed the rain and lightning. I did hear some thunder in the distance.

A view on the way down from Mont Vernon. A sign on the way up said
that the elevation was 829 feet. 

Well, I broke two rules right in a row along route 122. I stopped and
the only way you can ride an ElliptiGO is by standing. There is no seat!

Three Quick Questions about the ElliptiGO
Question One:
How fast do you go on the ElliptiGO?
I haven't been able to hook up my old Garmin GPS to my computer. I have to find the cord. This week when riding a 30 mile route through hilly Pepperell, Ma. and Hollis, NH I was able to check my mileage at the right times (from my house to 111A W to 111 to Pepperell, up rt. 122 to the  center of Hollis, do the Hollis 1/2 marathon course big loop back down Depot Rd. and home by 111E and then down Westgate Crossing and home). I hit 15 miles in about 59 minutes and 30 miles in 1:59, so I am traveling about 15 mph on somewhat hilly roads. My speed has been increasing each week as I ride. I have not bought toe cages, which should increase the speed like on a bike as I am doing fine without them and I don't want to stress my still overwhelmed hip flexors (from hip surgery) just yet. When I get a pair, I should be able to increase the speed more. 

I have also done the large hills on route 130 from Brookline and into Hollis about 6 times. Twice on both of my 58 milers. There is one downhill section that curves around to the left where I have looked down a couple of times while descending to see 35 mph on my Garmin. I feel OK at that speed. I used to ride those hills a lot during workouts with the Nashua Velo Club about 20 years ago and I never liked that downhill section as we would travel about 45 mph down and around that curve that could pull you out into traffic if you weren't careful. The ElliptiGO is slower going downhill due to wind resistance. It also feels more secure than a road bike due to its longer wheelbase, wider tires, and lower center of gravity.

Question Two
What hurts while riding an ElliptiGO or when done with a workout?
Actually nothing hurts. It is quite amazing. I think it is because you are working from a position of good posture. My quads do get the best workout and that is where I feel the burn, but it is much gentler on your joints and muscles than running or cycling. I feel better after a ride then when I began it. 

I am still working on my form and watching as all the muscles around my hips sort themselves out from years of imbalances. My hips still don't line up perfectly. The left hip is forward of the right and I am learning to use the outside of the hips better. If I feel a little bit stiff or off, I start feeling better after about 10-15 miles as my muscles find a better position and pattern of movement. I think holding onto the handlebars and the fact that I can alter the angle of the bike and the foot platforms as I ride to accommodate the "off angles" of my leg and feet helps find good positioning too.

If I don't have my shoes tight enough, my feet will move forward in the shoe and my toes may bang into the front of the shoe.  Currently, my shoe of choice on the ElliptiGO is an old pair of Altra Provisions due to the wide toebox and zero drop heel. I get a better sense of the positioning of the bones of my feet with these shoes.

Question Three:
How is the ElliptiGO as a weight-loss tool?
This is my one big disappointment so far. I am working hard and  finally getting fit for a change, but in the 847 miles of riding over the last 37 days, I don't think that I have lost a pound. Really? I have gone from barely being able to run, to doing intense and lengthy workouts just about every day and ... nothing? I guess I have eaten some ice cream as a reward for some of my workouts, but I would have expected the dropping of some pounds. My legs are working up a storm. My quads are getting thick and stronger in places that running didn't help. My lower back is getting stronger and it uses your core and arms so they are getting work.

My guess is that the ElliptiGO doesn't stress your systems like running. There is no bouncing and stomach distress like you can often get from running, particularly when it has been hot and humid like it has been recently. Thus no instant weight loss!

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