Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feel the burn...and hear the smoke alarm

Almost everyone who's ever trained for a race remembers the turning point workout.

In case you're wondering, no, this is not
what caused my smoke alarm to go off
It's the workout when the anxieties you had about the big day -- angst about your fitness level, nervousness about your training schedule -- get overtaken by positive thoughts; the "I can do this!" thoughts.

For me, that workout came early last week in regards to my upcoming duathlon. However, it wasn't a turning point for the reasons that it normally would be.

It didn't come from an all-day training ride, nor did it come from a negative-splits run to the tune of "Eye of the Tiger." It came from a fairly standard 50-minute ride on the trainer bike stand in my apartment, the type of ride I've done dozens of times before.

The aspect that wasn't so standard about it? When I took off my headphones at the end of the workout (with my mp3 player blaring a Metallica mix at full volume the entire time), I came to realize that the smoke detector in my apartment was going off.

Once I quieted the alarm's blare, I did a checklist in my head for reasons when it would've gone off in the first place. Was I cooking or baking anything at the time? Nope. Did I replace the batteries recently on the alarm? Yep. Was it an overly humid day? Nothing out of the ordinary. Were any appliances or electronics overheating? None that I could think of.

After taking all of that into account, I came to conclude something that every exercise addict wants to claim:

I was working out so hard, the smoke alarm went off!

In this case, that meant that the friction of my bike's rear tire against the trainer stand wheel was enough to create smoke and -- literally -- burn rubber. It sort of seemed possible (and awesome) at first, considering I already had to fix two flat tires from riding on the trainer and was told that it wears down tires faster than normal biking.

Perhaps my cycling-acclimated legs were getting strong enough where they could create that kind of friction. After all, Road Runner often left a trail of flames when he sped past Wile E. Coyote. That has some translation to real life, right?

The optimist in me wanted to believe this. However, the realist eventually went to work to disprove it. I spent a solid 20 minutes browsing Google to see if there were similar stories of smoke alarms going off and looked up product reviews on the trainer stand to see if it ever created smoke or burned rubber. Both searches came up empty, though I DID find a story about a guy who set off a smoke alarm by burping into it.

I also came across a couple of stories of people who set their smoke alarms off due to the steam that came from their showers. This is probably the more likely cause of the alarm, seeing as how my living room has poor ventilation and most workouts on the bike leave me dripping with perspiration.

So I guess in a roundabout way, you could say that the harshness of my workout caused the alarm to go off. It's not nearly as cool as being able to say that I burned rubber on the trainer stand, but it gives me confidence that the workouts are strenuous and that I'll be ready for Saturday.

1 comment:

  1. Woah, unbelievable! I know the alarm detects smoke, but not from friction from a workout bike. Good thing you had a good smoke detector or else you never would’ve noticed you burnt your tires. You should have more of those in other areas of the house where you do strenuous workouts.

    Odessa Hanton