Friday, October 21, 2016

Best Indoor Trainer Cycling Stand / Desk for Wahoo, Computrainer, Saris, Tacx

Medical overbeds are the perfect
portable desks / stands for indoor cycling
The days of beautiful riding are clearly coming to an end in the Northern Hemisphere. I say clearly, because despite snow-birding, and being oblivious to weather changes, I am seeing a noticeable uptick in the number of inquiries to what portable stand I recommend for indoor cycling. I thought the topic warranted a short post so here is my current solution - Eva Medical Adjustable Overbed. Please note, this is my portable stand review. If you are looking for a more permanent recommendation please skip to the bottom.

Simply put, the medical overbed, is easily the best $50 I spent all year. Whether you have a Computrainer, Cycleops, Wahoo Kickr & Snap, Tacx, Kurt Kinetic, rollers or any other indoor bike trainer, this overbed serves a legitimate purpose in any pain cave as a very viable and versatile stand.

For those unfamiliar, medical overbeds are designed to have a telescoping table platform, slide underneath the bed of a patient, and are for tasks like eating & tv watching. However, they make excellent indoor cycling desks, media carts, and laptop stands. This particular one measures 40 inches tall. Personally, I use the medical overbed in different ways that include:
  1. Placed in front of my handlebars for entertainment viewing of Netflix shows, movies, and races. The medical overbed provides a sound platform for easy laptop viewing. Simple height adjustment with one hand, and even while riding, allows one to have the perfect viewing angle without craning the neck. There is plenty of room for fluids and food as well that are easily in reach.
  2. Placed behind the front wheel of the bike for working purpose - now this might not work for everyone. Depending on your height, stem length, leg length, bike position, etc you might not be able to do this, but I find myself needing to multi-task on my easy Z1/Z2 or recovery rides. I place my laptop on it and actually do real work as I spin.
  3. If I am not working and not watching, that means I am doing some serious riding. I will spin the overbed besides me and place extra hydration, and towels in close reach so I can grab them reliably after a high-intensity interval. I also like to keep my phone handy so I can check up on social media during the recovery period between intervals.
Those are the basic ways I use the desk for cycling, but because of its superior portability I have learned to use it for other tasks including:
Putting the bike back together on a
nice & sunny Wisconsin summer day
Bike Maintenance - I love doing bike maintenance with this desk. I will set a towel on top and place all the tools I will need for the job. The telescoping up/down platform is easy to do one-handed and the table moves smoothly. Make shift standing desk - I find myself using the desk as a impromptu standing desk. As an example, I might have the laptop on the desk as I place my leg over a couch or bed and perform some gentle stretching as I work for a few minutes. Laying in the bed with the boots - using the recovery boots and a laptop, although doable, sometimes I prefer to use the overbed as a more stable platform that isn't going up and down with the expansion and contraction of the boots. As a true TV Tray - I will admit, I have never actually used this as a TV tray, but I would presume many people could. Caveats. although the medical overbed works for my needs, and I do put a portion of my body weight, a laptop, and some bottles on it, it isn’t meant to hold 200 lbs. It is decently sturdy, but it is only supported on one side. Having support on the other side would make it much more sturdy but you would also lose functionality such as being able to slide it behind the front wheel of the bike or underneath your bed. More permanent and more expensive option
Electric Stand Up Desk < $500 or Wind Up < $300 
The basic medical overbed is a no-brainer as a cheap alternative to something like the Wahoo Desk. With that being said, there is also a heavy-duty solution, albeit much less nimble, in a full-sized electronic or wind-up desk.

The price of these desks have really come down as of late. The desks are much wider and deeper, and will be tall enough to accommodate nearly everyone. They are also designed to support a lot more weight, but are not nearly as portable, and are 5x to 10x as expensive as a basic overbed.

However if you have a fixed training environment and you are looking to do some serious work with a laptop than this desk might be the one for you.

Wind-up is cheaper (<$300), but electric ($<500) goes up and down at the push of a button. I recommend the 48" version but they come in 60" inches too. I personally have the electric and love it. It is so stable and large that I can comfortably sit in a semi-aero position, with elbows on the desk, as I type away at the keyboard. Recommend Product Links:

- 48" Wind Up Stand Up Desk by Stand Up Desk

Monday, August 8, 2016

Normatec vs Air Relax Recovery Boots Compression Pulse MVP

Newly Redesigned NormaTec Pulse System
As an aging professional triathlete I no longer recover like I used to. As a result, I keep seeking out new and better ways to facilitate and expedite the recovery process. Although recovery boots have been out for many years in the triathlon scene, it wasn't until this winter that I finally became a believer in them.

Taking a step back, previously I had tried recovery boots at various races over the years, but I found that the staff always set the level too high and I felt like my eyes were bulging out of their sockets. Having a medical device background selling implantable pacemakers and defibrillators I have developed a high level of respect for both the heart and the body. Simply put, the devices scared me.

Fast forward and I had the opportunity to live with another pro athlete who owned a set of boots. This time, I was able to start gradually at my own pace and I developed my own protocol for using them. The more I used them, the more my legs responded to them, the more I liked them. In addition to post-workout, I was using them pre-workout and in the morning to help jumpstart the body. As someone who has always developed an injury in winter training, this was the first year I actually didn't end up with a injury. To say I am now addicted would be an understatement, they simply go everywhere with me.

Now the only real downside to Normatec is simply they are not affordable to the masses. Sure there are many people who can afford them, but there are many more that can't and that is unfortunate because I believe compression boots are the number one recovery tool in my arsenal, knocking off foam rolling, and pushing it to a distant #2. Fortunately there are other makers of recovery boots that are more reasonably priced and do an excellent job. One of the alternatives is the Air Relax system.
Air Relax Recovery Boots System

The Air Relax system is very similar to the Normatec system. This isn't going to be an in-depth review between the two because I have already done it. Both systems are amazing, I highly recommend both, and both have add-ons for things like the hips and arms. Here are some subtle subtle differences between the two:

Air Relax System (~$352 with discount)

- Small, portable, compression unit, smaller than the Normatec MVP system but bigger than the new Normatec Pulse unit.

- Pressure can go up to 230mmHg and has 4 pressure levels.

- If you are extremely tall the legs might be a little shorter than what you can get on the Normatec Pulse. Air Relax does make extenders, but I don't have any experience using the extender so I can't comment. The stock boots are plenty long for me.

- Available in both US version for US plugs and European version for Euro plugs. Make sure you purchase the correct one.

- Highly affordable. You can buy them readily on Amazon or direct from Air Relax and save 7% with coupon code TGRLCHAZ8

- Newly updated Aug/Sept 2016. Model has been updated featuring distinct dark grey boots. Here is what the company wrote me when I inquired about the differences: "It is quite the same in terms of settings and modes. We have adjusted the pressure a little. There is a little more room in the feet area of the cuff, which will let you to pull up the cuff higher on your thighs. The hoses are hidden on the new Air Relax. In addition the direction of the hoses was changed."

Normatec Pulse (basic model, $1595) 

- Can be used without the AC Adaptor for a limited time on battery - think airport use when you can't find an outlet.

- Legs are a bit longer - if extremely tall this might be something you want

- Pressure can go up to 100mmHg and has 7 pressure levels

- Can easily set time in 5 minute increments

- More expensive, starting at $1595 for the basic model. Unfortunately I do not have a coupon code for Normatec to give you.

Again, both systems are amazing. If you can afford Normatec and want Normatec then buy them. If you can't spend that kind of money but want a comparable system for nearly 1/5th the price then go with Air Relax.

Air Relax on Amazon
Air Relax NA Distributor Website - Use coupon code TGRLCHAZ8 to save 7%
Normatec Website

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Blue Seventy Wetsuits Coupon Code Promo

Save 25% at with Coupon Code: TGb702016
Save 25% at with coupon code TGb702016. The code is good on everything BlueSeventy carries including wetsuits, skinsuits, goggles, Core Shorts, caps etc. Good thru 2016. No restrictions on make either, you can save 25% on the top of the line Helix wetsuit or Fusion, Reaction and any other suit.