Trainer Roaoooooohhoohohowwwwww(d).

I’ve been doing some workouts from TrainerRoad.com, using the Quarq power cranks and integrated Bontrager DuoTrap in my Madone, coupled with a dongle (huh-huh…he said dongle) and a laptop.  I’ve done a couple of rides to measure my FTP (threshold power), and a few training rides.  This morning, I did a workout called the Wheeler.  Here it is:

That workout and description both belong to Trainerroad.com.  I’m using it here for media/review purposes.  I’ll give some more detailed thoughts over the course of the next few weeks, but here are my preliminary thoughts.

  1. I’m using a Macbook and a Suunto dongle (heh-heh.  Dongle).  They work seamlessly with a Quarq crank and Bontrager cadence/speed sensor (all ANT+).  Setup took 3 minutes.
  2. I use these on my CycleOps stationary trainer, and leave the trainer on one resistance setting.  I vary gear and cadence to vary resistance, and the trainer progressively ramps up resistance with speed.
  3. Having instant feedback on the screen, with a power target and my actual power output, is incredibly useful.  In the past, my intervals have been subjective.  I’ll go at what power output I think I should be at, occasionally glancing down at the small screen on my garmin.  Having immediate, large screen-format feedback is awesome, as is having a target to shoot for.  I try harder when I see that I’m falling off the target…and I’ve come to trust that if I feel the target is too easy, I should still hold on the desired power output and follow the program’s recommendations, as there will undoubtedly be a later interval that kicks my butt.  I don’t find the program limiting–because the rides are so challenging and diverse, I’m challenged and interested.
  4. I’ve spent much of the winter doing long ‘threshold’ rides (before using TrainerRoad), and my intervals have been short.  Short as in: 30 seconds as hard as you can, 90 seconds rest.  The Wheeler ride (shown above) has things like 150% FTP for 90 seconds, followed by 120%FTP for several minutes.  That kicked my butt.  I can do the short ‘full out’ intervals, but doing a hard interval followed by several minutes of hard effort wasted me.  By halfway through the ride, I wasn’t able to hold my output targets.  This is good for me to identify this early in the season; I think this workout was more akin to actual road riding, where there is a super-hard effort, followed by a hard effort, and then some recovery.  The hard efforts 5-20 minutes, though…not just 30-60 seconds.  As I work on intervals for the end of winter/early spring, I’m going to try to pick out interval exercises that are more like this one…with longer hard efforts.  I can hold my FTP indefinitely, and I can hold FTP + some small percentage for 20 minutes.  The intermediate, hard efforts…those are the problem.
  5. Post Title Explanation:  I did a hard workout early this morning  (5:45am, in the garage).  I was [doing my job] later in the morning, and suddenly experienced one of the worst cramps of my life while trying to [do one ‘professional’ aspect of my job].  Whew.  I was mid-sentence and my right hamstring suddenly went ballistic.  I thought I was going to go through the ceiling.

So yes, the workouts are hard.  Time will tell if they work.  Preliminary thoughts on trainer road.com are positive, if you can bring yourself to ride a trainer.

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3 thoughts on “Trainer Roaoooooohhoohohowwwwww(d).

  1. I’ll add a positive response for this kind of investment in a trainer and software. I started using a coach to train for one specific event per year, starting two years ago. The first year, I used heartrate zones, and last year, I used a TACX trainer and software and trained with power zones. The difference in difficulty using power and not being allowed to slack off was noticeable.
    I’m enough of a believer now that I’ve made the investment in a Stages crank arm based meter so I can have that same level of feedback when I’m riding outdoors.

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