Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Turbo trainers - indoor workouts for the Etape

The weather's been rough for the last few days, with torrential rain, floods and worse for a cyclist - massive winds trying to knock you over and turning flats into hills.

This somewhat lengthened the odds of me getting a couple of people together to head out on a long weekend ride.

But with about a week until the first sportive of our training plan, I needed to do something.

Fortunately, I've got a turbo trainer at my disposal. These doowhackies clip onto the rear wheel of your bike and put up resistance so every pedal stroke takes effort. The higher the gear you're in, the harder it is to pedal.
Turbo trainer/Instrument of touture

It's basically torture. I've always hated excersise bikes, there's no respite. When you're out on the road, you can freewheel. You get to stop at lights or road junctions.

The only time you have to put constant effort in is riding up a hill, and then you get the reward of the descent on the other side.

But on the Etape, the hills last for miles and miles and miles. I need to learn to keep riding and pushing for an hour or more, and as  I wasn't going to get out on the road I clipped the Bianchi (I'll sell her eventually) into the turbo trainer, pointed the bike at the telly, put an hour-long show on and started out.

It was easy at the start, without movement it felt I wasn't trying, it didn't stay that way.

Half an hour in I'd drunk most of my bidon. I was sweating freely (it's a known problem with turbo trainers as there's no wind to cool you or evaporate it away, in fact there's a range of covers you can get to potect your bike from corrosive drips when training).

Forty minutes in I couldn't believe I wasn't done yet. The couch was Right There. Then I remembered the broom wagon, the 16km climb up Mont Revard. I'd need to climb and keep climbing, keep working for far longer than just 45 minutes.

I changed up a gear to make it harder. I did it again at 50 minutes and again at 55.

In the end I kept going for a bit longer than an hour, but not much. And being at home, inside, I just had to wander to the shower when I was done. There are definite advantages to using turbo trainers. Although the noise makes them a bad idea when other people are home and I've no idea what that hour on the trainer equates to in miles, calories or meters climbed.

But for a hard burst of constant effort, or when the weather is vile, it's definitely an option and one I'll try and use more.

1 comment:

  1. It's also amazing if your program eventually has you working heart rate zones. You just can't keep it consistent on the road. But don't get me wrong, the turbo is the enemy...