As I finished my blog last weekend “Showroom Saturday Turbo Trainer Sunday”, I was reminded that I hadn’t actually written about turbo trainers at all but focussed on our new Showroom Saturday event that we will be running throughout Spring & Summer.
I am a person who thrives on a plan, and a goal, and I am trying, with varying degrees of success, to increase my 1000 mile total ridden in 2018, to the 4-5000miles ridden pre 2016. As a lifelong cyclist I wasn’t too happy with my 2018 achievement.
Over the winter I invested in a JetBlack Whisperdrive Smart trainer with the notion of testing the current crop of training apps, such as Zwift, Sufferfest and TrainerRoad. Having not been an avid gamer for years I was very sceptical about Zwift which feels quite immersive with its 3rd person view as you pass competitors or seeing others riding by.
It’s like being part of a very large, virtual club ride. I didn’t complete their fitness test which would have set training zones for me instead choosing to start on the Bambino Fondo plan – 3 hours a week for 4 weeks. I did notice a significant improvement in my fitness and during the few outdoor rides I did during this time, I felt stronger than for some time.
At the end of the programme I tried to complete a medio fondo. It has to be said – these are not as their friendly title would suggest “Fondos” or “Sportive” events, and having raced in different disciplines over 15 or more years, my experience with the Zwift Fondo was quickly more race-like. I found myself at the back straight away! I had not experienced this since racing the Tour of the Derwent Reservoir in 2009 – l finished 2 off last!
I gradually moved up the field until I was in the top half, somewhat due to finding my pace and sticking with it. It wasn’t the best 2 and 3/4 hrs I’d ever spent on a bike and I bailed 3 kilometres from the top of the finish 15 kilometre climb.
Zwift engages you in a game-like atmosphere and did work to encourage me to do the workouts which I managed just fine. In that sense, it does what we at Steel Town Cycles are encouraging you all to #getoutonyabike. What I feel it lacks is a logical progressive structure – build phase, consolidation phase, rest/recovery. It’s a scientific approach and there are already other apps and many books on the subject. For most users, that won’t be the end of the world and it will rapidly improve your fitness. The workouts are short – typically 45-60 minutes – and after the initial trial period it will cost £12.99 per month. I would recommend it to novices as it will improve your fitness and it’s possible to ride alongside your friends using the companion app, though I would suggest using a short training plan, rather than just free riding, as it will keep your interest. This approach also fits in well with our modern time-crunched lives. We have other commitments, families, work and friends.
More details can be found at http://Zwift.com
I’m trying Sufferfest next and if this topic is of interest I’ll give my impression on that when I’ve spent a month or so using it. Zwift wasn’t for me, but if you give it a go drop in to the workshop or drop me a message to let me know what you think. I encourage all of you to use an indoor trainer when it’s not practical or just not safe to ride outdoors; a cheap magnetic resistance trainer might be all you need to get started.