In praise of smart trainers

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by BobNYC, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. BobNYC

    BobNYC New Member

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    I've been using a Tacx Neo for three weeks (although I expect my experience would be the same with many other "smart" trainers). These have been the best workouts I've had. I use Golden Cheetah's Workout Editor (highly recommended) and BigRing VR (a free internet program).
    First, intervals: The power on my intervals is true and constant from beginning to end. Even though I tried not to cheat, when my cadence would lag at the end of a hard interval on my fluid trainer (KK) the power output would go down. Now if my cadence flags, the torque goes up, power stays constant and it gets harder. This is teaching me to keep my cadence up and drive through the interval. Likewise, the rest periods between intervals remains constant.
    Also, the power setting is granular. If I want to increase power of the set by 5w, I just plug in the new target and it happens. This is leading me to some nice progressive gains.
    With GC, I don't even have to enter the workout in my log; it automatically makes the entry.
    Second: For those without a mountain to climb out the front door (I have Broadway in New York City!) BigRing VR offers a selection of 50-some iconic climbs. The speed of the video is keyed to your power as the program pairs with the smart trainer. I've been "climbing" Alpe d'Huez twice a week. That climb gives me well over an hour with NP slightly better than my FTP. I can't get that kind of workout anywhere in my riding area.
    Frankly I was skeptical about "smart" trainers - "How much better than my Kurt Kinetic could it be?" For me the answer is that it's not just better, it's a whole different experience.
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    +1

    I think you'll see results almost immediately because you will have increased the quality of your workouts by a factor of about 2:1.

    And, when you modify your trainer room so as to be able to bring the room temp down to 35F and bring the altitude up to 20K feet, you'll be in trainer paradise.
     
  3. BobNYC

    BobNYC New Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement. It's been less than a month but I've already added 9w to my CP. I've taken your advice on emphasizing Level 4 and above. The simulated climbs up Alpe d'Huez are completely above Level 4 so I'm accumulating some weekly hours. Of course the intervals have less total time in the higher levels, but I believe the time spent in Levels 5, 6 and above are valuable, too.
    As far as the "trainer room" (also known as the "bedroom"), I train next to an open window so the 35 degree standard is met; I can only afford the 12th floor of my building so I'm far below 20k feet!
    Best, Bob
     
  4. kopride

    kopride Member

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    Great to here. I've got a smart trainer on my n + 1 list right now, probably the Cycleops Hammer. Have you tried using it with Zwift yet?

    For me, Zwift has been game changer this winter. You can train with and race against people from all over the world, and people close to your ability. it attempts to simulate drafting in a paceline and hills. Even with a dumb trainer and my power meter, its been great, and I look forward to getting on and riding indoors.

    For me, trying to grab on someone's virtual wheel and ride with a real person is just much more satisfying to me than following a pre-programed workout. Zwift has workouts, but even then, you are still riding on the "road" with other real riders and there is some motivation as you start passing groups.
     
  5. BobNYC

    BobNYC New Member

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    Good luck with your smart trainer. I hope your experience is as positive as my own.
    I'm not on Zwift. My competitive venue is time trials, not crits. I get satisfaction from a structured workout well completed. No other motivation needed. Horses for courses, I guess.
     
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