They say that every cloud has a silver lining, not sure if that is true, but a recent accident has forced me to try something new and do you know what, I quite like it.
After my latest bone breaking episode (Left Collarbone for the second time !) I've been forced back onto the dreaded Turbo – and in the middle of summer. Usually something of a last resort for me as I prefer pretty much any weather conditions (short of dangerous) to riding, staring at the garage wall.
This seemed to be the ideal time to try out one of these new smart trainers, thanks to the loan of a Wahoo Kickr from the generous/brilliant/sanity saving (delete as applicable) (I think all apply haha . ed.) Paul Vousden at Mapdec Cycle Works.
I'd not used Zwift before, and for those of you who haven't it's basically like a computer game, but your avatar on the screen moves in relation to how much power you put in. Zwift is based on the fictional island of Watopia, complete with big climbs, rolling roads and an underwater tunnel. In addition there are a few KOM points, a sprint point and a timed lap for you to earn leaders jersey's for your avatar to wear. It doesn't take long to get used to the basics and soon you are riding hard to try and get a KOM or Sprint jersey.
The way everything interacts, go up a hill and the resistance changes etc, is hugely impressive and gives a real world feel. Using the iPhone as a dashboard computer is really handy as well.
I usually find 10 minutes on a turbo boring, but Zwift makes it engaging and time flies by. Before I knew it I'd done 30 or 40 minutes in my first session and had really enjoyed it. The next couple of weeks saw me getting back on almost daily and looking forward to it. To start with I just chose to ride the roads to how I was feeling, but after a few rides I decided to try some of the built in workouts.
Setting your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) sets the wattage for the workouts. Then you simply start riding in a gear and the trainer controls the wattage to give you the exact workout, ignoring whether you are going up or downhill. If the effort is 250 watts then it's 250 watts and you have to just pedal. This gives you the sort of training you don't get on the road and keeps you honest. No slacking off at the end of a session.
I've never been the best at a hugely structured training plan, preferring to go by feel but I can see myself introducing a few of these sessions to replace some junk miles to help build my FTP and power. It's giving me the consistent sessions that are impossible to do living in the Lake District and I am looking forward to getting a bit stronger at the steady state seated power efforts.
So in the space of 3 weeks, I'm now a turbo convert. So much so I'll be looking to get myself a trainer once Paul wants the Kickr back – though he will have to drag it from my hands despite the broken collarbone !
Thanks Tom, we saw your Strava uploads. 10h 30m in a week on computer games is bad for your health. Cheers! Get well soon.
Handpicked nutrition with gluten-free, sugar free, vegan options. The Feed Zone is run as an honesty system, making it super convenient convenient to grab and go before, during or after your session.
I got down to the studio initially because Kendal Cycle club were doing a number of coached sessions in conjunction with Mapdec. I was quickly hooked, it quickly became a core part of my cycle training and weekly exercise regime.