11/6/14

Bike trainer tips and recommendations


Last year I interviewed Karel to help me with an article on bike trainers.

Over the past 10 years, Karel and I have had the luxury of spending most of our "winter" bike training, riding outside. There were always a few cold days each year when we would bike indoors on our Cycleops Powerbeam Pro but typically we would bundle up to brave the 40-50 degree chilly mornings in Florida (yes, I realize it's all relative!).

But now we live in Greenville, SC. We no longer live close to a beach but by the mountains. We now have two trainers (we added a Computrainer to our bike gear family) and we are learning to embrace the cooler fall days which will turn into cold winter days.
However,  we aren't complaining as we just love our bike friendly community which is also filled with great hiking trails and beautiful fall colors. 

But with the cooler temps does come a shift in the riding environment for triathletes, cyclists and anyone who enjoys riding a bike.

So I thought I would share the post that I did last year (thanks to Karel) but Karel would like to add one more trainer to this list of  Bike Trainer recommendations
According to the website: 
The LeMond Revolution eliminates the need for a rear wheel setup by connecting the bike's drive-train directly to the Revolution's cassette.  The large, weighted flywheel effectively mimics the inertia of a bicycle in motion while generating progressive wind resistance. Set up is simple, just remove your rear wheel, attach the rear drop outs to the spindle and away you go. It works with both 130mm (Road and Cross) and 135mm (MTB and Cross), quick release bicycles. Also, installing the WattBox to any Revolution trainer allows you to display both speed and power (watts) to your ANT+ device. The WattBox will turn on and off automatically; just get on and start pedaling. If you wish to display cadence on your device, an ANT+ compatible cadence sensor will need to be purchased separately.
The Revolution is ready for Shimano/SRAM 9-11sp cassettes. 9-11sp adaptors and upgrade kits are sold separately for each trainer.

Bike Trainer workouts: 
Riding indoors is an effective way to make good use of your riding time because you can do it anytime, rain, cold or snow. Also if you train with power, you can monitor your watts so you are giving similar efforts for each workout (pending the main set) There is no guessing as to how much work you are applying to your pedals. Just keep in mind that your power indoors will differ a bit from riding outdoors so always be consistent with effort inside and consistent with effort outside (the numbers do not need to be the same). 

Riding indoors can be a bit boring if you don't have a fun set so here are a few workouts to keep your legs entertained while riding indoors; 

Descending intervals

Speed pyramid

20 Trimarni bike trainer workouts

Trainer room suggestions: 

Every bike-loving athlete needs a good trainer room. You want an environment that you enjoy going into when you are going to sit your butt down on a bike for x-minutes (not to mention suffer a bit too). 
Here are a few suggestions for setting up a good trainer room in your house, garage or basement:
-Good entertainment - a big TV placed at eye level or slightly above is essential if you want some visual entertainment. Install a DVR, DVD player or plug in your computer for your pick of inspiration when you are riding. Music is also helpful. If you need to be considerate of your family if you are riding early mornings, you may want to invest in a good pair of headphones.

-Table - Water bottles, food, gels, phone, iPad, workout, magazine....you take your pick as to what you need during your workout but you need something near your bike to place the important things that will help you have a quality workout.

-Space - just like when you ride outside, it's nice to have your space. Make sure you have room around you so you don't feel claustrophobic as it will likely get a bit stuffy in your room (especially if you do not have window's to open). If you have multiple equipment in your trainer room (stability ball, treadmill, trainer, etc.) you will want to make sure that everything is functional.

-Mat  and fan - You are going to sweat a lot on the trainer  so it is good to have a clean floor mat. Also, a fan is helpful to keep the room cool, especially if you do not have good ventilation in the room. Keep in mind that when you sweat a lot, your sweat can corrode your bike parts. You want to wipe off your bike as soon as your finished riding and also more frequently do a detailed tune-up of your bike so that the small parts are removed and thoroughly cleaned.

A few other important tips:
-It is recommended (and safer) to invest in a trainer wheel and tire and also have an outdoor wheel (with a separate tire). Your training tire (the tire on your wheel that you use on your trainer the most) will get run down and if you ride the trainer a lot, you will notice a soft spot on your wheel which can become very unsafe when riding outside (especially when making turns). Although an occasional ride inside and outside is no big worry, just be mindful if you are riding on your trainer all winter, you will need a new tire for when you take your bike outdoors for your spring/summer training. Many athletes are now investing in trainers where you remove the back wheel and simply connect the wheel's drive-train to the trainer's rear cassette to eliminate the need to use a rear wheel on the trainer. 

-Don't forget your towel when you are on the trainer. Did I mention you will get sweaty on the trainer?

-On/Off drills are an effective way to warm up quickly. When you only have an hour to ride your trainer before/after workout, you don't want to spend 30 minutes warming up. I recommend to incorporate 3-5 x 30 sec ON (high cadence, 95+ rpm) efforts w/ 30 sec OFF (EZ efforts) to wake up your legs and to get the blood flowing. 

-The trainer is a great place to work on your pedal stroke, especially if you have any weak spots in your pedal stroke. In our transition plan we focus on single leg drills where you unclip one leg and use the other leg to pedal around with a comfortable cadence and gear. If you notice a clicking or dead spot in your stroke (on the top of the stroke), this is something to work on so that your glutes work better throughout the entire pedal stroke. We typically do 3-5 x 30-60 sec single leg drills (with time in between to unclip and clip in with the other food) in our workouts. You can also do these outside on flat, safe roads. Do not ride aero with single leg drills, but instead sit up and on the trainer you can also remove your hands from the bars to use the core for more stability work. 

-We encourage a short dynamic warm-up to loosen up the hips as well as a few minutes of foam rolling on the quads, back, hamstrings and calves to get the blood flowing before your workout. Additionally, post workout (after all bike workouts) you should spend a few minutes opening up your hip flexors (and psoas) which can be rather tight after being crunched on the bike. I recommend doing a bridge exercise, plank and sitting on a stability ball and then rolling yourself over so that your back lies on the ball, feet on the ground and you are looking behind you with arms above the head to really stretch out the hips. Other yoga moves can be included here. Just take a few minutes before/after every workout to ensure longevity as a cyclist/triathlete (tight spots only get tighter over time so it's better to stretch out before you really need to stretch out).