I’ve Got the Power! (Virtual)

Until recently, I was not a big fan of indoor cycling. I had a cheap (but highly rated) magnetic trainer, and absolutely loathed 45+ minute workouts. My usual routine was to delay and stall the actual workout as long as possible, then when I finally start the workout, watch Netflix and pedal aimlessly (or sometimes try to maintain a certain heart rate).

But those unfocused, unstructured indoor cycle days are over now.

Two weeks ago, while searching online for better ways to use my indoor trainer, I came across TrainerRoad, a power-based indoor cycling software with over 1000 workouts for all levels of riders. TrainerRoad has a list of supported trainers that allows it to accurately and consistently predict one’s power output, which they refer to as “virtual power.”

Why train with a power? Joe Friel, author and elite triathlete & cycling coach, says it best,

“So why should you get a power meter? The short answer is that you simply are more likely to achieve your race goals by training—and racing—with a power meter than without. It is the most affective tool you can get to go faster on a bike.”

Although I didn’t have a supported trainer, I decided to give TrainerRoad a try. I was desperate for a better indoor cycling experience. I installed the software, and was able to use my existing devices: an Ant+ heart rate monitor, speed sensor, and cadence sensor–all of which I used for my indoor cycle training before.

I tried out a 30 minute TrainerRoad workout called DANS.  I didn’t have any way for the software to determine my power output, however the software surprisingly set target goals for my heart rate during the workout. Cool! Essentially, I pedaled hard enough to reach the prescribed heart rate targets throughout the ride. End result: my workout was awesome! The workout gave me the structure that I was yearning for. I was hooked, and for the first time actually felt excited about riding indoors! However, I knew that I needed a supported trainer to really maximize the TrainerRoad software.

Within a week, I purchased a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine (the official trainer of choice by TrainerRoad). After updating my trainer information in the software, my workouts included targeted power goals.

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At the time of this writing, I’ve completed 5 TrainerRoad workouts, including an initial cycling test to assess my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) & Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR). Once I plugged in those numbers in my profile, all of my future workouts use my FTP and LTHR values to customize my target power goals during my workouts.

I’m extremely excited about my upgraded indoor cycling experience. I’ve got the Power! Let’s hope is helps me find my bike legs for my 2016 Raleigh Half-Ironman event!