Trainer sessions are brutal but efficient and effective, especially if you live in a city with traffic lights every few kilometres. There is no way to put in a proper interval session at the exact required wattage here in Singapore. Even if there are traffic lights, you will have to keep an eye out for traffic. With an indoor trainer, you do not need to ride out to a more secluded road to hammer out a good session, you simply pop your bike on the trainer, fire up your software of choice and get spinning. That’s less than ten minutes. And here’s an added bonus – you don’t have to wear a jersey at home, so that is less washing to do.
I do my spinning sessions in my room. I have a tiny room which actually makes things convenient. I use TrainerRoad having moved from Zwift. Zwift is great if you like the interactive open world environment and want to ride with others. However, if you are focused on solo training where you are aiming to hit and maintain power targets, you will not have time to enjoy the digital environment. (And you will be on your own virtually most of the time.) Trainer Road provides a ridiculous set of training regimes which far outshines any other competing platform.
The setup is simple. TrainerRoad runs on my desktop PC and reads my ANT+ devices via a ANT+ USB dongle. (Just grab one from Amazon, it is a lot cheaper than the ones sold locally. The brand doesn’t matter, ANT+ is ANT+ whether it is Garmin, Wahoo, etc.) I use a USB extension cable to ensure the ANT+ dongle is very close to all my devices especially the trainer. Next, my secondary bike is propped onto the Wahoo Kickr. (I bought mine locally because there is no way I want to ship this behemoth overseas should there be technical issues. No problems so far though.) I have the first generation version and it works great. Best cycling equipment I’ve bought in terms of making me a better cyclist. As far as possible get a trainer that can handle ERG mode. This forces you to put out the correct wattage and ensures you finish a proper/brutal session. Since Trainer Road controls the trainer to set the wattage, the ANT+ dongle has to be in a good range to the trainer. You don’t want a botched training session just because the trainer and your computer were not communicating well. A towel goes across the bike’s handlebars and top tube, water bottles are placed in arm’s reach and the session begins. It is that simple.
Of course the main problem is finding the motivation to spin for 1+ hour. Spinning is effective but it is boring compared to riding outside. I use race videos (just look up YouTube for full cycling races) or Netflix to keep me motivated. Race videos help for sessions that focus on short bursts of power beyond my FTP. Netflix helps for tempo rides. (Even when I was using Zwift, the open world environment didn’t help. I had to run videos off a laptop to keep me motivated.)
The second problem is temperature. I turn the air conditioning to its coolest setting possible and run two fans – one blowing from the front and the other from the back. It is not close to having 40km/h wind rushing by you but it helps somewhat.
Spinning is not exactly fun but it is definitely effective. Give it a shot!