We all know what time of year it is in the USA, its indoor training time for much of the country. Most cyclists avoid using the trainer like the plague. Trainer sessions are usually very boring, and its very difficult to gauge your efforts. In the past people used TV or cycling training videos like Spinevervals to make trainer rides bearable, but even that didn’t help too much. When the Spinverval guy said do a 9/10 effort, what does that equate to for me? Even if you knew, it was easy to cheat yourself in a training session by just going slower. There was no real record of your efforts.
In the past two years a few products have come out that have transformed indoor training for me. The first product is TrainerRoad.com, which is a software tool that allows you to execute structured workouts and display real time performance data including an accurate estimate of power, even if you don’t have a power meter. TrainerRoad connects your computer to ANT+ devices via the Garmin ANT+ USB dongle. You can pick up a Garmin ANT+ stick for $25 on Amazon. It picks up the data from your heartrate monitor and ANT+ speed/cadence sensor.
If you have a powermeter it will pick that data up as well, or you can use the calculated power which is very accurate on the trainer. On real road rides, power calculation is notoriously inaccurate because there are multitude of variables that a power calculator cannot take into account, most notably factoring in wind resistance. There are less variables with an indoor trainer, when I go 20mph on my Cyclops trainer, TrainerRoad can make an accurate assessment than I’m pushing X amount of watts.
The Sufferfest is a great collection of downloadable videos which feature footage from protour races. Its way more entertaining than the old Spinverval or CTS vids of looking at people ride trainers. Plus TrainerRoad has complete integration with Sufferfest workouts.
Strava has finally listened to some of my earlier gripes, and has introduced better power metrics and visualization tools. Once you complete a ride in TrainerRoad, you can export it to .TCX file which is importable via Strava.
Why is AppleTV on this list? People generally like to display TrainerRoad on a larger display such as TV. Dealing with cables and wires to share your screen can be a pain in the ass. AppleTV has a technology called Airplay Mirroring which allows you easily share your laptop screen and sound with your TV.