At the end of January I posted an article about my stationary trainer setup. I used the trainer once at that time, had the flu for almost a month, and put 100 miles in during the past week. It’s deadly boring to pedal in place for an hour and a half. My routine helps to ease the monotony a bit.
My stationary rides are 25 miles long just as my regular trail training rides. At 12.5 miles I take a hydration and snack break before doing the final 12.5 miles. That is usually about 15-20 minutes long. At the start of each 12.5 mile leg, I take up to a minute to get up to my cruising speed, which is 15.5 miles per hour.
That speed gives me a good, realistic cadence and load at the highest gear on the bike. I never change gears as I would on the trail because the load is constant. On the trail I will change gears to keep the cadence and load constant as the grade or headwind changes.
The best technique that I have found to reduce boredom is to periodically change my cadence and speed. At each .5 mile point on the odometer, I go into a semi-sprint. It’s a semi-sprint because I’m not built for anything much above 20 miles per hour, which is more of a sprint. At mile 1.5, mile 2.0, mile 2.5, etc., I will semi-sprint for .15 miles. The result is an average speed of between 15.7 and 16.0 miles per hour, depending on how good I feel. That compares well with my better trail training rides and I feel that the workout is comparable.
During the ride, I have my iPod classic shuffling through my music collection. I may try to use a laptop to stream movies or a news channel. Actually, a Three Stooges movie may be better than a news channel.
I have only good things to say about the equipment. The Kinetic T-2200 Road Machine stationary trainer is solid and shows no signs of failing. I like the fluid clutch and flywheel approach that they use to provide the resistance. The Cateye Velo 7 bicycle computer is inexpensive and very effective for this purpose. The distance/elapsed time measured for a 12.5 mile leg are very comparable to an actual trail ride. That’s the advantage of being able to enter the actual circumference of the tire into the computer. The only change that I made to the setup was to add a Brooks saddle like the one on my touring bike.
I think that you need to be obsessed with training to use a stationary trainer. I’ll bet many people give it up when they find out how boring it is. If you really want to hit the road when the snow melts and be able to ride the distance, I don’t think there is a better way that using a stationary trainer. I know that I’m obsessed.