Tuesday, February 10, 2015
How To Cycle Indoors: Kinetic Road Machine + TrainerRoad + SufferFest
A rainy day, an unexpected meeting, or a tight deadline often throw havoc in my cycling schedule. So instead of completely skipping my riding workout, I decided to find a system where I can ride my bike for at least 30 or 40 minutes. This way I can get a good workout and have by bike "fix" at the same time.
I decided on three main components:
1. Cycling trainer
2. Cycling workout software
3. Entertainment boost to make it less boring
1. Cycling Trainer. After doing some research and speaking to some of my cycling friends, I picked Kinetic Road Machine 2.0. #KineticTrainer
The price was right as well. I picked one from Art's Cyclery for $289.
Kintetic Road Machine uses fluid plus magnetic driveshaft to give you somewhat of a realistic road feel, albeit without the road bumps. It's not too noisy. It feels pretty sturdy for me (weight of 220 pounds + bike). It does a good job with increasing the resistance as you increase the speed. You can control the resistance and speed using your shifters - just like you would on the road.
It is pretty easy to put together. Two accessories you may want to buy along with it are a rubber mat, so it doesn't move around, and a stand for the front wheel, so the bike is leveled. You can actually stack these to imitate climbing. I ended up buying the CycleOps Climbing Block for $26.99.
Some of my friends tried a higher-end trainer from the same manufacturer, called Kinetic Rock and Roll, which was supposed to give a better proximity to real-life riding by allowing you to swing sideways as you ride. While this worked for some lightweight cyclists, heavier guys complained about feeling wobbly on it. So I decided to save a few bucks and stick with a mid-level trainer. It has been working well so far.
2. Cycling Software. I am using TrainerRoad, #trainerroad which is trusted many of my cycling buddies. It costs $10/month and comes with a lot of useful functionality.
It has built-in workouts -- from climbing to endurance riding. You can see all your stats in real time on the screen of your laptop as you ride. It pauses when you stop and starts when you start pedaling.
Here is how I set it up.
a. I added a Garmin GSC 10 Cadence/Speed Sensor for $49.99 from Amazon to my bike, so I can feed this data to TrainerRoad and Garmin 510. This way I can see riding stats in real time on my laptop as I ride.
b. I bought a Garmin USB Ant stick for $32 and plugged it to my laptop, so the data from the sensors can be transmitted to my laptop.
c. I installed and configured TrainerRoad software on my laptop, which was a very simple process. TrainerRoad is now able to receive speed and cadence data, as well as my heart rate data from my Garmin HR strap/monitor.
d. I configured my Garmin Edge 510 so I can receive the same data on it as well in real time. This way all the info is right in front of me. And I can upload it on Strava once I am done with the workout.
This was all great, but the workouts seemed a little boring still. That is where Sufferfest came in.
3. Indoor Cycling Entertainment. Sufferfest #thesufferfest is a well thought training video with licensed footage from many famous bike races. I am amazed how well they were able to combine professional coaching, amazing video, fantastic editing, and really cool music into one package that makes indoor riding experience a blast.
Just go to www.sufferfest.com and pick a video -- from endurance to climbing to speed training to elements of style + other programs. Videos cost from $9 to $15 each. Or you can buy all of them for $199. I would recommend to start with one or two though.
I have picked "Elements of Style" and "ISLAGIATT." My friends swear by "Half is easy", "Angels", and "Fight Club".
Here are the steps to get going with Sufferfest:
a). Purchase online
b). Download to your computer
c). Load the video from your TrainerRoad program. They work really well together, like it was designed by the same company
d). Start riding!
You can immediately see your stats as you start riding. The clear and fun instructions ensure you get a really effective workout.
Entertaining video, commentary, and great sound tracks enhance your riding experience to the point where your workout is so much fun that you crave the next one, even when your legs hurt next day.
UPDATE: I did my first full workout on SufferFest called "Rubber Glove". Great workout. TrainerRoad Suggested FTP = 222.