Hey all – like most triathletes I like new toys!
Especially those that are fresh to the market.
And that will help me get stronger!
After the Cebu 70.3 where I won a small chunk of money – I decided to treat myself to a new indoor trainer!
I killed my beloved Minoura trainer right before the Cebu 70.3 where it lost resistance and would make a VERY loud noises when I was givin’er! Thats a new personal record for me – 9 months to break a trainer!
It did some recherche on which trainer to get next – I felt like I deserved something of good quality because I train A LOT on the trainer! In the end I got the Tacx Booster!
It offers a tone of resistance at low speeds, is much simpler to hook by bike to it and comes with a remote that has 10 levels of resistance!
Even if I lived in Tuscany I would definitely ride the trainer once per week since I can do very specific workouts that allow me to tap into an intensity or power out-put repetitively in a short period of time without any distractions from the circumstances commonly found out on the road – in laymen’s term, it adds a new dimension to my bike training!
This attitude of mine must echo the Canadian winters I spent swimming up and down a pool staring at the black line where you get a few seconds rest between extended efforts; versus running and cycling where long recovery periods between intervals seem to be ‘normal’ in terms of training structure.
When I trained at the Canadian National Triathlon Center in beautifulVictoria B-C as a Junior, I was advised to remove my big chain ring off my winter bike, an 8 speed aluminum Eclipse roadie! So I did and spun my legs EVERY-WHERE for months – which was during the Lance Armstrong era.
I joined group rides such as the Victoria Wheelers weekend rides and would get dropped at first, but I learned to spin for long duration’s and hang on – I was committed and trusted those who advised me. When I was asked what happened to my big ring, I simply said I lost it while going up gullible hill – like lots of my jokes, not all got it…
The results of this experiment unfortunately spoke for themselves…
Just like before, I committed to it but the difference is that I have gotten much stronger since!
While there is a black and white army out there that believes training/ridding at low RPM is both dangerous and un-efficient, there are more than a few reason’s why triathletes will benefit from it!
Triathletes dont/cant ride as much as cyclist. So to build strength, we need to do more resistance orientated training. It will also hugely benefit those who dont have a feel for the pedal and allow those who are ‘bigger’ to maximize what they got
Lower RPM = fewer muscle contractions, less calories burned, lower heart rate and lower core temperature. When it comes to running off the bike, it allows a slight progression in your over all body CADENCE from bike to run as well from using your muscles into using your engine (heart and lungs) for the run with a high turn over!
Of course there are quite a few very good triathletes who both ride/run off the bike very quick and ride a higher RPM – simply put, their engines are far more develop and can maintain a higher intensity for longer duration’s. Unlike age-group athletes and development athletes competing in an extended time trial sandwiched between a swim and a run over challenging terrain and often hazardous weather.
Ridding the trainer allows me to ‘dial in’ my RPM and stick to it without any distraction that may be instigated by geography or the climate. Its also a fully-controllable measurement regardless of the intensity and/or how I feel.
My preferred number for resistance training is 60 RPM because its low, but not to low as to avoid ankle and knee niggles as well to allow a half descent rythym that would other wise be compromised if I go lower…It also makes it EZ to count for those who dont have a cadence monitor, 1 RPM = 1 second.
While I dont RACE as that low of RPM, it gives me a great bang for my buck in terms of training VALUE, compliments/supports my longer tempo efforts and changes my perception once I ride up a hill!
Some of the greatest cyclist in history use to do tones of low RPM or BIG GEAR training – which often went un-noticed by subjective individuals who watched them RACE at a high RPM on T.V. as it was surely a crucial part of their MIX during THE PROCESS to get at their current level in order to ride a BIG gear at a HIGH cadence!
Take any cyclist who has broken the hour record or tried to – they have done some serious big gear training because the UCI un-fortunately only recognizes when those are done on a boring fixed gear bike…
If they ever change their dinosaur attitude and allow evolution to do its thing – then the hour record would surely get popular again!
The final thing about ridding on the trainer is the ability to spin a very very high RPM – while the benefits are few and far in between it makes a good Ying to the Yang of low RPM training. Especially if you race somewhere that will have a strong tail wind or long downhills!
In the end, there are 3 types of RPM’s: Low RPM – race RPM – High RPM. Obviously the most important one to master is the race RPM as to get a fluid and efficient rythym going but the low RPM allow’s to SUPPORT extended efforts at race RPM as well to be very beneficial over hilly course – same goes for the high RPM, of which can occasional compliment your race RPM by maintaining a bit of SNAP in your legs!
Cycling is a very basic sport bio-mechanically, your range of motion is always the same according to your crank length – regardless your ridding EZ – STEADY – FAST or low – race – high RPM’s uphill or downhill or your feeling great or terrible.
Unlike swimming and/or running where your range of motion constantly changes according to your speed, effort level or if/when your muscles are tighten up…
Thanx to that fact – the major difference is the force applied on the pedals, the size of your engine and how much pain your legs and brain can tolerate. So why not use your time wisely and get good at applying great force on your pedals and teaching yourself how to hurt? We have swimming and running to develop our engines =)