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Turbo 'real' session?

I've done mostly interval sessions on my Turbo Trainer so far, mainly with the help of my club and Spinervals.

However, inspired by Treefrogs 60km in 1:20 session ('What training have you done today' Thread), I'm interested in a session that will emulate riding on the road.

I'm aware that being on a Turbo can never be the same as putting in the road miles, however I would like to replicate the effort involved.

So I'm after a session that will replicate Olympic distance (40km).

Is it just a matter of getting it on with it and going as hard as I can, or is there another way?



  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    I'm a bit flattered that I've inspired someone - My take no prisoners approach usually frightens people!

    Anyway the 60kMs started from trying to emulate a tri race and after a bit of experimentation of trying to get the work rate/endurance balance right I settled on 60kM. I found the 40kM too easy and too short and found that the 60 kM actually stretched me. I started logging average speed as it is a real and live piece of data during the session; ie if I'm aiming for 44kMh and am on 42kMh then I'm losing and need to press on. Ideally I would like to see the progress of speed during the session, but I'm past all that now! However in the good ones I've noticed that I started sub final average( -2 to -3kMh) and finished very fast (+5 to +10kMh)

    As far as real riding is concerned these sessions have been a most useful preparation for riding Dolomite and Alpine passes, as well as improving my brute bike fitness. They have had minimal effect on improving my 10mile tt results for that I think you need to do specific intervals

  • Treefrog, How do you know if the resistance you are cycling against is comparable to that of the road? I thought I was doing pretty well on my turbo until I went out on the road the other day, and found that what I've been doing on the turbo was easy compared to a road ride!
  • agent_tiagent_ti Posts: 306
    Think it depends on the turbo really. I find that when i go out on the road, my speed is about 5-10km/h quicker on the road than on the turbo for the same sort of effort
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    I equate it to the road by feel, I know its not scientific but I think its' quite close - at least all my cycling friends agree.

    I have the gearing at 53 / 14 on 170 cranks (my tri & road bikes are all 172.5) it does not seem to make pedalling any easier or harder.The turbo is a 2004 Elite mag travel and is permanently set at 2 on the adjuster. The bike lives in the turbo fulltime and I always ensure that the tyre is at 110psi.

    The one area where the turbo trainer differs from reality is obvious - you are not subjected to gradient, wind, poor surface, and other weather conditions. I think this works on two levels...

    1. Psychological - you can set your mind to the task and it becomes a bit of a no brainer just get on there and churn it out faster than the last time

    2. The consistant effort allows all the systems in the body to work at an uninterrupted rhythm and this lends itself to sustained effort at high workload.

    I think that when an athlete has to constantly adapt and re-adapt to variations in surface, weather gradient etc that it has a toll on his output.

    Also this consistancy equates very well to the long steep mountain passes.

  • al_fordal_ford Posts: 119
    I use a Cyclceops fluid 2 and struggle to maintain an average above 30 km/h.

    I'm a reasonable cyclist and my 40km split for olympic tri is around 1:05-1:10 - quicker than on the turbo.

    As treefrog says, I guess it's down to feel. I suppose I'll have to push harder on the turbo, maybe I've been slacking, all that sweat makes me think I'm working hard.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    I almost forgot .... this might be significant .... Most passes are 15 kM average long and I normally average abot an hour a pass so my the miracle of mathematics I average 15kMh on a pass. I suppose what I'm trying to get across is that 45kmh on a turbo possibly equates to 15kMh on a long mountain pass!

    Does this help or does it make things worse?
  • sfullersfuller Posts: 628
    The Turbo is difficult to reflect a real road ride, i find it is more a tool to build/work on specific areas.... eg. fitness, strength, force.... I try not to think about equating it to a road ride but just compare each turbo session to see if im improving.
  • GHarvGHarv Posts: 456
    For my 2 peneth a bit like Treefrog i had to go on feel. When i set my turbo up i had spent a bit of time trying to get used to what speed i did in each gear and the kind of effort i put in on the road.

    When i hooked up the turbo i got Mrs Gharv to alter the resistence until i could get roughly the same speed/effort/gear ratio going.

  • Thanks everyone![:D]

    I've got a CycleOps Mag which claims to have 5 levels of resistance but I've never been able to tell the difference![&:]

    Will give this all a bash on Sunday morning.

    Combined with HR I'm sure I can come up with something.

  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    I don't know whether its just my unit but my cycleops mag seems to be way harder than the road. I would say it was akin to a slight headwind! But its ok cos it makes the road feel easier! Not that I can do anything on it at the mo with this dam fracture!
  • THE YEOTHE YEO Posts: 20
    No one has mentioned the TACX FLOW turbo trainer. Once you've warmed it up you can then calibrate it to the road. It's attached to the mains and you cycle up to 30kph and then it asks you to stop and the rate to which the wheel slows down then tells you to increase or decrease the resistance on the wheel - you then repeat until you get it to zero.

    this way you know every session is comparable to the last. then you monitor cadance, hr and watts more than speed. my coach who tests athletics / cyclists in Kingston uni lab states that the FLOW is between 5 - 10 watts higher, so as long as everything is correct you can get a fairly accurate ride to the road.
  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    how long should the back wheel spin for once you've stopped pedaling? mine always stops pretty quick!
  • Unless you have the TACX FLOW i'm unsure to be fair. As once you hit 30km it tells you to stop peddling and then once it slows down, it gives you a reading of - or + and then you just adjust the wheel at the back and do it again until you get 0

    if the weather looks mega nasty, then i'll be in the garage for 80km rather than hitting Box Hill for 6 reps = so i'll time it so that you can have a rough idea.

    That was always my issue with other turbo trainers, that you never know if you're selling out or mannin' up regarding resistance.
  • sfullersfuller Posts: 628
    The cyclops fluid resistance increase with the gears... so if you just shift up you could make it solid hard!
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