Yes, we know you all miss cycling on the open roads. Things we all took for granted with such care-free lives.
Some cyclists have been keeping active, making progress and even getting competitive, by cycling on trainers in the virtual world. Never thought we would be so happy to get on our trainers, did we?
IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships qualifier Sue Kay and her triathlete friends have been “gathering” to cycle online. She shares some tips with ToughASIA.
ToughASIA: What can triathletes and cyclists do at home for cycling workouts?
Sue Kay: Triathletes and cyclists who have been training for a while would have a few essential training tools prepared at home. Things like a bicycle trainer, free weights, and maybe even a treadmill.
Some are lucky to have access to a condominium pool, or have an endless pool installed at their homes. I am ever jealous of those with an endless pool, but for humble folks like me, there’s a thing called stretch cords that we can use to for dry land swim drills.
ToughASIA: Can you give us some examples of what type of trainers and online software to use?
Sue Kay: I am currently using the Elite Direto Smart Trainer; you can get this from your local bike shops. There are so many brands of indoor turbo trainers. There are the smart trainers that you can use with online training apps: TACX, Wahoo Kikr, Magene Gravat, or the regular trainers such as the Minoura B60.
In our ever connected sports community, we have a lot of options when it comes to online training platforms. Coaches will give daily training programs through online platforms such as Training Peaks, Today’s Plan and Training Tilt. There are also a lot of apps out there that offer simulations including Zwift, Trainer Road and Rouvy.
Plus, we can train AND “meet” new people over the globe from the comfort of our saddle.
I have been training with Zwift for almost a year now and I am very happy with it despite a steep monthly subscription fee. If you have a foot pod, you can even use Zwift Run so you run in the virtual world of Watopia. These online platforms really do make long training hours more exciting, engaging and bearable.
ToughASIA: How many cyclists can be hooked up in each online session and how do you motivate one another?
Sue Kay: I can only speak for Zwift. It allows for a maximum of 50 persons per group ride. But those who are not invited to the Meetup can still join in the ride. There’s a built-in chat function in the app; that’s how we communicate with other riders. If you are riding with a coach, or have subscribed to monthly training programs with a coach, you can actually load these programs onto Zwift or any other cycling app.
If you are cycling with a group, you can feed off one another’s enthusiasm and grit. Today, we did a 4-hour ride on a difficult Zwift course called the Mega Pretzel. With 1600m elevation gain, the ride does get a little mental. Riding with a group makes the pain – physical and mental – that much more bearable.
We keep one another motivated. It is too easy to quit a virtual ride because you are already home! All you have to do is log out of the app. But having those friends who break a big ride down to smaller chunks – 10km to go! Then let’s get 100km!” – will tempt the competitive spirit in you to just stick around a little longer.
ToughASIA: Any additional advice or tips you would like to share?
Sue Kay: Ever since the nationwide lockdown, we have been training indoors a lot more. One thing you instantly realise is that there is no coasting; you have to always be pedalling!
I am the first to remind the group to pace themselves. Understand the course that we’re about to tackle, then pace your ride accordingly.
Another thing is fuelling. We fuel for an indoor training session just like how we’d fuel for an outdoor training.
We eat before a session and more importantly, DURING the session itself. Fuelling constantly, taking in calories and fluids.
Finally, temperature. Keep cool the room you are training in. Or place a standing fan in front of you, it will help a lot! We don’t feel it when we’re riding outside, because we are moving at such speeds on the road. The wind we create cools our body down. But when we are training indoors, in a static position, you will definitely notice a dramatic rise in your body temperature. That’s why a lot of people find it tougher to ride indoors.
With this, your cycling buddies will be wondering how you got so much faster after the lockdown. Get your gear set up to impress!