Thursday, 3 October 2013

virtual cycling with a turbo trainer workout creator

Trainerroad workout creator
I've set up the recently adapted silver bike as the basis for turbo training during the winter months. The Doubletap indexed gears with the little number windows work a treat and give an extra feedback useful for turbo sessions. The leather saddle has lost its over-slipperyness since I re-Proofided it.

I've already clocked a few hundred road miles on it since I swapped the gear system over, and I've left a heavy duty TACX skewer in the back wheel to make it easy to pop on and off the turbo.
Hybrid bike gear swap 11:24 -> 11:32
One day I'll draw the schematic of the turbo set-up, which uses a TACX wireless Bushido trainer, which is ANT+ enabled, a Garmin Edge 810 to read the speed, cadence, heart rate and power and a TACX Head Unit to set gradients and generally vary the effort required. It really is a wireless setup, with the Bushido generating its own power from the pedalling.
tacx-trainers-bushido-brake
I've also got a PC as part of the set up, which can read the ANT+ signals and commune to the house wi-fi. This is handy because I can then use the immense TACX TTS4 software. This can use video, google or virtual routes and varies the load to the Bushido brake automatically as the route is traversed. The little video illustrates some of the features and also why it can take the tedium out of turbo training.

As well as TACX TTS4, an altogether simpler environment, ideally suited to parallel watching a movie is Trainerroad.

Trainerroad can be used on a PC/Mac full screen to run a series of intervals, or the playback of the intervals can be run horizontally across the bottom of the screen. It works fine with the Bushido and the Garmin and can even send a virtual power calculation back from the PC to the Garmin.

On the PC screen there's a space for a full screen graph of the training workout or to make a space to watch a video. I've been re-watching Weeds and Green Wing.

One day I'll provide some comments about some of the training videos that work with Trainerroad, but today I thought I'd mention my latest quick experiment, which is to create my own interval training scripts.

There's an option in Trainerroad to create custom workouts, and they use Functional Threshold Power rather than an absolute value when the workouts are being created.

If that all sounds like mumbo-jumbo, it's to do with the point up to which one can exercise aerobically. At the threshold power, glycogen starts to gets converted to support the effort and one's exercise goes anerobic with lactic acid accumulating in the blood (and accompanying huffing and puffing sounds). The little video shows how to create the custom workouts.

The trick with the exercise programmes is to do base training in the sweet spot around Functional Threshold Power. Just under and it's good for endurance, just over and it's building power.

There's a load more numbers too, like the Intensity Factor of an Exercise and the Training Stress Score (the load that the exercise creates on the individual). I wouldn't dream of creating my own plans if I hadn't already used the system for a while. The basic system includes training plans for Base Workouts and beyond to Intermediate levels. I guess any sane person would start by using some of those. I know last Winter I went through the entire Base and Intermediate plan set (50+ different routines).

The point of all of this is to make any time spent in hamster wheel mode productive rather than just pedalling. The programmed routes from Trainerroad and TACX help to do this.

For me, a big advantage of Trainerroad is its reliability. I'm running it on a Windows PC in the garage and it always starts, identifies all the gadgets, creates the plans and saves everything back to the Cloud at the end of the session. It doesn't mind whether you run it with music from iTunes, DVDs, Netflix or integrated training videos from the likes of Sufferfest and RideFit.

In the winter months I'm sure I'll appreciate that reliability.

In other news I've refitted mudguards and lights to the orange bike ready for seasonal duties.

2 comments:

Pat said...

Apparently I need to get an Adobe Flash Player - whatever that is.

rashbre said...

Pat Don't worry - I think the Adobe Flash Player was updating itself all over the internet a few days ago.