We’ve all heard for years about the importance of indoor training, the pros do it year round, so it must be good but as we all know, too much of anything is a bad thing, but why?
Lets talk about the positives of the turbo first:
- Structure – You can build, follow and progress a very tailored program of sessions to build your power score (FTP).
- More bang for your buck – You are always pedalling, getting more out of the time spent training.
- Time saving – Get home, kit on, off you go.
- Safety – You’re not going to get knocked off, although I have heard of a handful of turbo related injuries and they tend to be worse than crashes! But we’ll say it’s a fair bit safer.
- Time specific – Puncture proof, and navigation isn’t a problem so you finish at the time you planned.
- Group rides – Yes, the new tech allows you to meet up and ride with all of your friends, wherever they are.
- Competitive aspect – Leader boards, live statistics of all your opponents and, as of recently, real life Ironman World Champs slots can be gained virtually! I know!
So why would you ever ride outside? The last point gives a little hint.
In the future things may be different but for the moment all the training, sweat, endless ours of grind in your garage chasing jerky figures on a screen you permanently borrow from you kids room leads to one place…….racing on the open road.
Turbo sessions are good, but not essential…
Contrary to what the number nerds would have you believe it is possible to get from A to B quicker than someone who has a higher FTP than you. I’ve seen people on club rides, especially in Spring, rock up fresh from a Winter on the turbo, humble bragging about how they’ve bumped up their FTP by 30W, only to be hanging off the back getting dropped by the old boys who’ve just been doing Winter miles and a few hills for the last few months. Why? Because there’s more to riding a bike than power.
Gear selection, cadence, judging wind strength and direction, picking a wheel, speed in and out of corners, cornering confidence, when to get out of the saddle, fuelling, kit choice, the list is endless and it all adds up to free watts, the things the other person has spent hours striving for, slumped over their handlebars in a sweaty mess in their kitchen.
The moral of this cautionary tale? Turbo sessions are good, but not essential and must always be accompanied with road riding. In Summer you should be doing almost all your riding out on the road, you can still tailor your sessions and you’ll make yourself a lot quicker in the long run.