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Off season training


This topic contains 74 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  singleandfixed 11 months, 4 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 75 total)

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    Any motivational updates from others undertaking the goal of improving their fitness in the off season? Did anyone begin a program in the new year?

    Personally, my training is coming along pretty well. More slowly than i’d like, but I have always found this approach works best for long term goals. My mission is for a long healthy life first and foremost. I want to be riding well into my 70s and 80s. Maybe not on a downhill bike but It wont be an e-bike :).

    It’s an eye-opener to revisit your fitness after a long season of riding, particularly with regards to strength, I was cooked.

    Last year was a pretty banner one with lots of fun rides and trips. Really looking forward to this season with some new found fitness. I’m still slow but I’ll enjoy the rides that much more and be able to go longer and harder on some new adventures. It’s about quality of life and quality time in the saddle.

    I have completed the first six weeks of base training and am now onto the next six. Build phases will follow. I have definitely put aside days on the trainer for fun outside rides but picked up the missed days without missing a beat. That’s added a lot of extra training stress to some weeks, with no days off, but I don’t feel overtrained. Power is up and weight is down which is what I was after. They say to expect 1-3% increase in power and I got a 10% bump, so I am happy with that. With weight coming off as well, I get an improved power to weight ratio. Lets just say, mine was not optimal, haha. Down side is workouts have become much harder since plugging in the new numbers. I’m down another 10lbs, which puts me at 45lbs total since I began this journey a few years ago. Even looking back to recently completing the Singletrack 6, I don’t know how I did it carrying around an extra 15lbs over the 12,000m of climbing we did during the six days. My poor heart.

    I’m keeping the strength training up in an effort to minimize muscle loss, which is inevitable with any weight loss. Fat and muscle come and go together and all one can do is try to manage the ratio as best they can. Old injuries are feeling better and mobility is greatly improved with regular core work and stretching.

    Hopefully others are getting pumped for this year. Days are getting longer and dirt season is just around the corner. #ridingfeelsgood


    Renegade Hardware

    As you know, 2017 was pretty meh for rides and fitness, but I’m good to go for 2018. Gym starts Feb, will be my usual routine of heavy lifting (power and Olympic), and yoga/plyo stuff. I found that combo made for my fittest season and I look to replicate that again and be back to being able to drop into any ride or race and do well. I’d like to get a XC or gravel bike to do more tours, Marc if you’d like company for those LMK. Should be able to grab something soon (just dropped a ton on a PRS build so it’s gotta wait).

    On the side, I’ll be picking up Kali/Kalis with a master who happens to be right by the Don, and a former Trail Blazers regular. I used to spend time learning BJJ and MT but now since I make knives I figure a Kali combative course would be apt.

    Here’s to 2018! can’t wait to get this back in motion and my body ready for my 40s. haha.



    Stoked that you’re on the mend for 2018 @renegade-hardware Lots of time to get ready for dirt season still. After a bad season usually follows a stellar one so here’s to that! Big compound movements will get you back in shape quickly.

    I’m always up for some company on my big loops, they’re chill and social in nature. All about getting in the miles and exploring.

    A dedicated gravel, CX or HT 29/29+ bike is the ticket. I could never go without that sort of option again in Ontario. Even a fat bike frame can be built up into a mean 29/29+ ride. Sub 22lbs if its a carbon frame. Good for gravel, bikepacking, road, trail and everything in between. The used market is flooded with options. Even a not-so-new-school-geo 29er makes a great all-season, all-road machine. Short reaches on older models make them a good choice for drop bar as well if that’s your thing. We can save the bike talk for another thread 🙂 but yeah, i’d be stoked to show you some mixed surface loops. Plan to go longer and further next year. Maybe northern Ontario into northern Quebec even.



    I haven’t set any firm goals yet for fitness that are SMART, but I’ve changed up my approach this year.

    I still have the trainer set up, but spending more time on XC skis. It’s fun because I am learning a new sport, and it’s also quite demanding physically, far more than I expected. Also out for multi-hour walks and snowshoes on nearby trails and escarpment. Once I get the battery replaced in my phone, I’ll start tracking this stuff, but for now, it dies after about 10 minutes in the cold while running GPS.

    I’ve also got some Ryan Leech yoga videos happening to help stretch stuff out and improve mobility.

    I’m trying to set aside money for a new bike this year, so any gym stuff has to be super cheap. I’ve got a door frame pull up bar that I use for doing pull ups with leg raises thrown in. Pushups on the floor in between (currently at 30 of each per day).

    I’m not about to go spend on weights, so I’ve dragged one of my summer tires from my car out to use. It’s a bit clumsy because it’s big, so I am working out how best to use it. But it’s free.

    And yeah, the trainer is still set up in the corner, right where I left it. Ha!



    Nothing will get you fit in a hurry like the pain sticks. Way better than being indoors as well. Our freeze/thaw cycles make it a challenge here which is why so many of us bank trainer hours with outdoor activity when conditions permit.

    Like the tires approach, Rocky style. Looking forward to some adventures with ya this summer @dean-campbell



    After almost a year on the sidelines due to back injury I am finally spinning the legs on a trainer and it feels great. Back is not 100%, but I’m learning ways to keep active and avoid further aggravation.

    I hate spinning, but will admit that Zwyft provides enough crumbs to keep me going. Did my first spin with a buddy and it was pretty cool, 30min blew right by surprisingly quickly.

    Lots of work to do, such an extended break really shows in the legs 🙁



    @fasttimes – what are running for a trainer? I’m looking for feedback on smart trainers…. more like someone to talk me out of the Tacx Neo tech porn and reassure me that the Flux is more than enough. Just hearing my buddy’s bike sound like the terrain when we spin together online is so cool…

    Cycle ops fuid to hit the buy sell soon… ha!


    Neville Park

    @whynot – I have a post for you but it keeps getting locked in spam.

    The long and short is – I started zwift’ing on a budget after a bit of a rib injury from Joyride early dec.

    Dumb mag trainer, cheap speed and cadence sensors bluetoothing to iOS and airplay to apple TV.
    I used my 2008 Fuji track SS. Now a loaner trek 520.

    Zwift is amazing. literally amazing, why don’t the schools have this set up for kids ??

    My friend has Tacx neo with Cevelo carbon rigged up… he is on a ski trip and lent me the tacx neo for a couple weeks to compare and contrast …

    To be honest my $300 set up is 98% as enjoyable, workable and most importantly effective as his $2000 set up.

    Yes – i don’t have the rumbling on the cobbles or the freewheeling on the downs or the auto resistance motor for going up grades.

    But I have consistent metrics to improve my efforts, i have cash in my pocket and i have tangible gains in my power output (FTP, watts/sec, avg watt/kg)

    As for “true watts” sure, my dumb trainer will never be accurate without a power meter … but it is consistent which to me is the only thing needed imo. I’m not a roadie and don’t race or compete on zwift so no fear of weight doping, etc.

    I did spend the time to compare the power curves of as many magnetic trainers as I could find with photos of the resistance mech to see what uses what and hopefully get a better match than the “generic trainer” section in zwift, which is limited to 400watt output. I found that my cheap amazon trainer uses the same mech as the Giant mag trainers, used that setting and the watts feel more “real”.

    Power Curves

    Will report back in two weeks after using the neo a lot more to see if the above holds true.

    Dont fall for the hype – fall in love with watopia mtn!

    1 user thanked author for this post.



    I bought the Tacx Flux last year around September and firmly believe it is the best $1000 I’ve spent on cycling. Smart trainers are the way to go! To date I have nearly 2000 km on it and I enjoyed every bit of it. I have my old triple ring mountain bike mounted on it with 42/11 max gearing and it works great. Lately I’ve been doing some stage races and can place in the top 15-20% with this setup.

    It has its technical limitations like max gradient of 10% and 1500W ceiling. You need to be a world class athlete to want a higher wattage ceiling. Gradient feel is all virtual anyways and Zwift takes care of that. The max resistance provided by the Flux is much more than my legs can handle. There is no downhill simulator (freewheel doesn’t move on it’s own if going down) which is a small compromise.

    Short answer: No, you don’t need to go all the way to a Tacx Neo to enjoy Zwift to the fullest. Flux is a very capable trainer. High profile reviewers like DC Rainmaker and GP Lama can attest to that.

    2 users thanked author for this post.


    Thanks a lot guys! @soban @nevillepark

    I’m currently running an older CycleOps Fluid 2. It does the trick, but I have noticed that keeping the tire pressure perfectly consistent is key to getting good stats to monitor training results.

    So, down to the Flux or the Elite Direto, which is rated to be a bit quieter, accurate power reading, and 4% higher climbing grade. Time to go shopping…

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Went with the Elite Direto. Love it. Smooth, easy to set up and use. Stable, great response when you put the power down.



    Solid choice, i’m sure you’ll be happy with that.

    I went with the Wahoo Kickr over the Neo mostly because of the deal I got and that it seemed to be pretty solid and bomb proof. Neo seemed a bit gimmicky. I don’t ride Zwift really so the virtual experience is not key to my training. I only require the power to be stable and accurate enough to match the program intervals. Kickr also make a climbing block to simulate climbing, but I never opted to add it. Also wanted to easily be able to use a variety of rear axle widths, most do this but I like how it works on the Kickr. It’s been great, zero complaints.

    Coming into week 12 but having to adjust things a bit as I am going to Cali for a press camp and will need to hang with some fast mofos. My plan didn’t have me hitting dirt until April, doh!

    I’ve managed to get some solid fatbike rides in and still find that even with all the trainer work, nothing tops an actual outdoor ride. I think that is greatly due to the fact that most of the programs are based around high RPM road work which, while a great workout, doesn’t always convert to long, low RPM, MTB style rides. It does all click after a few outdoor rides but there is an adjustment for sure.

    Also concerned about endurance as my longest indoor rides are 90min. 90 painful, near or above threshold minutes mind you, but short by MTB ride standards. I did get out to test the endurance a few weeks ago and was able to bang out my 100km loop feeling “ok”. Endurance is the hardest to build but easiest to maintain so I’m happy to see that i have kept some of that despite not doing much to sustain it. Thumbs up to the sweetspot base program on that front.

    When I get back from Cali i’ll be into the build phase of my program, gonna feel that I think. Either way, it will be great to ride on dirt in the sun for a few days..



    @fasttimes Enjoy Cali! The Kickr climb system is pretty sweet. Necessary? hardly, but super cool.

    I just started a base program. So hard to stay on it… I’ve never trained at specific output levels, it’s a learning curve for sure! I always seem to ride around 85rpm and I’ve quickly learned I’m stuck in no-man’s land, and now using a heart rate monitor I can see it, I it smack dab in the middle of aerobic and anaerobic zones.

    Anyway… here’s my setup now.

    I escaped to the shop this weekend and fab’ed up a laptop stand that’s more comfy to use. Works great, needs some paint. The fan is crucial – forget how much the moving air cools you while riding outside. The mat came from a sweet scrap score – a buddy hooked me up with a roll of the material used for luggage conveyors – great protection for the carpet and it has enough rigidity to stabilize the trainer/bike.



    Nice setup, you’ll get the hang of training with power soon enough. From what I have read, it’s a more reliable metric to base a program off of. I still check my HR every morning to see how hard I should go but I use power as far as my workout is concerned.

    While in base training, work on single leg drills and calming the hips. You really find out how much your core is involved when you try to perfect your pedal stroke. 85RPM is good, I wouldn’t go lower for most workouts unless it’s a dedicated low cadence effort, such as replicating sustained climb.

    The good news is, like any program, the beginning is when you see the most gains. That will help keep you motivated and on track. Speaking of On Track, that’s my go-to for on bike entrainment. There is a decent amount of BTS stuff and knowing how hard they work keeps me focused on my goals.

    I like this series Levy is doing, it’s nuts to see how strong Rude is. To have that kind of power behind the skills he’s got, no wonder he’s on the top step. XC guys may have more power by some measure but doubt they could muscle down a course like Rude. Lethal combo.


    Neville Park

    So after a handful of rides on the dumb mag trainer and the Tacx neo i’m back to report some findings.

    400KM – 6125m – 15hrs ride time. On a 3×9 Trek 520 XL
    some workouts, some fun rides, some w/kg races with others in the world.

    1) watt for watt – I was pretty close calibrating the mag trainer to the neo. Meaning i wasn’t struggling too much or too little going from one to the other. Stoked, as i now have a new MAP and FTP number to play with.

    2) ERG mode used on workouts is THE SAME as a dumb trainer. Forget the auto watt output feature, it literally feels the same as the dumb trainer…just spin up watts

    3) direct drive vs wheel on – negligible at best. Both systems have a bit of wiggle, but after seeing rocker plates becoming a thing, that wiggle is a good thing.

    4) the Neo doesn’t calc’ cadence! For 2K you gotta still go out and buy a cadence sensor.

    5) Auto grade resistance is amazing – here is where the $1700 difference is for me. using the visual cues in zwift with the maps and auto grade increases feels … like riding a bike up hill. slow cadence, unrelenting gravity … Its just really hard to simulate on a dumb trainer.

    So my thoughts: For 10%-15% the cost of a direct drive smart trainer the dumb mag trainer has added a very fun, interactive and useful tool for training. regardless of the trainer set up – Zwift is so amazing. What a treat for the off season. GCN workouts help’d a newbie like me understand the intent of training when viewed in conjunction with their youtube.

    BTW – my zwift set up: note the iphone on the bars airplaying to apple tv… all about the big views in zwift!


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