Comparing Different Trainer Selections in TrainerRoad

In TrainerRoad, it’s possible to use virtual power even though if your trainer isn’t supported.

I tested the wattage readings from the selections of Minoura’s trainers at different resistance settings. The speed was around 25 kph and the cadence around 53 RPM. The Minoura M80 trainer was used at the lowest resistance.

Minoura M50/M80/MAG850L

  • Level 1: 53W at 25.0 kph and 53 RPM
  • Level 2: 105W at 25.1 kph and 53 RPM
  • Level 3: 128W at 24.9 kph and 53 RPM
  • Level 4: 146W at 24.9 kph and 53 RPM
  • Level 5: 199W at 25.1 kph and 53 RPM

Minoura 850

  • Level 5: 206W at 25.4 kph and 53 RPM
  • Level 6: 218W at 24.9 kph and 53 RPM

Minoura M80-R/M70-R/B60

Level 0: 121W at 24.9 kph and 53 RPM
Level 1: 143W at 25.0 kph and 53 RPM
Level 2: 161W at 25.2 kph and 53 RPM
Level 3: 185W at 25.1 kph and 53 RPM
Level 4: 194W at 25.0 kph and 53 RPM
Level 5: 206W at 25.1 kph and 53 RPM
Level 6: 218W at 25.0 kph and 53 RPM

The highest settings seemed to match.

I also tested virtual power for my trainer at 46.6 kph and 83 RPM. The power reading was 466W.

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First Fitness (FTP) Test with TrainerRoad’s Virtual Power

Recently, I subscribed for TrainerRoad which estimates your power output based on your speed on a trainer. This was my first assessment.

The app was installed on my Nexus 7 2013 tablet. It used Bluetooth to connect to a Wahoo Blue SC speed and cadence sensor bought from MEC.

The assessment had two 8 minute all out intervals. My FTP was estimated to be 182 watts. Since I felt that I could go longer, I might update it to 3 percent higher for my future workouts. My HR was at least 85% of max HR. I might aim for 90 to 95% next time. My base phase was Sweet Spot which was recommended for most cyclists. After six weeks, I plan on testing my FTP again.

Here’s the screen shots from TrainerRoad.

You can sync your TrainerRoad rides to Strava too.

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The Minoura M80 trainer was used. Thankfully, it was on the list of supported trainers. I bought it on Craigslist for a good deal. I had to install a 700 x 28c or smaller tire on my rear wheel to make it fit. 38c was too wide. I worked out with the highest resistance on the trainer, using my gears to adjust the resistance further during my assessment.

It’s possible to share the same bike, leaving the speed and cadence sensor installed. I recommend installing single sided clipless pedals if you have cycling shoes, and a quick release seat post skewer for easy adjustment. The bike should be multi-speed unless your trainer has adjustable resistance like some smart trainers do.

I use TrainerRoad because amateur athletes improved their fitness levels significantly with the program and you don’t need to buy a power meter which tends to be expensive. Since its target power during its workouts are selected based on your FTP, it reduces the risk of over- and under- training. Unlike Zwift, you don’t need an internet connection to train. You can choose different plans for different goals. It’s $12 per month.

Should Active Commuters Use Heart Rate Monitors

Recently, I started using a heart rate monitor and it made it easier to stay in my preferred heart rate zones during my rides. That’s why I think a heart rate monitor is beneficial for those who actively commute.

SS_zones

Without a HRM, I have a tendency to push too hard or too gently which makes training more difficult increases the risk of overtrain, cause a plateau, and may decrease endurance.

With a HRM, I can stay at my target HR uphill, downhill, in the flats, off-road and with wind. This makes sure that you to get a good work out. If the hill is steep downhill, I feel safer coasting or braking. With my HR at a desired level, I’ll spend more time in my preferred zones. This should improve my stamina and average power. I hope that the improved stamina would be beneficial outside of cycling. I use the Soleus 3.0 GPS watch to measure my heart rate.

A well rounded plan should be used for improving fitness. A HRM can help you achieve your fitness goals. You could use zone 1 for recovery, warm ups and cool downs, zone 2 to improve your endurance, and the other zones for intervals.

With a HRM, you can train with whatever plan you like while commuting. It can help you build your base fitness.

I recommend HRM’s that are universal because when you replace their watches or computers, they can still pair. It’s important that the monitor is giving accurate readings.

I think active commuters should use a HRM to achieve their fitness goals. It can make training more efficient, improve average power, endurance, speed, and fitness, prevent injuries, and even improve health.

Using Exercise Bikes for Fitness Testing (FTP)

This week, I estimated my fitness level with a spin bike at Kitsilano Community Centre.

Once you know your FTP, you can calculate your power zones for training and pacing.

In the community centre, I used both their Life Fitness upright exercise bike and one of their Keiser spin bikes.

The LF bikes measure heart rate, average cadence, and power, and allow logging your data through an online account. I used an LF bike at a warm up pace. For some reason, my legs were tired. Maybe it wasn’t properly adjusted. In case you’re wondering, they have recumbent bikes too.

Here are some screen shots from an LF bike.

 

 

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Today, I used one of their Keiser spin bikes. They measure cadence and power but don’t seem to have HRM sensors attached which means you may have to bring your own HRM. Both its seat height and fore-aft position can be adjusted. They even have single sided clipless pedals with toe clips on the other side. They’re more confortable than the LF upright bikes.

With that bike, I warmed up then pushed my heart rate around 165 to 170. My guess was that my average power was 160W for 20 minutes, which means the FTP was calculated to be 152W, which is average. My average HR was 164. I did push hard before the test for five minutes which may have affected the results.

I thought the result was surprisingly low because I rode my bike to work around 45 minutes a day five days a week for more than a year. Maybe I’ve cut back too much on cycling for half a year or never trained effectively.

 

 

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From the following links, you can find charts showing power vs duration and fitness levels:

https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/power-profiling/

See this chart for 20 minute power.

Here are my power zones. Here’s the link for the calculator: http://datacranker.com/cycling-power-zones/.

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Compared to bicycles, the exercise bikes felt like they had more resistance maybe because I’m so used to coasting. Without a heart rate monitor or power meter, it’s easier to overestimate your effort based on feel. I have a better idea of what it’s like not to coast and how to properly pace myself when cycling. When I’m not doing intervals, I try to keep my heart rate between 120 and 130.

In the future, I plan on measuring my LTHR since I train with a HRM. I also plan on doing interval training which by the way can boost your fitness in VO2 max significantly in only eight weeks!

Update: I have calculated my HR zones.

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Starting Polarized Training Easy Bike Rides

I’m starting polarized training for my bike rides. It’s supposed to be more effective for improving fitness levels.

I started the new method on August 14. Before that, I pushed too hard for most of my rides, possibly causing overtraining and not improving.

You can read more about the method from Bike Parts Review.

With polarized training, around 80% of your workouts should be low intensity or zone 1 and around 20% should be high intensity or zone 4 or 5 after being properly recovered. Tempo heart rate zone or zone 3 is discouraged because it’s too intense for high volume and too gentle for maximum fitness improvements.

If you have an active commute, four days might be easy and one day might be hard. According to one of the replies, this method is best when the volume is at least 15 hours.

For my easy workouts, I try to keep my heart rate in zone 1 which is below 70% of maximum. Zone 1 is commonly recommended for warm-ups and active recovery. It’s important to avoid coasting because you’ll spend less time exercising.

I haven’t done my hard workouts yet. The heart rate should be in zone 4 or 5 which is at least 90% of maximum with rests between intervals. For longer intervals, an exercise bike is recommended for avoiding interruptions caused by traffic lights and stop signs.

I think the method makes sense and the articles are very encouraging.

Have you done polarized training? Do you have any advice for the method? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Can Sensory Overload Affect Traffic Safety?

When I get sensory overload, I feel the need to be more cautious in traffic.

In Downtown Vancouver, I had a close call last year. Shortly after work, I was making a left turn from Beatty St onto a bike lane on Smithe St and a car going straight had to swerve and I braked when I noticed it at the last moment. Thankfully, the light just turned green at that time since slower traffic meant there was more time to react.left turn.png

It’s possible that the road markings were confusing at that time. I was in the green left turn lane turning into a bike lane on the left side of the road. It was my first time left turning in that intersection. Beatty St now has a protected bike lane.

I most likely had sensory overload or a partial shutdown at that time. I only started wearing hearing protection for suspected triggers this year.

It not only affects cycling but also driving and crossing streets when there’s sensory overload.

I recommend taking quieter streets if possible, being extra cautious when you think you have sensory overload, avoiding left turns on busy streets if possible, using bike lanes instead of busy traffic, avoiding the triggers, and studying the route ahead of time to improve safety.

You might be able to predict shutdowns with noise levels, exhaustion, and a change of route or routine.

You can try hearing protection at work or school to reduce sensory overload. You might be able to find products that can effectivly block wind noise. You can try making them.

Do you or someone you know find traffic safety affected by sensory load? Do you have any advice? If so, please share your comments below.