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  1. #1
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    gaging time on the trainer vs road time ,, any thoughts ?

    i have a cyclops mag trainer, i am using dvd's also. what i have been doing is just cranking the resistance all the way up elevating the wheel on front and spending 2hrs on it 3 -4 days a week . by the way my legs feel when i am done after 30 miles and doing intervals with the dvd's i feel like i did a good ride. i have noticed when i get out on the road things feel really good. anyone else take this approach? i have just been concerned with going to light on the trainer , and when weather permits riding that i will end up getting dropped. i alos dont want to overtrain. any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Mettle to the Pedals Dewbert's Avatar
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    I don't have any scientific advice or information to offer, but I'm doing almost the same thing 2 hrs on the trainer in front of the TV 3-4 times per week. A couple of days ago I did a 30 mile ride (a real ride, outside even!) and it took around 2 hours. Judging on how I felt only, the 'real ride' was less of a workout than 2 hours on the trainer, so I'm thinking that the time on the trainer is a (monotonous and terrible, but) pretty good workout.
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  3. #3
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    "they say" that trainer time vs. road time is about .75 to 1. So if you want to put in two hours of road time, you "only" need to do 1.5 hrs. trainer time. That's because there's no resting on a trainer, and your HR tends to run lower because of less arousal, so if you're doing it by HR zone, you'll tend to work your legs a little harder on the trainer. I think that's about right. Count the time, not the miles.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
    "they say" that trainer time vs. road time is about .75 to 1. So if you want to put in two hours of road time, you "only" need to do 1.5 hrs. trainer time. That's because there's no resting on a trainer, and your HR tends to run lower because of less arousal, so if you're doing it by HR zone, you'll tend to work your legs a little harder on the trainer. I think that's about right. Count the time, not the miles.
    "They" don't live in Manitoba! There's no resting in Manitoba either ... if you want to go anywhere on the bicycle there, you've got to keep pedalling, or you'll come to a standstill. There are no hills!

    IMO, riding outside is harder than riding inside. My reason for that is because outside I have to deal with weather (wind, rain, hail, snow, etc.), with poor road conditions where I have to dodge potholes, traffic, etc., and where there are hills of various shapes and sizes, often combined with wind.

    And just to back up my opinion, check the records for the "distance covered" in 24-hours on the bicycle. Those who have cycled inside for 24-hours have blown away those who cycle outside for 24-hours. Why? It's easier!
    http://www.ultracycling.com/records/timedrecords.html

    Based on those records, the most distance covered outside is about 521 miles in 24 hours. The most "distance" covered inside is about 853 miles. Therefore, it's about a 0.6:1 ratio ... where every hour on the trainer equals about 36 minutes outside (if my calculations are correct).

    Personally, I just count it on a 1:1 ratio.

  5. #5
    Member JollyMon's Avatar
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    Having been to Winnipeg in November, I can understand Machka's sentiment. The answer depends on where you ride. Here in NC, for me, general road time is much easier on the heart than on my trainer or rollers. The worst thing I have to worry about on the rollers, however, is falling over sideways and looking like an idiot. On the road, I am sure my heart rate goes up at least 5 bpm due to cars getting a bit too close for my liking.
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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    "They" don't live in Manitoba! <snip> And just to back up my opinion, check the records for the "distance covered" in 24-hours on the bicycle. Those who have cycled inside for 24-hours have blown away those who cycle outside for 24-hours. Why? It's easier!
    Yes, but both records were set in 24 hours! Time, not miles! How 'bout we ask each record setter how their legs felt afterwards? Machka was talking about riding centuries on her trainer or rollers. So if she usually rides 5.5 hr. centuries, then to duplicate the feat, she'd have to get on the trainer and ride for 5.5 hrs. Frankly, I'd rather shoot myself. I'd complain to the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights or whatever. Give me the open road any day!

    Not to be argumentative, though. I see her point. It's hilly where I live. We usually average about 50' of climbing per mile of riding. It's funny about that. We'll be riding along on the flat and I'll just ache for a hill so I can get my blood up, get a good pump, and have some fun! My legs seems to need that to function. Poor Machka!

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Those are 24-hour TimeTrials/Challenges ... they are designed to see how far people can go in 24 hours (I've raced two of them, but haven't come anywhere near to setting any records!) I'd venture a guess that each record holder probably felt about the same because each would have been putting all his effort into the attempt.

    I will agree that riding on the road feels easier MENTALLY .... usually - although riding the Last Chance 1200K had all the excitement of riding for 90 hours on a trainer. The most I've put in on a trainer was 4 hours ... mentally it was a challenge, but physically it was easier than 4 hours outside. And if the weather doesn't improve by this weekend, I'll have to do this coming Sunday's century on the trainer ..... my centuries normally take me 7-8 hours outside (I wish they only took 5.5 hours!! ), so that'll be 7-8 hours on the trainer!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    IMO, riding outside is harder than riding inside. My reason for that is because outside I have to deal with weather (wind, rain, hail, snow, etc.), with poor road conditions where I have to dodge potholes, traffic, etc., and where there are hills of various shapes and sizes, often combined with wind.
    My HR is always WAY higher when actually riding the road. There is no question, at least in my case, that outside riding requires more effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bac
    My HR is always WAY higher when actually riding the road. There is no question, at least in my case, that outside riding requires more effort.
    I'd be careful using HR to decide which is more difficult in this situation. HR is just too variable. For example, HR is influenced by temperature, which is hard to keep constant when you're comparing a trainer ride and an outdoors ride. If you could keep the outside temperature constant you wouldn't need a trainer in the first place, which would be nice. A trainer ride can be more difficult or it can be easier. It all depends on how hard you push it.

    Anyway, without getting too far into a trainer vs. road debate, my advice to the OP would be to mix things up a little bit more. Are you always going hard and doing intervals? That may not be an ideal situation, especially at this time of year. Which DVDs do you have?

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Sorry for hijacking the thread ...

    CoachAdams, what sort of long distance cycling events do you coach for? Randonnees? Ultras - 12 & 24 hour events? The RAAM?

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    Are you guys comparing apples to apples far as workouts go? I know for a fact that a 70 min Spinervals DVD gives me a better workout than 70 mins on the road because I can push myself harder on the trainer. If I pushed that hard on the road it would be dangerous.

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    I have started subtracting 5 from all my HR zones when on the trainer.

    It makes me much less likely to take a hacksaw to the trainer after everyride.

    I also cheat a bit on trainer time, i have no set conversion but itll usually be somewhere around .8:1
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  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfrogge
    Are you guys comparing apples to apples far as workouts go? I know for a fact that a 70 min Spinervals DVD gives me a better workout than 70 mins on the road because I can push myself harder on the trainer. If I pushed that hard on the road it would be dangerous.
    First, why would it be dangerous to push yourself that hard on the road?

    Second, I don't know about the others, but I'm not talking about quality of a workout, I'm talking about difficulty level. You just confirmed what I've been saying ... if you pushed yourself on the road as hard as you do on the trainer, so that your workout difficulty levels are equal, you would find the road more difficult. Or in other words, you find it easier to push yourself hard on the trainer than on the road, therefore the road is more difficult. Exactly what I've been saying!

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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    It also depends on the trainer resistance. My Blackburn Fluid seems to be about a 1% slope, my wifes mag trainer is more like a slight downhill slope. Different trainers have differing resistances, rollers are generally the least resistance.
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    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoachAdam
    I'd be careful using HR to decide which is more difficult in this situation. HR is just too variable. For example, HR is influenced by temperature, which is hard to keep constant when you're comparing a trainer ride and an outdoors ride. If you could keep the outside temperature constant you wouldn't need a trainer in the first place, which would be nice. A trainer ride can be more difficult or it can be easier. It all depends on how hard you push it.
    Good post. Yup, I agree that it's all about what you put into the ride/spin. However, my experience is that when comparing apples to apples, a real road ride requires much more effort than the same time on the trainer. Perhaps motivation, and temp are factors? Dunno. However, if my plan is to go hard, I can never get the same workout with a trainer.

  16. #16
    Lanterne Rouge
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    I feel less tired after two hours outside than I do after half an hour inside. Just IMHO and all that crap, but it's partly that I can't stop feeling bored on the trainer. I couldn't do two hours, I would claw my eyes out.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    what i have been doing is just cranking the resistance all the way up elevating the wheel on front and spending 2hrs on it 3 -4 days a week .
    Just because you select a few comments to post doesn't mean anyone knows what you are doing.

    Off hand, spending that much time on exercise sounds like you already have considerable endurance. The idea that you can assign a training volume, or training "value" between to two dissimilar exercise scenarios is silly.

    At least an HR monitor would reveal the nature of cardiovascular stress. Similarly a powermeter could provide some meaningful data. As far as your goofy "dialed up" trainer setup - who knows?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    IMO, riding outside is harder than riding inside. My reason for that is because outside I have to deal with weather (wind, rain, hail, snow, etc.), with poor road conditions where I have to dodge potholes, traffic, etc., and where there are hills of various shapes and sizes, often combined with wind.

    And just to back up my opinion, check the records for the "distance covered" in 24-hours on the bicycle. Those who have cycled inside for 24-hours have blown away those who cycle outside for 24-hours. Why? It's easier!
    http://www.ultracycling.com/records/timedrecords.html
    Machka, the issue wasn't distance, but TIME on the trainer vs time on the road. In your comparison, both the inside and outside cycled for the same amount of time. And, had they used power meters and HRMs, I'm sure they would've produced almost identical results for the two groups. So, their efforts weren't different, I think we can assume.

    Why did the outside group cover a much shorter distance? Well, inside, there's no wind to contend with, no hills and the "road" surface is very smooth. Outside, wind always slows you down if you return to your starting point (headwinds and tailwinds don't cancel each other out due to the exponential increase in wind resistance with increased speed). Same with hills. You don't gain the time lost uphill when you go downhill, for the same aerodynamical reasons. Finally, surface friction is a good deal higher on asphalt than on a smooth track...

    When talking about time, an hour on a trainer is probably worth slightly more than an hour on the road, for the reasons stated in some earlier posts.

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    Machka, the issue wasn't distance, but TIME on the trainer vs time on the road. In your comparison, both the inside and outside cycled for the same amount of time. And, had they used power meters and HRMs, I'm sure they would've produced almost identical results for the two groups. So, their efforts weren't different, I think we can assume.

    Why did the outside group cover a much shorter distance? Well, inside, there's no wind to contend with, no hills and the "road" surface is very smooth. Outside, wind always slows you down if you return to your starting point (headwinds and tailwinds don't cancel each other out due to the exponential increase in wind resistance with increased speed). Same with hills. You don't gain the time lost uphill when you go downhill, for the same aerodynamical reasons. Finally, surface friction is a good deal higher on asphalt than on a smooth track...
    Thank you for backing up what I'm saying. This is exactly why I maintain that riding outside is physically more difficult than riding inside on the trainer.

    Assuming that the efforts are indeed identical, the elements encountered outside make cycling outside more difficult.




    I will add here, however, that I look at indoor cycling and outdoor cycling as two somewhat different sports. I keep track of them differently in my logs. I think riding the trainer definitely has some benefits (I will actually willingly do intervals on my trainer while I don't like doing them outside) and in the depths of winter, I think it is better than doing nothing, but nothing beats getting outside and encountering everything nature has to throw at you!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Thank you for backing up what I'm saying. This is exactly why I maintain that riding outside is physically more difficult than riding inside on the trainer.

    Assuming that the efforts are indeed identical, the elements encountered outside make cycling outside more difficult.
    Thank me if you want, but I did not back you up at all!

    For the same SPEED, riding outside is more difficult. But the body (for exercise purposes) doesn't know, or care, if an effort of 75% of max produces a speed of 15 km/h or 30 km/h. With decent gearing, the cadence and pedal forces can be made identical.

    So, if the efforts are identical, riding inside or outside makes no difference at all to the body. Only the cyclecomputer and the mind will be able to tell the difference. Not your leg muscles, your knees, your heart, lungs, mitochondria or anything else like that.

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