First winter on turbo - first impressions

saunaboy Posts: 116
edited February 2011 in Road beginners
Hi all,

I was new to road biking last year & got into it pretty quickly. When the winter cut in I didn't want to lose fitness (I was regularly knocking out 60 miles) so bought a turbo. Second half of winter I've been getting into the sufferfest stuff & doing 2-3 full videos per week (Angels & Hunted if you're interested, great stuff).

First proper ride out today & I was surprised at the actual lack of fitness. I seem to have collected a fair bit of power compared to last year - I have also dropped from 84 to 80kg over the winter, but at the expense of stamina. Getting the bike fast up to 25mph is a doddle compared to last year, but after about 30 secs I'm swallowing my lungs down again !!! I actually feel as if I've mutated from a starter road cyclist into a starter track sprinter if that's the best way of looking at it. Bit odd seeing the sufferfest stuff is usually an hour of decent paced stamina work.

I guess it's just a matter of putting the miles in now the days are a bit longer but has anyone got any advice on keeping the power there? I also do weight work 2-3 times per week concentrating on core as I had a few bouts of stiff back last year.

Still, was great to get out. Lovely stuff.


  • I've noticed exactly the same. I got the bug big time last year and completed a few 100 mile rides as well as having my 10mile TT time down to 26mins on a local course by the end of a year which I didnt think too shabby as I have no aero stuff and all my pump and bag etc still on the bike.

    Like you over winter I turbo trained, generally for half hour stints but sometimes one ro two hours ever. On the two hour one it was more just keeping the legs spinning where as the other two were interval training.

    I had my first ride out last week. A nice 57 miler. I went out the blocks all to keen though and by 47 miles my legs turned to mush :lol: it was a struggle getting home and my legs hurt me all week near enough! Unlike you I didnt stuggle with out of breathness, somehow I have retained the fitness, my legs have just lost their endurance :cry:

    I thought it all odd too but as you have said it appears there is nothing that can replace getting base miles on the legs. I have my first sportive in April so I need to get out there and get those miles on the legs. Come on nice weather :D

    As painful as it was I too enjoyed getting back out there on the real road.

  • twotyred
    twotyred Posts: 822
    As painful as it was I too enjoyed getting back out there on the real road

    I have to say what's stopped you up until now? Fair enough December was a right off but since the New Year I've been out every weekend getting the miles in and leaving the turbo sessions for through the week. OK I've had to put up with rain, wind, freezing temperatures and today I completed the set with hail but with a decent set of guards on your bike and proper clothing there's no excuse. As your finding there's no substitute for road miles.
  • saunaboy
    saunaboy Posts: 116
    Working 6 days a week long hours & living up north where it's dark & the roads are w@nk kept me in the house. No shame in trying your best to keep in decent shape for when things get a bit easier in the spring. This is a beginners forum after all mate...
  • glasgowbhoy
    glasgowbhoy Posts: 1,341
    I'm even further North and have just tried to suck up
    The crap weather and pot hole filled roads. All the turbo training wil have helped more than you think. It kept me going on week nights the last few months and have noticed my power on climbs and long drags has improved a lot. The endurance will come as you up the mileage. I'm riding 4 hours comfortably at a strong pace and you should find after 6-8 weeks of increased outdoor cycling on increasing distances and undulating courses your endurance will come on stronger especially if you keep turbo training to keep topped up
  • Yup - I'm even further north - darker for even longer and certainly plenty cold enough (-11C some mornings) but an MTB and Ice Spikers is only defeated by snow 4" and deeper IME. 1 hour commute each way (longer in 4" of snow) fits the ride into my working day too.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,470
    I'm in Helsinki and pretty much gave up outdoor winter riding in favour of the indoor trainer a couple of years ago. It's too bl**dy cold and to be honest, I get more benefit from 4 hard sessions a week on the trainer than from the sort of riding I am able to do dressed up like the Michelin man with spiked tyres on cycle paths...

    Yup, it takes a while to get the endurance back in the spring - for me about 6 weeks. But the cardiovascular fitness and power you've built up on the trainer will mesh nicely with that once you have gone through that adjustment period. The first few weeks can be a real strain as the metabolism reajusts and you are trying to push the average speeds you had the previous summer. I find it helps to have one or two extended (e.g. 4 day) rest sessions during this period to give the body a chance to catch up.
  • paulbox
    paulbox Posts: 1,203
    I also bought a turbo trainer this winter but find mountain biking far more useful in terms of fitness building. Mashing up muddy hills makes climbing on th road feel like a doddle.

    Decent lighting can be bought for a fraction of what it used to cost (led torches) and off-road riding in the dark is an intense experience.
    XC: Giant Anthem X
    Fun: Yeti SB66
    Road: Litespeed C1, Cannondale Supersix Evo, Cervelo R5
    Trainer: Bianchi via Nirone
    Hack: GT hardtail with Schwalbe City Jets
  • SBezza
    SBezza Posts: 2,173
    You need to do a mixture of training intensities, 1 hour, even at a high tempo doesn't give you much endurance base.

    Even if you are stuck on the trainer, you can do alot of different sessions to help with endurance, you just have to accept that you might get a little bored. I did 2 hour + sessions on the turbo when the snow was on the ground, hated it, but needs must.

    To be honest unless you live up in Scotland and had a decent coverage of snow for a long period, there have been plenty of days to actually get out on the road to do longer rides. Wear the right clothes and it is perfectly fine, just a touch cold now and then. Get some decent lights and riding in the dark can be quite good, or commute to work, and have a longer ride home. I regularly do 2 hour rides after work.