Sycling Snippets

by Bobby Nefdt

15. Consistent Pedalling

During the past year several of my riding companions purchased Smart Trainers and I noticed a significant difference in their riding strength. At the time I regarded them as traitors, having moved to the ‘dark side’. After all, cycling is about getting out in the open air and experiencing the wind in your face even in the middle of winter with the temperatures hovering just above 0°C.

In previous articles I have often referred to the fact that cycling is about conserving energy at all times, tucking in behind other riders, and moving out of the wind. Riding a trainer does not allow you to hide.

A good friend of mine from my early days of cycling, Springbok cyclist Mike Thomson, father of Dimension Data Team rider Jay Thomson, used to pedal hard down the hills during training rides and when questioned on why he did so he would tell us that he was riding twice as far as us because we were freewheeling down the hills.

An indoor trainer teaches you to pedal consistently. You cannot freewheel so you cannot recover down hills or on long single-tracks. The pressure on your legs remains throughout the session. After an intense indoor session I have found that it takes me longer to recover due to that consistent pedalling.

There is a real danger of overtraining because indoor sessions do tend to be more intense. Don’t neglect your recovery days between your intense session days. (Recovery days can be low intensity rides on the trainer.) Consider using the Orthostatic Test (Sycling Snippet No. 13) to determine your recovery levels.

Time-trialling (TT) is a form of cycling that requires such intensity and most TT riders include indoor sessions into their training sessions.

The benefits of indoor training:
 • It’s safe from traffic and potholes.
 • Your ride is uninterrupted (no stop lights).
 • The weather doesn’t influence your riding.
 • Can ride at any time.
 • Allows accurate and predictable goal setting.
 • Can focus on pedalling technique.
      o Some power meters show left and right power levels.
      o Pedalling in Circles (Sycling Snippet No. 4.
 • It builds strength and power.
 • Enables you to accurately track your fitness and power levels.
 • It increases your mental toughness.
 • It creates an environment of controllable variables.
 • It is time efficient.

Indoor trainers have come a long way from the noisy ‘rollers’ to the new, quieter smart VR trainers controlled by third party apps. If you are unfamiliar with Zwift I suggest you click onto the link below to watch Easter Sunday’s VR race with the Ineos Pro racing team https://youtu.be/UeJ264JU9Uc “

…. indoor training doesn’t give you a minute of relief. If you have to sit at 260w for a given period, it keeps you there. What a way to build resilience and absolute toughness when it comes to sitting in the hurt box. Sarah Hill (Professional SA MTB)