It was exactly this time of year in 2013 that my wife and I were ramping up our training for the eight stage mountain bike race, the Cape Epic. On the weekends we’d get out for all day grinds on the endless gravel roads but during the week, we put in a lot of trainer miles. While Carrie was diligent and persistent with it, I swear that I never hated anything as much as a two-hour trainer ride. I planned to set up a fake leg on a pivot and pulley so I could pull a string and have it kick me as a more pleasant alternative.
Now that we are committed to RAAM 2016 and the excitement of imagining the race itself was giving way to the realism of the necessary training, I was soberly remembering those long trainer rides. How low quality were my trainer rides? While riding I took three online courses and tests that I needed to complete for the mountain rescue group where I volunteer. If you can read and answer multiple choice questions while doing a “workout”, it is a complete waste of time.
Enter Zwift. Using a power meter (in my case a Vigor Powertap), your computer or phone and an internet connection, you can join hundreds of other riders on the same course and ride. Between the workouts, the competition and riding with friends I bumped into on the road, I’ve been knocking out 2-3 hour trainer workouts – quality workouts- without a whole lot of problem. This is a good thing because as we ramp up to 20+ hours a week, until there is a break in the Pacific Northwest’s liquid sunshine, I’ll be on Zwift 5-6 days a week.