Here in Christchurch the weather has been closing in on us over the last week, at least that’s what my mood-a-meter has been telling me. Darkness, cold and rain. I am constantly reminding myself to harden up and get on with life - most people do. However, May and June are the dreaded months on my calendar.
But they’re also a chance to get excited about movie nights, warming/comfort food (and an excuse to develop an extra layer of winter insulation of course) and indoor training. I take my final group rides this week (yesterday there a lot of complaints about the temperature!); next week we move sessions into my bike shop and sponsor, Chain Reaction Cycles.
An anecdote from the last month of coaching comes from a client of mine who I made do a 20 minute maximal effort test (one of the most useful and repeatable tests of aerobic endurance for cyclists), on his Lemond Revolution trainer. I later made him repeat this same test on my Revbox erg as he was interested in experiencing its different feel.
In both tests he paced himself well and evenly but while on the Lemond he averaged 272 watts for the 20 minutes (using the Lemond power reading unit); a few weeks later using the Revbox erg (using a Stages power meter this time), his average power was a whopping 50 watts lower! Prior to performing both tests, in a separate training session I had him practicing test power over four consecutive 5 minute work intervals (with 1 minute recovery intervals in between work intervals).
The conclusions I have drawn from this are that the Revbox erg is whole lot harder to sustain a given power than the Lemond trainer. While I haven't yet tested the following on myself I'm interested to see what sort of power I can achieve on my Revbox erg compared with what I've traditionally done tests on (my sans cover) BT erg. The later is a lot harder than a Lemond trainer but also easier than the Revbox erg. I do know with certainty that when I jumped on my Revbox erg for the first time in over 3 months this week, that it felt bloody hard!
Admittedly this client wasn't familiar with the sensations the Revbox erg elicits - i.e. the extra effort required to keep turning the pedals over. This can definitely have a detrimental impact on a riders mental strength just like a strong headwind will - it's easier to give up when the going gets tough! This is why the Revbox is such a beneficial training tool - it prepares you for the difficulties of performance road cycling. It’s just really important to do the hard yards accustoming yourself to the Revbox erg, over a long period prior to a training peak.
On a final note, another client let me know after recently purchasing one of the first 11 speed Revbox ergs, that he has felt the training he has done on it has made training rides on the road less fatiguing. Good news this is for those wanting to improve your performance!
Happy indoor training cyclists!