If you want to attack the inevitable Christmas-period flab brought on by almost obligatory over-eating and over-drinking, you can do so publicly (even slightly crazily) or in the privacy and sanctuary of your own home.
If you prefer the latter option then your interest will no doubt have already been piqued by the advertising onslaught from Peloton, which last year launched in the UK with the pitch of high-end at-home spinning classes. Rival company Wahoo is hitting back in 2020, however, with its new KICKR bike. This training machine built for and by cyclists aims to simulate the real-world outdoor cycling experience, promising much more customisation options than Peloton.
Wahoo’s KICKR bike is a new generation smart-trainer with no regular bike required. Set up the trainer by taking size measurements from your regular road bike (all done simply by using your smartphone camera and the Wahoo Fitness app), then dial in a matching fit on the KICKR (via five points of adjustment). You also have the option of fitting your favourite saddle, handlebars and pedals (fitted to a neat crank that replicates five crank lengths) and mirror ‘real-world’ gearing by Shimano, Campagnolo or SRAM – down to gear-ratios (and, incredibly) the number of teeth per cog.
Taking on the classic climbs of the Grand Tours? The KICKR has a powered pivot to raise or lower the front end of the bike by +20 to -15 degrees. The bike also features a motorised flywheel that, as well as replicating resistance, can power the crank giving the sensation of freewheeling. Integrated sensors then measure your cadence and power output (+/-1 per cent accuracy up to 2,200 watts) and wirelessly shares data with your training app of choice (Zwift, The Sufferfest and Strava Summit are all supported). Potholes, angry drivers and lashing rain are not included.
Should you wish to go all-out, the KICKR also comes in bundle packs with Wahoo accessories to complete the simulation experience. The ‘Ultimate Bundle‘ includes the water resistant and anti-slip mat, adjustable desk with tablet and smartphone stands and Headwind, the brand’s sensor-controlled smart fan where power increases with your speed or heart rate, and can deliver wind at speeds over 30mph to keep you cool during even the very toughest training sessions.
Price: $3,499.99 | uk.wahoofitness.com
BBUC Everyday Jersey
We admit that you don’t really need a pro-team skin-tight fit when you’re doing indoor training. However, BBUC’s ultralight fast-drying, bi-elastic fabric Everyday Jersey with full-length zipper and silicone stopper at the sleeve’s end for sweaty sessions on the trainer will see you looking smart – and less sweaty – for those private sessions. Add in three classic back pockets and a hidden zip pocket and you have a made-in-Italy jersey in both olive and purple (shown here) and in either a mens’ or womens’ cut that is fit for anything.
Price: €128 | bbuc.co
Smart training for smarter trainers
Rory Townsend rides for team Canyon DHB Powered by Bloor Homes. He finished top of the UK domestic rankings in the 2019 season and runs Grinta Coaching. We asked him for his expert training advice. Heed his words.
There’s a tendency for riders to over-gear on the turbo to maintain wattage, but when you spend a lot of time doing that you can become slow and sluggish out on the road. It’s also not great for the knees. Remember, spinners are winners.
Mix it up
Keep it fresh by changing the sessions up. Instead of dreading a repeat of last week’s brutal session, smash a new one. Also, try throwing in some harder intervals if you’re doing a longer turbo ride, such as some zone 3 (heart rate) efforts during your endurance ride.
Gradually increase the time of the sessions over the course of a training plan. At first, a full hour may seem daunting, but build up slowly and it will feel like nothing. And don’t plateau by repeating the same sessions. Try doing one minute at Vo2Max followed by one minute easy, repeated eight times to form a set. You can overload this by either adding more repetitions per set, or shortening the easy periods between the harder Vo2Max work.
You have to keep the air flowing, so use a fan or get a window open and beat the heat. It seems obvious, but if you become dehydrated it will hinder your sessions.
Research on the effects of music during exercise is nothing new. In 1911, an American researcher, Leonard Ayres, found that cyclists peddled faster while listening to music as opposed to exercising in silence. Surprisingly, music can also increase energy efficiency. A 2012 study showed that cyclists who listened to music required seven per cent less oxygen as those who cycled in silence. The lesson here? Have a killer playlist ready – key to fighting off boredom, keeping engaged in the session and going harder for longer.
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