Trainer Road: You Complete Me

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been interested in the Trainer Road software. So before flying into Seattle’s snowstorm, I decided to fire up the trainer and computer and have at it. One of my teammates has already done a good review here. Let’s see how my numbers stack up.

So how does this work? If the intro video I posted yesterday didn’t suffice, it pretty much works like this:

  1. Sign up for a membership. 10$ a month. For that price, you get the data analysis and a variety of workouts. You can also get full plans if you need something long term.
  2. Download the software.
  3. Pair software with your powermeter. If you don’t have a powermeter, you can also get “virtual” power. Since I have a meter, I can’t comment on the virtual power part. Another one of my teammates, who is sans meter, may write about that later.
  4. You ride your legs off.

So when you download the software and open it up, it looks like this.

The intro screen.

As you can see, there are a variety of workouts to choose from. My prescription today was another 2X20 session, so I chose the Sufferfest Hell Hath No Fury again.

Clicking on the career tab, you can see all the workouts you’ve destroyed. Clicking on each one gives you more detailed data.

Just one so far.....

Under the profile, you can enter in your FTP if you know it, your Facebook info if you want to post it (your not fooling anyone, you know you DO). You can also set your parameters for measurement and starting the program. For example, if you don’t want the ride to automatically pause if you stop pedaling, you can remove that feature.

Profile settings 1

Profile settings 2

Under the devices section you can pair your ANT+ USB stick with whatever cool power meter you have. I know what you want to know. “How easy was it” you ask? Here’s how it literally worked:

  1. I plugged in my USB stick.
  2. I started the program.
  3. I started pedaling.
  4. It registered my meter and began displaying watts.

Maybe it’s the Asian in me. Maybe I am just damn lucky. But it was really easy. If you have tech-phobia, fear not Trainer Road.

Pairing tab

Besides the live PC power data feed, one of the coolest features is the ability to drop in a Sufferfest video into the program. And I mean drop. I just dragged the video file from my desktop to the program and it synchronized.

Just drag the video to the big black box...

Once your setup, you hit the play button and the suffering begins. Let me tell you, doing this ride with the power data feed and the simultaneous power goals was TOUGH. At the bottom left of the screen, you see an up and down button that lets you adjust the intensity of the ride. Knowing that I typically put out about .95 intensity factor during a ride, I dialed it down to 95%. My FTP is 211. Before hand, when using this video, I would guess what my effort should be. As you can see in the video, it will say things like go 9/10 effort during a breakaway. Prior, I would keep my watts around 211-215 during these efforts. I guess I need to HTFU because the program told me my goal watts were around 240 during those periods. 10/10 sprint effort? 270w!!


After the first 20 minutes I was hurting pretty good. I had a higher than expected norm power during this interval, 209w. I paid dearly for this during the next 20 minutes.Next interval was at 203w.


After finishing up the ride, you get the usual numbers. Here is what my data looks like per Trainer Road.

Data from the program.

Data from website.

I have never actually ridden to exhaustion during a trainer ride…..that is until today. You can see at the end of my ride I have two drops of watts. That was my body basically saying “You f_cking crazy?” I simply couldn’t ride the watts anymore. It felt both horrible….and awesome. For comparison, here is what my data looks like from WKO+.

WKO Data. Slight differences. To be explained...

As you can see, my numbers match up pretty well.

Overall, I am loving the software. It definitely adds a new dimension to indoor training by having the goal watts in front of you. There is some discrepancies between my meter and the TR data; I will have to look into that. Also, the video seemed to be lagging behind the TR software cues by a few seconds. I will contact the company and get some info on that. My only hope is that I can create workouts to challenge others and the ability to do a group trainer road ride. But for now, Trainer Road has another dedicated customer.

Posted on January 18, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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