This week I became really interested in virtual bike training apps. Watching tv on the bike is just another form of torture for me. For example, in a 2 hour training ride I have to watch four 30-minute episodes of something. If I’m watching commercial-free, that means I have to watch five episodes. So the entire time, all I’m thinking is “hurry up and finish this episode so we can move on to the next one.”
When we were in Wisconsin, Nick and I would train together. Sometimes we’d watch football or play video games against one another, or find ourselves in a movie marathon. Right now, I’m training solo due to our opposite schedules.
After much review – reading DC Rainmaker’s Training App Guide and reading a few reviews on Facebook, I’ve narrowed it down to three possible apps. I’m going to take advantage of their free trials before making a final decision (a great suggestion from a facebook tri group). The top contenders are: Rouvy, Zwift, and Trainer Road.
I have a coach, so there is no need for training plans. I am interested in these purely for entertainment purposes. I want something with different courses, a way to “race” other players, and the app to control the trainer based on the course/workout. It’s a way for me to not stare at a blank wall for hours on end.
First up is Zwift. Since I was originally going to download Zwift (not realizing how many options are out there), I figured I might as well start with it. To be honest, I’m less than impressed with their website. It took me awhile to even find the free trial or how much it would cost per month if I choose to continue. The drawback that many people have pointed out is the limited number of courses available. Although, the website does state there are “hundreds of events” in the group rides. Now that’s not to say that it isn’t all on the same course.
I download my free 7-day trial. This took some time, probably 15 minutes are so. Not the three minutes my computer claimed it would take. I set up an account, and then began to connect sensors. My coach prescribed an interval workout today, so I manually replicated the workout in Zwift. The entire setup probably took 30-45 minutes. (I am a little inept when it comes to computers and smart devices, so the average person may not take as long).
Everything was ready for me to start my ride. I walk over to the bike, and realize something is missing.
While taking my sweet time setting everything up, I was ignoring my puppy. So Olive decided to get me back by hiding my shoe. Another 5 minutes wasted, and now I’m good to go.
I must have been distracted or exhausted or exhilarated that I finally got everything connected and working properly. Five minutes into my 90 minute trainer ride, I realized I forgot to start my watch. Yes, that happened. I hit start on my watch and continued pedaling; my coach would forgive 5 minutes of a warmup. My speed connected, then cadence, then heart rate. But my power wouldn’t connect. So I deleted the workout and restarted. Power still wouldn’t connect. After fidgeting with it for another few minutes, I gave up.
This workout would just have to wait. My power wasn’t picking up and my watch had 17% battery. With my luck, my watch was destined to die before completing the workout. Now that everything is setup, it should be a breeze this afternoon when I attempt it again.