Indoor Cycling

For many years I have owned a Cyclops fluid trainer that was a complete failure on my part.  I could not get into riding indoors by myself, but found spin classes were fun even though I had a problem when the class instructors would tell me this would help me on the road when they did not even ride road or mountain.  Fast forward and, like cell phones 15 years ago, indoor trainers are now “Smart”.  While I did a little research and was torn between this Tacx model and another one from Saris, I ended up finding a Tacx Neo T2 at Scheels (online) in early November, which seemed to be a feat in itself as most retailers were reporting out of stock  until mid-February.

My primary road bike is a 2006 Cannondale Synapse that I upgraded to 2×11 when my friend who owns the LBS took it in a few years ago when someone wanted to sell it.  Needless to say, my new Tacx trainer cost about three times what I have in the bike.  I was able to find a matching cassette for my bike and installing it  was really easy.  Getting the bike in the trainer was pretty simple since I don’t have thru-axels.  I made a platform from some plywood and 1/4″x20 T-nut so I could mount the platform on a camera tripod to hold my computer.  For no good reason, I left the project alone for a couple of months other than finding the Tacx Faqx web site and watching some super scary videos on the problems people perceive the Tacx Neo 2T to exhibit.  I finally came to realization that none of those problems were going to happen if I didn’t ride it.  So today I pretty much forced myself to get this thing going.

I had already installed the Tacx Training App on my MacBook Pro and one of my goals with any trainer I chose, was being able to ride my own routes, even if there is no “Film” to go with them. Luckily, my purchase came with a 30 day Premium voucher for Tacx online and which is needed to be able to upload some of my GPX files that I ride regularly on the road and a few charity rides.  Since it’s been like three months since my last road ride, I picked the easiest greenway ride I do to avoid traffic which is pretty flat and short on distance at 13 miles.  I have to say the replication of the ride experience is accurate from the perspective of up hill elevation changes and being able to track the ride in the Google Earth like perspective or a standard map.  It would be nice if the map had topo lines, but having ridden this route many times, I pretty much knew where the few climbs were.  The power meter was something completely new to me as I don’t have one on any of the bikes I normally ride.  So I have no real comparison to know if the readings were accurate, but surprised myself a few times with the watts being reported.  The one setup step I missed was making sure my heart rate monitor strap was recognized.  Luckily, I also had my Garmin 520 recording the indoor ride and it captured my heart rate even if I did not have  it showing it on the Tacx screen.  After I was done, I found my old ANT+ dongle and Tacx immediately found it and I should have HR data in Tacx on the next ride.

Overall, I am impressed with this first ride on the Tacx. Given my bum is out of shape and the saddle was taking it’s toll, I was really surprised to find the trainer kept my bike freewheeling when I decided to coast on a portion of the route I knew was downhill to get a quick stand on the pedals in for some bum relief.  Speaking of downhill, I have to admit that the one thing I miss almost as much as the self generated cooling breeze you get while riding outside, is gravity enjoyed on downhill segments.  I guess I will get used to how the trainer interprets the GPX files and figure out where I can get a quick coast in.  Now to find that blower fan that’s somewhere in this house.

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