It was a long, dark, wet winter in Stellenbosch, but I made it through without too much serious damage to my waistline and I’ve regained my motivation mojo!
The reason for my sudden increase in motivation is that I realised that Double Century is just around the corner. This is a 202km 12 person team race and it ranks very highly on my list of favourite events. Only 6 of the 12 riders need to finish together and it is not nice being the nail for 202km. I’d much rather be the hammer.
So with this new motivation and it still being August and wet and dark in Stellenbosch I twisted Bicycle Power Trading’s (BPT) proverbial arm and got them to send down a piece of equipment that I’ve been dying to try – the CycleOps PowerSync.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that they enjoy cycling on an indoor trainer (IDT). In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever even heard a luke-warm response to the suggestion. Most people hate it. And let’s be frank – who enjoys sitting in their living room, going nowhere and sweating up a storm? Minutes pass by like hours as the sweat pours off you like a river. Add to the fact that I don’t own a TV and you’ve got yourself a real fine time ahead when you need to do an indoor training set.
I much prefer doing my training on the road and when my coach suggests an IDT session I normally do everything in my power to make the same session work outside. But sometimes it is just not practical due to the weather, time restraints or lack of proper male cycling partners to act as crime deterrents. Deep down I know how beneficial an IDT session is – there’s no stopping at robots, no cars, no wet, dangerous roads and no freewheeling – but to get me to do one is just torturous.
So when I realised that I needed to get my ass into gear and get training properly I first called my coach and put him on the payroll again and secondly, I wrangled a demo PowerSync from BPT.
So why did I want this piece of equipment? My training time is severely hampered now that I am doing this 8-5 thing and I need to make sure that every minute that I spend training is quality – so using an IDT makes a lot of sense to me. But the boredom! And that’s why the PowerSync is just so cool. It is Bluetooth enabled which allows it to connect to a laptop, tablet or phone and from there it is controlled by an application called Virtual Training.
The advertising blurb (cos they just sum it up best): No matter the time, weather or traffic, CycleOps’ virtual bike training app lets you get out and ride—even when you can’t get out. So you can reap the benefits of a full workout paired with the excitement of riding a virtual bike trainer along real routes all over the world as the app tracks your training data.
Virtual Training costs $6.99 (+/- R100 at the moment) per month or $69.99 per year to buy a subscription for your tablet or phone. You can then download and ride any route that has been created by users. Many of the routes also have video which is super awesome and engrossing as you can meander through French countryside or take the scenic route from Somerset West to Hermanus! The trainer is controlled by the app so as you hit a hill, you’ll feel it and need to gear down appropriately.
I’ve been to Italy, France and Gordon’s Bay without leaving my living room. I also now lie on the Strava leaderboards of the segments that I rode while there. Seriously! How cool is that?
But that isn’t the only feature of the PowerSync – it also allows you to race your friends. So if your mates also use Virtual Training then you can set up a race and show them who’s boss.
One of the features that I really liked was the ability to set up my own sessions, such as 8 x 5min threshold or 7 x 10min tempo. You can set the watts, the trainer controls the resistance and boom – perfect sessions.
Then on the other stuff – it’s super easy to set up. Being a demo unit that was sent to me the instructions had gotten lost (I think BPT did this deliberately to test me 😉 ), but using just a little bit of sense and a spanner I was able to put the trainer together in no time as well as set up a Virtual Training account and there you have it – ready to ride!
The trainer is also very quiet. Living in a block of flats I was quite nervous of waking up my neighbours at 5:30 in the morning, but when I asked them they said they knew nothing of my early morning activities!
The PowerSync is also compatible with 3rd party applications such as Zwift and TrainerRoad. If you’re looking to revolutionize your training and make the most of your time then I could not recommend the CycleOps PowerSync more highly!
Oh, and I quickly finished writing this review (it was sitting in drafts) because Bicycle Power Trading are now running the most insane special on this very special trainer – it’s now just R8 495.00! A seriously amazing deal!
DC – I’m coming for you!