So I bought a smart trainer. I was checking Fedex on the hour to see where it was and yesterday it finally arrived. I’m trying not to go crazy $$ on setup, so I didn’t buy a second cassette to put on the trainer (it’s a Saris H3). I spent last night getting my gravel bike cleaned up and ready to ride indoors. I pulled the cassette off (11spd, 11-32 Ultegra), degreased it and installed it on the trainer. I had the adapters for the through axle backwards and hand tightened as tight as I could — before realizing they were reversed. A minor freak out ensued when I realized I couldn’t fit the cassette removal tool over the through axle. With a lot of pressure exerted while holding the cassette with the chain whip, I reversed my mistake, flipped the adapters and mounted my bike onto the trainer.

After a quick calibration using the Saris app on my phone, the trainer was ready.

A smart trainer can be locked into a specific wattage output (erg mode), or it can match the effort required based on the terrain in a virtual ride. I have a free trail of Rouvy, so I’m starting slowly and plan to do some easy spins this week and next, primarily to break my ass in to riding in place and to get my setup dialed in.

I got up at 5:30 this morning and rode 8 miles.. on the Pacific coast near Malibu 🙂 I’m using an ironing board on which I’ve placed a fan, my iPad and a water bottle. I have my watch set to broadcast heart rate so the Rouvy app picks up HR via Bluetooth. It all seems to work.

A few brief observations.

It doesn’t matter what gear the bike is in, the trainer is measuring watts, so will adapt based on cadence and force on the pedals. I had it the big ring and once I spun the pedals up, I tried to keep effort at 100% or above. Once I lost the cadence though, the watts dropped, and if I got off the pedals, e.g. coasted, the avatar stopped, got off the bike and the app asked if I wanted to end the ride or continue.

The fan was critical, in 30 minutes I was sweating and mopping up with a towel. I had some music playing on my phone, but it would be nice to put some ear buds in and crank up the music.

I now see why people put a tv on the wall in front of their trainers. My eye position looking at the iPad was just off the front wheel, forward and down. I would never look there while riding outside unless something was going under my tires.

I’m looking forward to the burn on the trainer as an alternate to my morning runs. I know everything will complement and contribute to overall beast level fitness. So yeah, I’m stoked to get back in the saddle and hammer.

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