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Roller Training(19 posts)

Roller TrainingJBergland
Mar 20, 2001 7:02 AM
I have spent a better part of this winter on a set of Rollers... about 1,300 miles since Jan 1st. Let me just say I can tell you where, when, and how every 'major move' was made in the in the 1998-2000 Tour, Giro, and many of the classics... I've watched A LOT of videos!!:)

I was talking to a fellow last weekend about winter training/activities. I shared with him about my Roller training and he said, "Why so much?" His theory/idea is that Rollers are good for developing a smooth spin and fast cadence. However, those things don't need 1,300 miles to develop. He also added that 1,300 isn't 'real miles'... it would be more like 4-500 if I had ridden them out on the road.

What do people think of this? What about this 'real miles' thing? What kind of a transition should I expect when I finally get out on the road regularly (should start this Saturday... hopefully)?

ALL comment/thoughts/ideas welcome!!

Heart rateBipedZed
Mar 20, 2001 7:45 AM
Depends on if you use a HRM. Without one it's easy to go too easy. To simulate my lunch ride I would ride at 30mph to achieve an average of 145bpm, sometimes doing 5 tempo intervals of 2 minutes at 40mph followed by 2 minutes recovery to keep it interesting.
re: Roller Trainingtmontee
Mar 20, 2001 8:53 AM
it depends. i had a friend who trained all winter on some kreitlers here in northern wisconsin, and rolled down to arizona in the spring and just destroyed everybody, as he did the rest of that year. on the other hand i myself tend to lack focus on the rollers and end up suffering like a dog in the spring, even though i am race fit for ski any case you should most definately get yourself out this saturday. there is nothing like the real thing. if i can be out here in wi, you can too.
It dependsBosephus
Mar 20, 2001 9:50 AM
Along with the other comments here I think it also depends highly on the type of rollers you use.

Myself I use Kreitler Dyno-Lytes. They provide some amount of resistance, and I find that they generally simulate "real road speeds" for me. For example at about 100 RPM I tend to hold a steady 20 to 21 mph in the same gear I would be doing that in outside on a calm day with no hills. I generally maintain about the same heart rate under thes conditions as I would outside as well.

The regular full size Kreitlers provide 0 resistance so I woud agree with your friend. The Dyno-Mytes provide an @ss wooping amount of resistance thus, I've found that I need lower gears to maintain the same rpm and heart rate.

I would say the same applies to rollers with added resistance such as magnetic or fan add ons.

I've actually heard some coaches and trainers say that a mile on rollers with resistance are equal to 1.5 or 2 miles on the road, mainly due to the fact that on the road momentum plays a huge part of keeping you moving, while on rollers you'll find they wind to a stop within about 2 or 3 seconds of when you stop pedaling. Less momentum ... Momentum is highly depend on the amount of mass in motion. On rollers, there is very little mass in motion (just the wheels and drums as opposed to a bike and a body).

The key is matching your heart rate, cadence, gearing, and wheel speed to what you generally achieve on the road during a training ride. However, if you are training appropriately you should start to see your heart rate fall off for a given speed, gearing, and cadence at this point you want to increase your speed and or gearing to get the heart rate back up.

Again as with most things in life ... it all depends.
Mar 20, 2001 10:32 AM

"I've actually heard some coaches and trainers say that a mile on rollers with resistance are equal to 1.5 or 2 miles on the road, mainly due to the fact that on the road momentum plays a huge part of keeping you moving, while on rollers you'll find they wind to a stop within about 2 or 3 seconds of when you stop pedaling. Less momentum ... Momentum is highly depend on the amount of mass in motion. On rollers, there is very little mass in motion (just the wheels and drums as opposed to a bike and a body)."

I have wondered about this from time to time while riding this winter. Momentum is a big thing missing from the Rollers... bepending on what kind of Rollers you have, you don't get much momentum at all. Traveling at 25-30-35-40+ MPH... as soon as you stop pedaling, you STOP. For the Rollers I have, 40 MPH takes about 4-5 seconds to be completely stopped. So a coach saying that 1 mile on the Rollers (with resistance) could equal 1.5-2 miles doe have some sound reasoning behind it. But, what about the mass in motion? There is very little mass when riding on Rollers... wheels and roller drums. From a dead stop I can be up to 20 MPH in 1-2 seconds. How many of us can do that out on the road. Having so much less mass would take away from some of the points I previously mentioned.

I believe Bosephus is very correct in saying it's all about matching a couple different things up (resistance, HR, gearing, cadence, etc.).
Mar 20, 2001 11:12 AM
You're right ...

On the road you have make a momentum payment right off the bat before you can actually get up to speed. Whereas on the rollers the down payments are pretty small ... pardon the analogy.

The difference is that this is a one time hit ... investment if you will. Then your variable cost (amount of energy you need to expend to keep the bike going) is relatively constant ... all else being equal. On the rollers your investment is small and the variable cost is higher. In a short amount of time the added exertion it takes to keep the rollers going overtakes the initial exertion to get the bike on the road up to speed.

Of course this all assumes a flat road and a resistance roller set.

My explanation is pretty poor, but I think you get the idea.

Bottom line, in my opinion based on my Physics and Engineering background, an hour workout on the rollers will require more exertion than an hour ride (all things being equal ... flat terrain, same gear, same speed, same cadence, same heart rate).

To top it off I get so damn bored on rollers after an hour if feels like I've been riding for a hundred miles. :)
Rollers - a good complementMass Biker
Mar 20, 2001 10:28 AM
The rollers have been essential for the winter we had in New England. That said, I have found them to be useful in small (but intense) doses. I usually get 2 roller workouts in each week, with one of them an interval workout (5x3 minutes w/2 minute rests) and one of them a tempo workout (3x15 minutes in progressively bigger gears). I find that the rollers keeps the leg speed and "suppleness" up just fine...a good complement to a winter program that includes weights (harder to develop power on the rollers than on a trainer, so I use the weight room for that).
While I need to couch my response in just the right mixbill
Mar 20, 2001 11:37 AM
of humble experience and humble ignorance, I think that rollers are thoroughly underrated as training tools by some people on this board. I sweat my 42 year old brains out in buckets about three - four times a week for forty minutes a shot. I try to do about ten minutes of warmup and then hit the next thirty at at least 25 - 30 mph going at least 100 rpms, with forays into the 40 mph range (which requires, for me, at least a 53-14 or higher gearing -- I can't push more than 110 for any length of time at that gearing) at woefully inexact intervals. I try to keep my HR above about 150, with intervals at 160 plus (about 85%, I figure) and bursts at around 90% plus (175 bpm). It is fun, it is challenging, and the last time I hooked up with some guys riding kind of hard, all of whom were 10-20 years my junior (and who looked far better in tights), well, I didn't kick their asses but they certainly didn't kick mine (oh what the hell -- in fact, I did kick some of their bony asses; not everyone's for damn sure, just the ones who haven't been using rollers).
I think rollers are great. I use the standard Kreitlers, and, while you have to push a big gear at a pretty high cadence to get a workout, hey, that's sort of what you're supposed to be doing anyway, isn't it?
re: Roller Training = milesHap
Mar 20, 2001 12:59 PM
While I believe that Rollers and Trainers are excellent tools for total cycling development, I think it is a mistake to use miles as a measure of indoor effort. Use HR over Time as your measure effort or Watts if you can measure them, but not miles.

You can't even accurately compare two different rides on the same stretch of road without measuring watts because there are too many uncontrollable variables. To compare the road to the rollers in terms of miles is meaningless.

If you are able to find a gear/resistances combination that gives you a comparable feeling of effort(HR) to speed (mph)similar to what you have experienced on the road, then maybe there is a rough mileage comparison. I still wouldn't put much emphasis on the mileage aspect of the workout.

And for those of you who are running 40mph+ on the rollers and then logging mileage, well if you can cruise at 40+ on the road, more power to you!

Indoors, stick to time and effort measured in HR.

All, IMHO. Hap
Mar 20, 2001 1:05 PM
before I get off my soapbox, when I hear someone say, "I road twenty miles on the rollers today." it is to me like chalk on the blackboard. It kinda makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Most guys ride the rollers all day and never leave the basement/garage/etc. The above statement should be, "I rode the rollers an hour at 85% HR today." Enough said.
Mar 20, 2001 6:13 PM
I think indoor training is misleading in a sense, even with HR monitors. After all, if you ride your rollers in a hot, stuffy room (like I have), your heart rate will shoot out the roof as your body sweats and attempts to keep cool.

However, I completely agree with others that rollers are underrated, and that I think that time spent on the rollers, even if not at a high HR, is the critical factor. I tend to think of rollers as technique builders, and not necessarily (or primarily) fitness builders.
Yup, I agreeJBergland
Mar 21, 2001 4:46 AM
I agree with you about using only milage as a scale for working out. This can be VERY true when on a set of Rollers with low resistance. I have intentionally NOT been using a HRM much this winter... riding 'blind' so to speak. One of my goals was just to be riding more... trying to keep it FUN and not too intense.

Do most cyclists use miles as a gauge(s?) of fitness?
re: Roller TrainingRobO
Mar 20, 2001 7:40 PM
Well, I only managed to use my computer once before I broke it (fifth in two years), and on my rollers it had me going 24 MPH during my LT Intervals. On flats outside I go around 22 in zone 2. My rollers are made by Performance, they have a fan on the back rollers and a fan on the front roller.
Mar 21, 2001 5:11 AM
I usually start and end my rides at the same place. Over the course of a ride I go up hill, down hill, flat, into the wind, with the wind, across the wind, etc. All of these factors effect my speed vs. effort (HR). If I only rode in one direct relative to the wind and on flat roads I guess I could say what speed ride at a paticular HR zone.

Who drives you home after your ride?

Agree that miles and mph on rollers are of limited relevancebill
Mar 21, 2001 6:37 AM
I have been curious about what sort of effort on rollers equates to what sort of effort on the road, but I can't say I have any feel for it. The variables of miles and mph may have relevance to some other roller workout, as long as you factor in gear and cadence and time spent, but not really to the road. As Hap says, outside you go uphill, downhill, you stop for a traffic light, whatever, and it's a very different experience all around. In the controlled environment of rollers, though, you can plan your intervals a lot more precisely, and for this reason I think that they're pretty good. I think that they're working for me, let's put it that way, allowing me some discipline that I've never mustered before.
Have you stood up yet??:) (nm)JBergland
Mar 21, 2001 7:21 AM
I have raised my butt off the seat. For a moment.bill
Mar 21, 2001 8:08 AM
I also have done the no-hands trick, which, just this a.m. began to seem much more doable.
Thank you for your constant motivation to place my house in harm's way. Actually, there is a ding in the bottom stair of my basement in the distinct shape of a 53 chain ring grinding to a halt with, I believe, your name on it.
Can it be done???Bosephus
Mar 21, 2001 9:37 AM
I read the paperwork from Kreitler that said "Never stand up" so what did I do the first time I got on the rollers and started to get comfortable ... I stood up (curiosity got the best of me). And I flew right off the back and slammed my back wheel into the wall (leaving a permanent burn mark on the sheetrock) and my front wheel burned a nice little groove in the carpet. I haven't tried that since then.
It CAN be done!!!JBergland
Mar 21, 2001 10:11 AM
Depending on what I'm doing (watching a video, news, interval, listening to music) I stand for about a minute every 10-12 minutes. The FEAR of doing it is the hardest part to get over. Shift into the biggest gear you got... then stand up!! Don't think about it or it will be near impossible!! Just do it!! You will not be able to rock the bike back and forth very much... focus on staying up and down and be smooooth!! After you have done it a couple times you will not even think about it.

Remember your first time on the Rollers? Most most people, Rollers were not very easy at first. But, 4-6 times later, it wasn't that hard was it? Same is true for standing up on them. I am NOT however, any kind of an advocate to try 'no-hands' or anything like that... serves no perpose other that to crash!!:)