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Rollers.....and clipping in.....(7 posts)

Rollers.....and clipping in.....mlester
Oct 29, 2002 5:34 AM
Some rollers from Nashbar recently came into my possesion. My friend accidently got double charged but received two rollers....good for me. Anyway, I now have a few questions about training on rollers. I am in the New England area and it's starting to get nippy out.

What is the best way to train on rollers? Heart rate? Speed? Distance? Cadence? Time? A varied combination of all? Are there training tapes out there? How can I utilize these rollers to come into next season with legs of steel? And at what point, if any, would I consider clipping in? Sneakers are a little uncomfortable on my little pedals.

Any advice would be a great help....thanks.

re: Rollers.....and clipping in.....sharkey
Oct 29, 2002 6:39 AM
First of all, rollers are a terrific way to train during the winter. Not only will they help you stay fit, the benefits to your spin and balance on the bike will definitely be noticed in the paceline next season!

Although all forms of "static riding" are inherently boring, I find rollers to be a little boring than resistance trainers . . . mainly because you have to pay attention so you don't fall off.

I train with a heart monitor and do intervals for a duration of 1 hour. Although there is a lot of variance, this is the routine I try to stick with. Keep in mind that everyone's approach is different, and there are a lot of correct ways to do this:

Warm up: About 10 minutes in an easy gear with relatively high cadence and heart rate at around 130-140.

After that, I alternate between a few minutes of effort at or around the "warm up" heart rate range, and longer one or two minute efforts at a @175 to 180 heart rate (my max is 190).

I always try to keep a high cadence throughout the workout, but you can certainly play around with useing bigger gears at lower cadences if you want. In my opinion, there really isn't any need to get a resistance unit for your rollers. You can find all the resistance you need in a 53 x 12!

One final note about getting bored: Riding on a trainer is boring . . . always will be. So make it a point to ride with a training partner . . . it is the difference between being bored to tears at 20 minutes and bored to tears at 50 minutes! It also helps to watch TV . . . I never used "training tapes" although I've got a nice library of TDF and Giro and spring classics VHF tapes to watch while I spin.

While everyone's overall numbers will be different, this is an average of milage and average speed that I experience:

Time: 1 hour
Average speed: 23 to 24 mph
Speed at warm up and rest interval: @ 20 mph
Speed at "high effort" interval: @ 35 mph
Speed at sprint interval: @ 40 to 42 mph

Note about sprinting on a set of rollers: Going really fast on rollers can be scary and requires your full attention. Some folks can sprint out of the saddle on rollers (I'm not there yet). The key here is to go as fast as possible without bouncing the bike . . . you have to stay SMOOTH (therein lies the real benefit of rollers!). Basically, for the first several sessions, don't worry about how fast you are going when you "sprint", be more concerned about what speed (and cadence) you are at when you start to bounce. With time, you will find that the speed at which your cadence gets choppy gets higher . . . and higher . . . !!!

As for pedals . . . if you're really nervous about the rollers and falling off, you could use flat pedals for the first time or two, but I would definitely make an effort to loose them as soon as possible. Get in a doorway or next to a wall and practice . . . you'll get it in no time.

Good luck next season!
regarding the clipping in partjoekm
Oct 29, 2002 7:07 AM
I would recommend starting with loose toe clips or flat pedals until your confidence level comes up. I believe you can get toe clip adaptors for clipless pedals. Trying to pedal on clipless with sneakers could be more of a hazard than it is worth. Put your self next a wall or in a doorway to help stabilize yourself (I prefer a wall but YMMV). The best advice I can give you while you are learning is not to focus on the front roller. Pick a spot on the floor about 4 feet out where you can still see the front wheel in your periphial vision. Concentrate on riding to that spot.

Also, falling off the rollers is typically not a big deal (especially if you can get a foot free to put down). Your not going to go rocketing through the wall because your wheels simply can't store enough rotational inertia. The bike will just stop, perhaps leaving a short skid mark on the floor.

Get stable and confident on the rollers first, then change to your clipless pedals so you can really work on refining your spin.

Good Luck :)
Kreitler recommends starting out with platform pedals, butbill
Oct 29, 2002 7:30 AM
I didn't see the point of all that switching around, so I just always used clipless. I might not have left that huge scratch in the floor from my cleat sliding out when I fell that time, but you do learn quickly.
As far as clipping in, I do it like I'm getting on a horse. Clip in one side, hoist up on the bike by holding onto something, then clip in the other side and pedal away.
When gauging workouts on rollers, there is so much variability in resistance (tire pressure becomes huge; tire rolling resistance and size of the rollers matter, too), that time and heartrate are the only variables easily controlled, so you really can't compare with someone else's experience using distance or mileage. Time and effort, that's all.
Make sure that you vary your intervals -- design workouts for leg speed, or strength, or muscular endurance, or speed endurance, just like the man (Friel being the man) says. I usually try to do one or maybe (rarely) two kinds of intervals in a session, a session being no more than about an hour (both time constraints in the a.m. and my butt presenting significant limiting factors).
...on Friel (additional comments): Base Hours!Spunout
Oct 29, 2002 8:17 AM
His workouts in the base period are great for rollers into February (or even March, for me here in Ottawa).

Make sure you get your base and preparation hours in before doing intervals, you'll be the "Christmas Stars" and burnt out by summer.
Just started rollers myself...doorway is the only way to start.MXL02
Oct 29, 2002 7:43 AM
I just couldn't do it any other way, and I used clipless pedals from the start. I put the bike on the rollers, mounted holding on to the wall then gradually let go and grabbed the handlebars. Good luck.
re: Rollers.....and clipping in.....Scot_Gore
Oct 29, 2002 3:11 PM
I started on flats when learning to ride rollers. There's a transition period that I still refer to as "pure fear" that I felt more comfortable not having to worry about getting un-clipped. I live in an area that gets multiple feet of snow so I could put the flats on and not be hassled by needing to get the clipless on for the next ride. The next ride was in March.