Indoor Cycling: Making it less boring

If you’re trying to maintain your cycling fitness over the winter and it’s too cold to venture outside then you need to get creative with your workouts!  If you’re not able to get to a cycling studio that offers watts based training then get a power meter, setup your bike at home and start pedaling until the snow melts. This year I discovered Golden Cheetah, the power analysis software, and it has helped make my indoor workouts much more fun interesting and productive.

GC is highly customizable so you can display what you want, and within reason, where you want it on the screen while you’re riding.  I’ve opted for a workout profile to one side, a video pane on the other and have been playing with different metrics across the top of the screen: Average power, Cadence, Current Power, Speed, HR…

Golden Cheetah workout screen

Golden Cheetah”s workout screen

Set Goals

Workout profiles are easy to setup.  Create several profiles for different interval intensities and durations.  I’m using a Kurt Kinetic trainer, so for me, the workout profile doesn’t alter my trainer’s resistance, but my power, cadence, speed (from my Powertap) and HR data will be graphed across my workout profile as I ride.  Check out this quick video on how to set a workout profile to include laps and average lap power:

Add some Media

Choose some riding videos to keep things interesting.  Get the Sufferfest videos or find some riding videos from youtube to give you the experience of a group ride  – where you never get dropped 🙂

You can ride somewhere different every week.  Last week I rode with Team SKY in Mallorca, did a group ride in Germany and rode a section from a the 2014 Tour de France.

Track Your Progress

The best part of Golden Cheetah is the post ride analysis.  Compare intervals within a ride or from one ride to another.  Have a look at cadence, HR, power, speed and how one affects the other.  Below, in the Ride Summary window, I highlight my 2nd 20min interval to see all of the relevant metrics at a glance: Duration, Avg Power, Avg Heart Rate, Avg Cadence etc.

Workout Summary

Workout Summary

Golden Cheetah has a ton of features that I have yet to take advantage of.  Check out their site for more info: http://www.goldencheetah.org/#section-features

Happy riding!

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Suunto Movestick Mini ANT+ USB stick

“What the heck is ANT+ USB stick and how will it help with my indoor bike training?”. Great questions, I’m glad I asked.

Like Bluetooth, ANT+ is a wireless protocol to allow connected devices to communicate. It’s very much the standard for fitness devices, especially in cycling. It allows various brands of devices to work together so that, for example, you can wirelessly connect your Powertap hub to your Garmin Edge 510 bike computer.

An ANT+ USB stick will allow communication between your various sensors and your home computer.

For my indoor training this year I wanted to display data from my bike sensors onto my laptop in real-time. If you want to go with TrainerRoad or similar training software, and it’s not running through an iPhone app, then this is one way to do it.

Suunto makes the cheapest ANT+ USB stick that I could find – The Suunto Movestick Mini, priced at just over $40CAN.

Suunto's Movestick Mini USB ANT+ stick

Suunto’s Movestick Mini USB ANT+ stick

Suunto  markets this device as a way to upload your data from various Suunto watches to their on-line training software at Movescount.com. They don’t even have the ANT+ logo on the packaging, so you’d have to look at their website for even a hint that this is in fact an ANT+ device.  So despite the many assurances from my otherwise trusty retailer that this would not work with my bike sensors, I picked up the Movestick Mini and headed home to give it a try.

The first thing you’ll notice is how tiny this thing is!

Suunto's Movestick Mini ANT+ USB stick

The 2nd thing, is how easy it is to setup.  Plug it in as you would a flash drive and it is auto-detected immediately.  Windows will then auto-load the device drivers and it is good to go!

So now what?

Now you’ll want some training software.  I went with the free Golden Cheetah v3.1 training software.  Its setup wizard gets your device(s) paired with ease.  For now it’s just pairing with my Powertap SL+ hub and my Bontrager Heart rate monitor, but will pick up any ANT+ device.  According to DCRainmaker, this USB stick has 8 channels, so you should be able to pick up every sensor that you need.

So, during my indoor rides (on my Kurt Kinetic Road Machine), Golden Cheetah now displays my speed, cadence, heart rate and power data, saves my workouts and offers a dizzying number of power data analysis tools.

Your screen can look a little something like this as you’re riding, but it is customizable:

Interval training in Golden Cheetah v3.1 Connected via a Suunto Movestick Mini

…but more on Golden Cheetah in another post.

Happy training!