Maliot Blanc Column by Toby Miles - Suffering on the indoor trainer

PUBLISHED: 11:37 15 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:37 15 May 2018

Malliot Blanc cycling columnist Toby Miles in competitive action on the continent. Credit: Martine Verfaillie.

Malliot Blanc cycling columnist Toby Miles in competitive action on the continent. Credit: Martine Verfaillie.

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Read Toby Miles’ Malliot Blanc Column as the 18-year-old aspiring professional cyclist delves into the feared necessity of indoor training sessions.

Toby in action racing in Israel. Credit: rent-a-bike-israel.comToby in action racing in Israel. Credit: rent-a-bike-israel.com

After an encouraging podium spot last week, I was frustratingly out of action this weekend after I discovered a crack at the bottom of my bike’s carbon fork.

Seeing the results of races you were entered in is very painful but if the crack had worsened, the base of the fork could have snapped off, so until my new fork arrives I’m training indoors.

The indoor turbo trainer is mostly used as a very helpful option to avoid illness in winter, when you’re worn down by the training load and still not far from race weight - making going out to exhaust yourself in the cold and rain for hours a risk.

So like I did in January and February, this week I fixed my broken bike to the turbo and pedalled like a hamster on a wheel.

My turbo can also be connected to Zwift: a computer programme where you can ride or race around a virtual island alongside hundreds of other riders. It’s like an online video game, except rather than pressing a button to move forwards, you’ve got to pedal.

It’s a lot better than staring at a wall for those two hour interval sessions like I used to. It can also help to simulate terrain we don’t have in North Herts - mountain climbs.

The turbo is passionately hated by most riders and though Zwift makes it easier, there’s no hiding from the pain. With no wind chill to cool you down, the sweat puddle under the bike builds with each minute as the argument rages between your head and legs.

I quite like using the turbo for intervals though, as you can control your effort better and there’s no interruptions.

However we race on roads, so training on them is the ideal option every time. The bike’s bolt upright position on the turbo blunts your power slightly compared to riding outdoors, where the bike can sway slightly with each pedal stroke.

Also, I’d go mad if I had to do four-hours indoors. As important as they are for teaching your body to be more efficient with energy, sustaining motivation and relatively enjoying it is more important.

I’ll ride a virtual race soon to satisfy my competitive desire as I wait not so patiently for the package to arrive, but I’m desperate to get back onto the roads of North Herts and back to racing - in the real world anyway.

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