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Earlier this Christmas season I got my bike all set up on the trainer for a good, long ride. I even popped “Christmas Vacation” into the DVD player to help keep my mind off the monotonousness of riding on a trainer. During the winter, trainers (or a lot better tolerance for cold than I have) are required. In a recent read, I found some ways to improve my trainer rides and spend less time at it.

After a 10-15 minute light warm-up ending with a 10 minute cool down, try a couple of these each week.

Speed Intervals improve power and speed, and help you recover from repeated hard efforts:
—Do four one-minute fast-pedal intervals: Use an easy gear and as high a cadence as possible. Keep your rate of perceived exertion (RPE ) low—5 out of 10. Recover for two minutes between efforts.
—Pedal five minutes easy.
—Do 10 to 12 intervals of 30 seconds on/30 seconds off. The “on” portions are 95 percent effort (RPE 9 to 9.5) at as high a cadence as possible. Stand or sit as needed. For the “off” parts, spin easy.
Make it harder by adding one on/off interval, up to 20 total.

Climbing Bursts help you respond to attacks on hills:
—Simulate a hill by raising the bike’s front wheel.
—Ride 10 minutes at a pace you can hold for an hour (90 to 100 percent of threshold power or heart rate; RPE 8). Once every two minutes, stand and attack for 12 to 15 pedal strokes—a near all-out effort.
—Spin easy for 10 minutes.
—Repeat (do three fast efforts total).
Make it harder by trying 2×15 minutes (10 minutes recovery), then 3×12 (six minutes recovery), then 2×20 (10 minutes recovery).

Ladder Intervals simulate the demands of racing:
—Pedal for four minutes at RPE 8 (90 to 100 percent of threshold power), then three minutes at RPE 9 (100 to 110 percent of threshold), then one minute allout (115 percent of threshold).
—Spin easy for five minutes.
—Pedal one minute all-out, then three minutes at RPE 9, then four minutes at RPE 8.
—Spin easy for 10 minutes.
—Repeat the sequence.
Make it harder by adding 30 seconds to each rung of the ladder, then a minute.

I personally ride the CycleOps Mag Trainer I bought from Plano Cycling, one of our sponsors. Choosing one that fits your budget, noise tolerance and storage space are three things you must consider when buying one.

By the way, I enjoyed the movie more than the indoor ride. Hopefully incorporating these three indoor training sessions will help.

Here’s a visual of what all you’ll need for your indoor ride. (Courtesy of

1. Water Expect to drink more than you would outside.
2. Fans Keep your body (and your back tire) cool.
3. Rubber mat You’ll drip sweat, and your trainer might skid as you hammer.
4. Towel Drape it over the frame to protect it from moisture.
5. Phone book You can buy bike-specific risers to level the wheels, but the white pages work just as well.
6. Entertainment TV, iPod, training buddy.