Two-time Giro winner and Trek-Segafredo coach Ivan Basso explains why we shouldn't just hit the turbo when the weather is bad.
Make the choice
You shouldn’t think of your static trainer as a tool just for bad weather, you have to choose to use it because it’s useful.
In bad weather you can just grab a rain jacket and go out anyway, so it has to be about more than that. With a good trainer you can now get the smooth feeling of being on the road.
Training for all
Indoor training is used a lot by the pros, but it is for everyone who wants to get better. The idea of using the indoor trainer is to improve your performance, measure that improvement and educate you about your physical capabilities.
For all levels of rider the trainer can be used to improve your threshold power, your ability to sustain your highest possible power over 45–60 minutes.
The trainer is also very useful in helping you recover from injury, and can give you a warning that an injury might be on its way.
The top-end trainers can now give you a power output for each leg, which allows you to see the difference between the two. A drop off in one might be a warning that there is a problem you need to address, while a rider coming back from injury will be able to see and measure their improvement.
Of course, a static trainer is also very useful if you are recovering from an upper body injury as it allows you to keep the legs turning without the risks of the road.
Cycling is more and more about the details, and not just at the top professional level. If you want to improve, you need to train very specifically and some of the sessions you will need to do require the freedom of a static trainer.
Out on the road you have wind, rain, hills, descents, traffic, dangerous situations to deal with, so you can’t do an effort of even one minute full gas. Also, the head is not completely free to concentrate on the session because you have to consider all these other things.
The turbo is actually a good friend of training on the road; it isn’t the enemy! For example, you can head out onto the road for a good endurance training session and then come back and finish your training with some hard efforts on the turbo.
It’s also good for warming down from a race or a hard session, especially if the final part of your ride doesn’t allow you to ease off.
Thanks to Technogym, whose MyCycling turbo trainer Ivan helped to develop.