FAQ ~ Road or Turbo
It doesn't matter who you are, you can't (safely) push yourself to
absolute physical limits, to the point of almost blackout, when out on the road.
Paul Le Bihan ~ Pre Season Ramp Test
Can the mid-week sessions in your programmes be
undertaken on the road rather than a turbo?
Jon Murray ~ UK
The great conundrum; road or turbo? Let's look at the pros and cons of each...
The Turbo (Indoor Trainer)
99% of our sessions are sixty minutes or less; that includes warm-up and cool down. So you know exactly how long, and exactly where, you are going to be for the duration of the effort.
Turbos give you an absolute consistency of effort; no head or tail winds, no road works, no road furniture, no one to watch out for other than the dog's nose or tail.
The reason I developed these programmes was due to the fact that where I live, , we don't have any uninterrupted, straight, flat, roads where you can do "quality" 20 minute FTP sessions.
So anything that requires any consistency of effort, or an eye's wide shut effort, for me, is best done on the turbo.
But to be honest, very few people look forward to an hour on the rack. Apart from a few big events in the US, not many people race turbos. There's a reason for that; unless you have an excellent set-up, (which I think I have) it can get pretty hot, boring and un-enjoyable. And isn't that the main reason we do this? To enjoy it!
All smiles out on the road ~ although I feel the cold more than Jason!
Rather than just list the opposite of all the above, the road is where it happens. We ride, race and train mainly on the road. If you live in a safe environment, there's little more fun to be had than a great ride, training or otherwise, on your bike.
But sometimes you just can't get that consistency of effort you need or want. And when it comes to that shut your eyes, bury yourself, and hang until you almost literally "explode", then the turbo has the road beat. See Mr Le Bihan above!
But when the weather, climate, or environment aren't conducive to a "quality session" then the turbo is hard to beat for our mid-week intense sessions. The road will always win out at the weekend, no matter what the weather, but sometimes you have to mix and match.
So the short answer is yes, of course they can. All of our sessions can be done on the road or turbo; but some are better served exclusively with turbo work.
A lot of our riders don't even have turbos and undertake all their work on the road. So you just make best use of what you have.
Everything in life is a compromise, it's the riders that compromise the least that usually come out the best. So make a judgement call, ask yourself how important is it that this session nails it? If it's a Base Build or Tempo Session, then a safe, dry, rambling route, road ride is just as good.
As with all these things, there's no definitive answer...
Simon Boyle ~ you wouldn't want to have been riding next to him, on the road, as he went to a very dark place for the last 30 seconds of his Ramp Test effort...