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The Fun That Can Be Had with the Wahoo KICKR Indoor Computrainer

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Why would anyone want to subject themselves to interval training on a stationary trainer? Yeah, it sucks, but it sucks more to be suffering trailside on a nice summer day when there are mountains to ride and races to race!

What is the Wahoo KICKR? Simply it is an indoor electromagnetically controlled cycling resistance trainer (a computrainer device). The KICKR is unique though in a few ways. First, it is a direct drive trainer, which means it connects directly into a bike’s drivetrain as a replacement for the back wheel.  This helps with reducing noise when comared to a roller like trainer where the tire is in contact with the roller surface. It also allows for more direct feedback of the resistance unit. Another unique feature is that is it software driven with an API to allow for applications to be developed to control the resistance and collect output data wirelessly over ANT+ or Bluetooth. This allows third parties to create various applications to drive the resistance of the KICKR.

I have now had my KICKR for three months and have tried numerous applications and have finally settled on one, TrainerRoad, a laptop based structured interval training application. Others I have tried that are favorable have been iMobileIntervals and the Wahoo Strava Segments app. All three apps provide variable resistance training and collect output data such  as power, heart rate, cadence, and speed.

What is the single most effective feature of the Wahoo KICKR? For me, I use the KICKR for specific interval training. Intervals range from Endurance efforts to Tempo to Steady State to Threshold and above efforts depending on what is on tap for the day. Problems that I have had with this sort of training in the past have been with consistency, keeping within a zone for the entire interval. Since the KICKR provides the resistance based on the forces applied to it, no matter my cadence it sticks me into the specified power zone. This is great, I don’t have to focus on Watts or really even my cadence, I just turn the pedals and let go and hope I can make it  to the end. As a result my efforts are effective intervals that are precisely in the specified zone, not high, not low. For the first time in five years my sustained 20 minute and 60 minute averages have gone up!

Critics will say the Colorado Front Range has mild enough winters that training outdoors all year round is not an issue. Certainly true for those that can get out during daylight hours, true for those who have less demanding work schedules, but for the time crunched cyclist the KICKR has become invaluable!