If you know me or have been following me for a while, you know that I've really gotten into cycling over the past 2-years. I bought my first real bike in May 2013, a Felt F75X cyclocross bike, added road tires, and have been riding ever since. Only logged about 500-miles in 2013, but finished 2014 with 1,792.6-miles/36,538-feet of climbing since my first ride on March 30th... the Michigan winter was brutal! I failed in my goal to cross the 2,000-mile marker for the year, so even more important to reach it this year.
All this lead me to seeking out an indoor trainer. Last winter, I made the mistake of not riding after September due to not having proper cycling clothes for the cooler weather, not to mention the 200-inches of snow we received and the endless 0-degree days. I gained back about 25-pounds of the 40 I had lost, so I don't want to do that again. I've finally heading back down in the right direction and am almost back to my low weight of 2013. Almost. Kinda, not really, but heading in the right direction. With that said, the 2014-2015 winter has been a repeat. I did buy warmer clothes, but not sufficient enough for Michigan weather. I only rode once in December and once in January... which was also my first major fall... on ice, and I'm still sore nearly a month later.
Last fall, Fraser Bicycle put on a Trainer Demo Night with Steve Bessony from Wahoo Fitness. There were also other trainers set up to demo, but THE reason I went in was to test out the Wahoo Kickr and it did not disappoint! I also rode the Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll, and I enjoyed the ride and core-engagement, but it does not have the apps or iOS integration and control that the Kickr has; that to me is a huge negative. We live in an information age and I want apps and stats to track my fitness. The Wahoo Kickr paired with Strava and the Wahoo Segments app make exercise fun! For me, that is a HUGE win! I'm your typical fat American that never really cared about my health or exercised because I wanted to. I never really thought about traveling the world to see things... watching on TV was enough for me. Not anymore. I don't just want to see the world, I want to ride it and climb it! I embrace the suffering!
Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.
Unfortunately, I live in Michigan where there are not any mountains to climb, so getting a Wahoo Kickr is the next best thing. From the Kickr iPad app, you can select any road in the world to ride on. If the road segment hasn't already been created, you can create your own. Now you can train for your exact ride, sans temperature and wind. And the kicker of the Kickr... your ride automatically increases to the correct gradient! How else am I supposed to train for 7% — 12% grades in Michigan? This is the feature I believe all trainers will be and should be measured by.
I've also been looking into training for elevation since pretty much everything around here is 800-feet above sea level and I don't want to bonk on Monte Zoncolan! In my searches, I found the Elevation Training Mask. This mask allows you to train for elevation from 3,000-ft to 18,000-feet in 3,000-ft increments, but pretty sure I'll be sticking to 3,000-ft and 6,000-ft resistances.
While this isn't a post to review in-depth details of the products (there are plenty already if you do a Google search), but rather I wanted to simply inform about the Wahoo Kickr and Elevation Training Mask because I know they will greatly benefit you if you're looking to do the same training I am. I currently do not have either product and am still looking to test out an elevation mask, but I do intend to purchase both the Wahoo Kickr and Elevation Training Mask in the near future.
We all have different goals, abilities, and disabilities, but that's where I feel like having the right training tools can really help everyone, no matter what your circumstances are. Testing out the Wahoo Kickr left me impressed (and sad that I didn't have $1,200 to spare) and I knew I had to share my experience. The course Steve put me on was a 1.1-mile segment of Hines Drive with a surprisingly difficult 3.5% grade climb at the end... I was convinced it was 35%. It was short, so it was a steep climb, but really showcased what a great trainer the Wahoo Kickr is. I think my time on the 1.1-mile segment was 3:13 with some crazy max power numbers, but I think my average watts came back down to my normal 250-ish range.
Caveat: Both the Wahoo Kickr and Kurt Kinetic Rock N' Roll have weight limits of 250-pounds, which I am not. I did not know either had weight limits until I researched further after the demo night. That said, Steve from Wahoo did ask my weight and I was honest and he still let me ride. I ended up needing my rear wheel adjusted after the 3-minute demo, so I'm assuming that weight limit has its reasons.
I know I'm never going to ride in the Peloton, but I can improve my times at Stony Creek Metropark and one day make it up the Dutton Road hill! Those are my personal stages. Dutton is my Mont Ventoux... for now. I also would love to travel to Europe to make myself suffer up Passo dello Stelvio and THE Mont Ventoux and other famous climbs. In my mind I'm Nairo Quintana, in reality I'm a giant bull in a china shop. My point is, with the Wahoo Kickr, I can select any road or segment in the world and ride it. With the Wahoo Kickr, I know I will lose more weight, improve strength and stamina, and one day take a trip to Europe knowing without a doubt that I'm going to raise my bike over my head atop the Giant of Provence! Vive le Wahoo Kickr!
To learn more about or to purchase the Wahoo Kickr or Elevation Training Mask, click the links or images below.