Coping with Turbo Life

The last few days have presented a few challenges to us Brits. Several inches of snow have brought several areas of the UK to a standstill. Having had at best 1 day of snow a year for the last couple of years Suffolk is not remotely geared up to cope with this.

gascoigne drive snow
Proper snow!!!

The majority of the county have been worrying about menial things such as ‘getting to work’ and ‘running out of bread’. I can confirm neither have been an issue here in Suffolk, although that may be aided by the fact that I live next to a main road and am not a big lover of bread.

Anyway. For us cyclists the weather presented a much more pressing issue. Training. Early season gains don’t come free and with the weekend coming up a lot of people would have been set  some decent length sessions.

With the roads considered not suitable for riding to everyone bar Freddie, the turbo was the obvious option. This is not always an enjoyable prospect.

freddie snow
Freddie proving that cycling is possible in all conditions. Your bike OK down there mate?

So here is my guide to coping with turbo life. (Freddie this article no longer concerns you)

Turbo Life

Firstly I feel there is a myth here that needs addressing. Namely the popular rumour that I love the turbo. This, understandably, came about from the time when I did 40 hours of turbo in 3 weeks.

This was out of necessity. Not choice.

Where the myth began… remember this one?

Having said that. I will admit there is occasionally a small amount of truth behind the myth. But the max I can stretch to is calling it type 2 fun.

Just for clarity. The types of fun available:

Type 1 fun – Fun at the time. Fun in hindsight.

The cafe run. Type 1 fun at it’s best.

Type 2 fun – not fun at the time but in hindsight you become convinced it is the most fun you’ve ever had. Turbo life basically.

Mostly grim. Look back on session with fondness.

Type 3 fun – not fun at the time. Not fun in hindsight. Brings back memories of a certain cross race I did once… (FYI cross is normally type 1 fun. The weather and my softness played a big bearing in my selection of type 3)

cross race
Was probably just sad at how much my helmet clashed. Photo credit John Lloyd.

But anyway. Regardless of what type of fun you consider turbo life to be. It is sometimes unavoidable.

So back to coping with turbo.

Structured sessions

These don’t present too much of an issue. They are normally an hour to two hours max. Man up. Do the session. Job done.

Longer Sessions

Sessions longer than 2 hours generally require slightly more motivation. I will take the example of my 3 hour race replication session as a template for how to deal with these sessions.

I started by messaging coach to check he definitely wanted me to do the session. He did. Plan A of doing a shorter session was off then.

Still. There are ways to make long sessions fun. Everyone’s got zwift now right? (For those that haven’t it’s a virtual cycling world where you can ride with other cyclists. It’s been very busy over the last few days).

Tipper is currently in Thailand but was still on hand to convert the session into a ‘zwift friendly’ session.

zwift whatsapp
Modern day coaching requirement. Zwift knowledge. Still got lost though.

This is how we broke down the 3 1/2 hour session (yes we actually ended up making it longer):

Section 1 – Sprints. Go get the sprint jersey.

Sprint jersey. Check.

Section 2 – Race attack lap. Go get the lap jersey.

Lap jersey. Check.

Section 3 – Race replication session. Do a zwift race. Finish in a mediocre position amongst a group of guys. (50/130 FYI).

Got lost and ended up with the epic KOM jersey too…

So there you have it. A session that at times bordered on type 1 fun. 3 1/2 hours of reasonably pain free training.

Other Useful Tips for Coping with Turbo Life

There are a few other tips/hacks to making your turbo session more enjoyable.

Get some good tunes on – This is a very personal choice. But the main thing is to find a tune that makes you happy. Apparently 90-100 bpm is optimal if you want some science.

The jury’s out on whether westlife is appropriate on a turbo playlist…

Get your set up right – When you’re on the turbo you’re generating a lot of body heat, which generally means a lot of sweat too. Make sure the room is as well ventilated as possible and use a fan to create some wind chill. (Also make sure to turn the heating on again after so your long suffering house mate does not freeze)

Treated myself to the big screen. It’s he small things.

Ride with your mates – the beauty of zwift is that you can still ride with your mates (although it does help if you follow them back – sorry Ross). Set up a zwift groupchat and co-incide your rides for some extra fun 😉


** In Other News **

Quick update on the helmet situation. Owing to a small amount of collateral damage in an earlier crash, there has been a development in the green helmet saga.

The green helmet is no more.


Replaced by a slightly more discreet kask protone. I was given no say in the choice of colour this time (not sure why) and would therefore like to intoduce you all to my new white helmet…

New era.
Dad likes my new helmet so much he took a photo of it at a cafe.

So that just left one important question. Does anyone miss the green helmet?

helmet poll
Apparent 16 people actually miss the old one. Sorry guys. Its gone.



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