Calculated Advantage: RacerMate CompuTrainer
RacerMate CompuTrainer redefined indoor riding when its innovative technology hit the market 25 years ago. At its price point, the CompuTrainer may not seem an obvious first choice for triathletes, but this time-saving tool is worth it. As the only trainer to replicate the physics of the riding on the road, the CompuTrainer allows athletes to get the most out of their training. As the most tried and tested, the unit will last for years. TMC’s Kevin Mackinnon is still riding his that is over a decade old.
An electronic fly wheel simulates rider weight and motion resistance, allowing riders to train cycle specific muscles to create the neurological patterning for rides in the real world. This is how CompuTrainer can guarantee a performance enhancement of 10 to 20 per cent with regular use. No other trainer has made that claim. The trainer samples speed throughout the pedal stroke at 100 times per second for maximum accuracy. By performing a simple inertia test you will get a clear understanding of the benefits of having the full physics of cycling included in your trainer.
Try accelerating to 20 MPH from standing on a flat, windless day on the road. Record the time elapsed. Then try the same acceleration on the CompuTrainer and you’ll see how close they are. Other trainers can’t replicate that real world time lapse without the inertial effect of the Electronic Flywheel. By accurately simulating road physics, CompuTrainer allows riders to train corresponding muscle recruitment making them road ready.
Short on Time?
Time-crunched triathletes will value the efficiency of training with a CompuTrainer. While I’ve been riding CompuTrainers for over 10 years, I’d never had one in my own home. My test unit has radically changed how I organize my day. It takes under 30 seconds to get your bike up and rolling on the trainer, so if only have one hour to ride, you can actually do one hour from warm-up to shower, not wasting time on travel or lengthy setup. It’s important to let the tire warm up
so you can adjust the “press on” force as needed for accuracy, but this can be seamlessly built into your warm-up. It takes about 10 minutes to do so. A quick acceleration up to 25 miles per hour, followed by a pause, will display the pounds of pressure–a number that should be between two and three for accuracy. If it falls outside of that range, simply adjust the tension on the tire and repeat. Press “set” to lock in that load and away you go.
Apartment and condo-dwelling triathletes will really like both how smooth and quiet the unit is, but also how neatly and easily the sturdy steal frame folds up and tucks away.
I’d also never before used the Puck Optical Cadence Sensor which monitors cadence without a direct bike attachment. It sits neatly beneath the right pedal and plugs into the head unit where rpm is displayed below power. This means triathletes with a front end water bottle holder or those who like to stay in the aero position, can do so with more room to move – no additional bike computer needed.
The RacerMate One and Real Course Videos
A comprehensive software suite includes Spin Scan biofeedback allowing riders to address any imbalances and further maximize training. Also included in the RacerMate software are real course videos of just about any race course in the world. This industry changing feature has allowed riders to accurately pre-ride a course and get to know proper gearing and effort so race day decisions become intuitive. The multirider options let you race yourself from an earlier saved ride, or riders you can customize to hold a set wattage or speed to keep you on your toes. Power training intervals in the manual Ergometer Mode are my personal favourite as I can dial in my coach’s workout and not have to waste energy thinking about my targets. The CompuTrainer sets and hold them.
Canadian pro Cody Beals has credited the CompuTrainer for a breakout season in 2014, where he claimed second at Ironman 70.3 Muskoka and fifth at Ironman 70.3 Texas. “A CompuTrainer allowed me to take my training philosophy of making every minute count to the nth degree. Although I rode one third less than in 2013, I made more efficient use of my time and my bike fitness increased dramatically.”
Once you experience all the options the CompuTrainer has to offer, the higher end price point seems to shrink. It’s an investment that stands to make you a whole new rider.