Winter Indoor Riding
I'd much rather be outside riding but when the temperatures are hovering between zero and 20, I'm riding inside. Actually my lower limit to head out is temperatures in the 30's and rising. Above 40 and I'm going out, usually. Having been riding more for 38 years I've gotten used to riding inside. I estimate that 1/3 of my yearly miles (11-15,000) are in the basement. I know a lot of cyclist just can't deal with it but here are the things that make indoor riders very good training.
1. Its easy to walk in the door and get on the bike quickly. An outdoor ride just takes more prep time. During a busy weekday, the indoor bike saves time.
2. No stop lights or signs means the time on the bike is very efficient. I never stop pedaling.
3. Intervals inside are very repeatable and comparable from one ride to the next as there is no wind or slope influence.
4. Indoor rides are great mental training. Time does seem to go slower inside. Learning to concentrate on cadence, power, and HR relative to watts will greatly help once we're back outside.
5. Speaking of watts, the indoor bike does allow for more consistent power outputs. When I look at the power graphs, indoor vs out, the indoor while still full of peaks and valleys has a much lower range of variability, maybe 10-20 wats. Outside the power will jump all over with watts varying maybe 30-50 watts. Keeping that goal wattage outside an be tougher.
How do I get through the indoor rides? I always have the tv on although usually I go with straight music for intervals using either my phone or the stereo. Nothing like some Altec Lansing studio monitors and some Allman Bothers.
I also read, a lot. I go through two or three daily newspapers, on-line articles, Kindle books, magazines, etc. I can read through long intervals at tempo and steady state. For the short big power efforts, I use songs to gauge the time. An 8 minute effort requires two good songs. Ten 30 second efforts, maybe one good 5 minute song. I also answer a lot of emails and texts while riding but I never take phone calls unless it would be an emergency.
I'll also use a basketball, baseball or football game to get in some rides and occasionally a movie. Even with some on tv, I still like to have something to read.
I don't use Zwift or any of the indoor group ride/simulated ride software. I actually found those to make the time go slower. Watching a simulated landscape go by on the screen just didn't work for me. And I don't enjoy the competition on those rides. I do better knowing what I need to hold given my events and training at and above those levels.
I'll also do two rides on some days, one in the morning and one at lunch or late in the afternoon. I rarely ride in the evenings.
Having a nice room to ride in also helps. Our basement is warm and carpeted and I have a large fan when needed. I'm also riding the Stages SC3 bike which is great for tracking all of the ride data and loading to TrainingPeaks.