Last weekend I had the opportunity to take my bike down onto the Tasman Peninsula for a ride along the coast and into the hills. It was one of those rare and perfect early winter evenings. Still mild enough to have the legs out, not a drop of wind and hardly a car to contend with.
It’s not often enough I get out on the road these days and this ride certainly reminded me of what I am missing out on!
During the summer the roads down on the Peninsula are jammed full of tourist rental cars and badly driven camper vans, but outside of peak season you can almost have the place to yourself. It really is a little slice of island paradise. If it weren’t for the fading light I could have ridden for hours, but in the end I rolled back to the house with a shade over 51km on the Garmin, three Cat 4 Climbs, 28kph average, two Strava KOMS and one absolutely stunning sunset to finish off the ride. Some days life is just ohhh so sweet and it makes you thankful to be alive. #keepthosepedalsturning
The age old debate of Wahoo KICKR vs Tacx NEO! Arguably the top two smart turbo trainers currently on the market (although there are plenty of new contenders). If you’re looking for the ultimate indoor trainer or epic Zwift experience then these two are your top choices as both are high quality trainers in their own right. I rode a KICKR but bought a NEO. It’s the first day of winter down here in Tassie, so here are my 5 reasons why the Tacx NEO is an insanely fantastic piece of kit:
1) It’s rated to simulate 20% inclines and can handle 2200 watts. Higher on both fronts than the Wahoo KICKR. Oh and that’s a lot of watts, in fact if you can hit that kind of wattage on a regular basis, then I want to be reading YOUR blog.
2) The sound of silence. When Tacx say the NEO is near silent they mean it. Your fan (you do have a fan, right?) will be louder. So will your drivetrain. My wife is often asleep in the next room, her head literally three feet away. She can’t hear it. Have a listen to DCRainmaker’s KICKR vs NEO sound comparison below.
3) Direct drive. No rear wheel equals better power transfer, no tyre wear and no slippage. All your effort goes into smashing out watt bombs! It’s a turbo trainer game changer. I’d never go back to a wheel-on trainer.
4) No need to calibrate. Every single other smart turbo currently on the market requires some form of periodic calibration to retain accuracy. Sometimes every ride and after the turbo has warmed up. Not the NEO. Not once, not ever. Get on. Ride.
5) It syncs seamlessly with Zwift (other platforms available) for a fully immersive experience. It can even simulate road surfaces such as wooden bridges and cobbled streets if you want it to. Hit a virtual 10% incline? You’ll feel it! Head downhill after that big climb? The NEO spins out as if you’re flying back down the mountain! I could write a whole bunch of superlatives and fancy metaphors describing the experience, but you really need to ride it for yourself.
And of course, the one big reason it’s not so awesome…
1) It is – without a shadow of a doubt – a crazy expensive trainer! There’s no getting around the fact that you could buy a very decent second road bike for the money the NEO will set you back. It’s quite the purchase so you’ve got to know you’re going to get serious use out of it before pulling the trigger.
Now, who want’s to buy my no-longer-needed rear wheel? #RideOn
Some moments are just too good to waste on the trainer. My plan for the evening was to get home from work and jump on Zwift for an hour’s sweetspot session, but perfect weather (combined with an internet outage, hehehe) convinced me to unshackle myself from the trainer and head outdoors for some magically mellow miles.
A quick photo stop on the jetty to capture a perfect late summer evening…
I took my trusty time trial bike out for a spin as I need to clock up some more time in that position. Well, what a fantastic evening for it! I wasn’t pushing super hard or staring at my Garmin stats, just enjoying the fresh sea air, but I still managed to pick up some Strava PRs (including a couple of Top 5 times). Some days, there’s just no better way to spend and evening than outside on two wheels. #moremilesmoresmiles
* Photo critique: Yeah I know, I didn’t remove my light, saddle bag or water bottle and also forgot to line up valve stems properly. At least it’s in the big ring! ;-)
That’s right folks, 10% of 2017 has already passed you by…
What have you achieved?
I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve been pushing at work for more control over the web development and Photoshop side of the business. That has meant I’ve basically created a new job for myself, instead of the work being outsourced. This has taken me from three days per week up to five. Working part time since leaving Sigma Sport has been great, but it’s time to step it up again.
My cycling has been going strong with a mix of road and virtual. I’ve been getting in a bunch of regular evening Zwift sessions. Team WBR have weekly group training rides that include tough intervals, sprint training and races. It’s a great way to clock up some really intense time in the saddle. On the road I’m still seeing the positive results from all that hard work.
I hope 2017 is falling into place for you all too. Those “up North” must be starting to feel the end of winter approaching now with thoughts turning to Spring and warmer, brighter outdoor miles! :-)
I was looking at my Garmin Connect stats this evening and realised I’d just recently rolled over the 5000 mile mark for the year! I know it’s not much compared to some but it’s a good milestone for me. Last year I finished on a shade over 4460 miles.
I don’t really set mileage targets, but with any luck I should hit 6000 miles by the end of the year. Next year I may aim for 6215 miles (which is 10,000km).
My favourite ride of the year (and I’ve had MANY great ones) was probably the AAT Surrey Sportive that I blasted around with a tight bunch of my Woking CC mates. A well organised event and a thoroughly enjoyable 95 miles breaking in my newly built Kinesis.
Monday morning is looking like the first truly freezing ride of the year. It’s forecast to drop to zero degrees so I’ll be dusting off the full winter jacket for the first time this season!
Well that’s September done and dusted. Where does the time go? Now begins the slide into the chilly and dark depths of the British winter.
This month has been a big one for me on the bike. A shade over 900 miles in total, riding every day except four.
My legs were pretty shot over the first half of the month but they’ve almost gotten used to the regular mileage now. Just got to keep going forwards! I’m looking forward to some Autumn commuting – one of my favourite seasons – and plan to continue riding as much as possible through the winter months and cycle commuting to work as long as the weather permits. Here’s what my cycling month looked like: