After a year of riding literally thousands of miles on my wind trainer, I decided it was time for a change. While I am grateful for the time I had on my trainer, I had reached the point where I needed more. Spinning the pedals was no longer keeping me happy. Leaving me to to plan and execute a workout on my own was simply not working. I needed more. I needed a challenge, a push, something simple, yet efficient.
My Strava friends lured me to their world of smart trainers and I have to admit, I was attracted to their connected apps – especially the bright colours and animation of Zwift and the simple design of TrainerRoad – but I was overwhelmed. Which trainer? Which program? Where do I start? Everyone I spoke to was telling me something different and there was too much information to read and absorb. So I turned to Dave.
“Do you want to help me find a Smart Trainer?” Fortunately, my technically inept but mechanically competent husband did know what I was talking about. His eyes lit up. “Yup. You need one.” And we didn’t talk about it again.
A week later, I got home from school and Dave announced his decision. “You need a Saris.”
“A what?” First of all, I didn’t even realize that he had been looking for a smart trainer. Secondly, in all the research that I had done, the name Saris hadn’t even come up.
“Saris,” Dave explained, “use to be Cyclops and they rebranded to Saris. Trust me. I have spent hours reading up on this.”
Cyclops: now that is a name that I knew. So I went off to start my own searches. Everything Dave told me was correct. Now in its third version of a smart trainer, Saris seemed to have fixed all of the problems in its predecessors; the reviews for the Saris H3 were good. Dave had tracked one down in St. Catherines and we headed there the next day to pick it up. We set it up that afternoon; I joined Zwift the next night and went for my first ride.
Switching from a dumb trainer to a smart trainer has been a bit of an adjustment as I have been forced to learn about the technical side of riding them – such as ergs vs. speed sensors, watts, creating interval programs – and it has been overwhelming. Let’s face it; no matter how young or old we are, it is important that we challenge our brains with new knowledge – information that we have to work at to process. For me, the mechanical aspect of smart trainers is giving me a mental workout so that I can get a physical workout. And both leave me realizing that I will not be able to go back to where I was. I am getting everything that I had hoped for: a challenge, a tougher workout that I don’t have to plan, and the push I need to become stronger on my bike.