The Peaks Challenge at Falls Creek entails more than 4,000 meters (13,100 feet) of climbing. Living in the flat land makes it hard to prepare the legs. One answer is an indoor trainer that can simulate the resistance that would be experienced climbing hills. I settled on the Tacx Neo 2T and with the help of Youtube got it up and running. I’m currently enjoying, if that’s the right word, a one month free trial of the Tacx software.
Here’s a shot of the pain cave …
I’ve repurposed a superseded lap top and thunderbolt screen and added an ANT+ dongle to the computer so that it can read my heart rate monitor. In this shot I’m setting off to climb the Jaufen Pass. The video advances to match the speed that you’re making whilst the software adjusts the resistance to reflect the gradient.
Here’s a screen grab nearing the top of the pass …
On the left of screen you can see speed, power, cadence, heart rate, time elapsed, the gradient and in the tiny letters the most important information is the distance to the top.
The real Jaufen Pass is in the Alps in the far north of Italy. On the Tacx the ride to the top is a little over 15 km and climbs 1,087 meters. Average gradient is 7.2% and it maxes out at 9.4%. You can continue down the other side but I can’t for the life of me see why you would, you reach impossible speeds with no effort and round corners in a fashion that would be lethal in real life and are too dizzying to look at on screen.
How does it compare with the real thing? It certainly feels pretty realistic and I think it will substitute well for the missing mountains.
As well as a library of videos there is a workout section where you can set up an interval session with control over gradient if that’s your thing and there’s a built in ramp test and FTP test.
The trainer will work with other apps such as Zwift and RGT. They have free introductory offers that I will probably make use of before choosing which way to go in the long term.
Meanwhile there are 54 days until the big event which equals four Jaufen Passes plus a whole load of connecting asphalt.