Any benefit to Traditional Base vs Sweet Spot?

I was listening to a Tim Cusick seminar and he mentioned that the difference between pros vs joes is that pros just do the work. Nothing fancy just day after day of endless boring work.

Now we all know that our dream, riding base in Mallorca or Girona, is a pros work but the main point stands. Long Z2 is boring there’s no way to sex it up.

Plus the TR crew has some of the richest and deepest cycling data ever, more than they know what to do with. In the end it’s a business. I’m sure they’ve looked at the number of “users” who pay a fee yearly, then monthly payers, then of those (payers) who finish workouts regularly year round, those who complete full seasons (base build specialty), those who complete base, and on and on until they’re at a number where it does not make business sense to use resources on that small of a return. Guess what, fad following type A’s (us) are an even smaller number of a tiny fraction of a percentage.

We’re here everyday some of us for hours everyday. We’ll never know but I’d guess forum dweller feature requesting on the trainer all year round guy is a small fraction of the TR user base.

We overestimate our importance/significance.

Face it riding a trainer in your house sucks. That’s why we demand entertainment. Zwift, Netflix, Races, Chads Text-Cadence Drills, Pedaling Economy constantly changing beeping “great job” feedback is what we need to complete even an hour on the indoor rack.

And that is why we have SS over TB. Again with their data. I’d be willing to bet TR sees way more “success” with SS over TB. By orders of magnitude. Remember…TR’s success has to include $$ along with “making YOU faster” success. And I NEVER begrudge a business making money. It’s how we get cool shit. But realize that no matter our passion, love and (weird) drive to engage with their product it’s now a profitable business and the “more” matters significantly higher on the priority list than the “less”.

Guess which one we are?


So is it fair to say that TR has now morphed from an ‘indoor cycling training’ app, collecting dollars by making us faster, to an ‘indoor cycling entertainment’ app collecting dollars by keeping us (minimally) entertained?

If ‘cycling entertainment’ is all the rage, and the future, then TR has fallen very behind the curve and they aren’t going to keep up by putting lipstick on a pig (TB). In the end, they are providing content their customers want.


I never found base miles boring when I could ride outside in decent weather. Pros usually live in nice places around other pros and always have a training partner if they want it. They can also sleep in, ride at 10am during the best part of the day, and then eat and relax after their ride. Base miles is probably the easiest part of a pro’s job.


If I could ride at the speeds the pros do during their base period at their RPE I would actually find it anything but boring.

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No it’s not Don Quixote. Where did I say TR was “cycling entertainment” the quote you have in your reply appears nowhere in my post. And where did I say cycling entertainment was the rage or the future? Did I say the way ahead for TR was in entertainment? I specifically like TR because it’s bare bones. I don’t use the video game exercise entertainment apps.

If you read what I wrote instead of straw-manning you’d see I mentioned that TR USERS need constant entertainment. The knock is that we cannot get through a session without something else as a distraction. To my point the “pros” just do the work while us normies need entertainment in some shape or form.

How many TR users do you think have TR as their only screen. No Zwift in tandem, no Netflix, no binge watching Cobra Kai season 3…just following the bouncing dots? 1% tops? I’ve done it a few times out of necessity and it’s tough.

My point…and I think your point are the same in that TR is not “going to keep up by putting lipstick on a pig (TB)” by dressing up a less often used plan.

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Yes exactly my point. Long Z2 rides, above 3hrs by their very nature are best when completed outside.

Which is the point of my post in that TR base plans are not going to get gussied up. Low use, low completion and just plain old boring ass riding inside at a constant rate for 3+ hours TB plans are not where most people (not us weirdos in here, normal TR users) get value from TR.

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TR does provide “entertainment” or at least a stimulus with it’s long series of intervals. I’ve been mixing up my Z2 trainer rides and it makes them fly by. I start off with a warmup until Z2 power is easy (5-10 minutes) then start with a cadence pyramid @ Z2 power. Just doing 5 minutes at difference cadences makes 25 more minutes fly by. One can do over/users between high Z2/low Z2. Whatever, keep changing it up and time flies by.

I’ve tested the n=1 benefit of actual Traditional Base (not TR’s non-Traditional Base) vs SS (as the headline states; not TR’s SSB)…for me, lots of Endurance hours is the clear winner (note: I’m seeking performance gains, not entertainment value). Guess I can sign off now. :vulcan_salute:t2:

I’m going to try doing trad base high volume as it most closely mirrors the style and amount of riding I normally do.
I’ll do 90% of it outside I’ll wager, and use the power targets and tss values to guide my rides.
I think it’ll help give my riding some purpose and progress it nicely into a block of sustained power build prior to an mtb stage race in June (or bikepacking ITT if covid scuppers it)

having just completed this plan (see my relevant post earlier), I can tell based on my own feeling that:

  • TRBHV1 is too easy, can be more varied
  • TRBHV2 is exactly what is needed
  • TRBHV3 the last week is too hard considering whats was before
  • The ramp test is not appropriate for this plan, because there is no intensity, I think it can be done only twice- at the beginning and then at the end of the plan, and in fact, I would use 20 min FTP test at the end of the plan
  • Exercises could be much more varied, especially on the rest week, there are 5-6 workouts with the same intensity/TSS as recommended Gibbs

I’m thinking of doing, as tbhv1 looks uninspiring:

It’s off the back of lots of general bike riding.

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I am actually doing TBMV1 on purpose.

Yes, it looks rather boring, all the same workouts for a whole week.
I see it as a warmup to learn how to ride for longer sessions, up to 2-3 hours.
That takes some patience, some stamina and I want to learn that.
And it is actually an advantage to do the same workout four times in a row. How did I fare the first time? How the forth time? What did I learn and what was applicable already between the rides to adjust and make it easier? Seating position, changeups, different cadences… lots to test, compare and learn before the real stuff starts.

Therefore MV1 fulfills a certain purpose and looking at 5-8h riding per week i guess it also helps the aerobic base.


I would expect far more than 1% - I know a number of TR users and it’s 50/50 those who have something else on vs those just with TR and music. The in-workout guidance really makes a difference and not watching something means I personally get a lot more from the workout mentally on top of the physical benefits. Focussing purely on cycling performance and not distracting with other media is a big plus.
The toughness is a clear benefit to doing this, being able to manage that and embrace it will only make you stronger in the long run. Distracting yourself from your training and the pain is a little like picking your testing protocol to get the highest FTP number - self defeating in the end.


As long as the work is being done, the physical adaptations are happening the same. Mental toughness is highly personal and certainly not everyone needs the toughness gleaned from hours on the trainer without entertainment.


I’m not sure I agree - they are intimately tied, one without the other is useless.


That’s been your experience and I’m not discounting it, but that’s you. We’re all different. Bottom line, the work has to get done. If distracting oneself allows for the work to be done more consistently or at a higher level, that’s better.

I think of it sort of like heat training. Even if your race is in the heat, most of your training should be done in ideal conditions so that you can get the most work out of your body. Then you need some days in the heat before the event to adapt.

Same for mental toughness. Train in a way that gets the most work out of your body. Whether that’s music, or watching races, or Netflix to keep you on the trainer for those long 2-3hr endurance rides. The toughness aspect can come in many different ways. Maybe you do a couple race specific workouts on the course before the event. Maybe 100 hours of staring at the yellow line on TR did it for you. Or maybe just the excitement/boost from the event is enough. In my case I have 15 years of competition (mountain/ultra running) to draw on—the mental aspect of racing isn’t an issue.

In my opinion all this depends on the workout:

  • in a superintense high effort workout I usually do not watch or listen anything, maybe just music; and agreed: it is a great experience to just focus on the workout and listen to the body!
  • in a superlong low effort workout I do watch stuff or listen to podcasts. that is very inspiring and motivating and gives me the opportunity to learn something besides doing good to my body.

Short update:
A week of TBMV1 behind me, added some Z2 workouts and have finished 5 times Fletcher as outside version pushed to my Wahoo Bolt and completed them on my Rollers Indoors, so 2:15h each at Z2.
The first of these long rides was challenging in terms of “wow, still lots of time to go”… but already the 2nd time next day was much easier.
In genereal very good feel, no tiredness the next day, I have done Fletcher 2:15h back to back twice and no problem. No need to fuel carb before or during the workout. I have just made sure I drink enough and went for 3 bottles with slight sugary drinks.
Blood sugar was great, had a huge drop after 30-45 minutes and then very stable just at my level of blood sugar comfort. And no spike after the session or during the night. My insulin need has again reduced during the week.

So, so far: very satisfied, no problem with being bored, I feel that I am doing something, but not at all do I feel exhausted, tired oder overtrained. I dont have to adjust my food or intake and I really look forward to the next session.


That’s awesome to hear! Great that it seems to work out for you so far. To remove the stress of blood sugar values not being what they should is wonderful, however one goes about it.

What you say sounds about the same as it went for me. I’m now in the last week (just added an extra week though) of mv2 and I can tell that the exhaustion and fatigue is building up, especially after the weekends with long tempo rides. But I don’t feel empty, just a bit tired which is fine I think.