Help me get back to TR!

I switched from zwift to TR on December of 2021. Followed a road climbing plan religiously. Didn’t skip a single workout and skipped majority of outdoor/group rides. My ftp went up from about 250 to 290 but I also gained 10 pounds of useless muscles for climbing. My power for 1 to 2 hours increased significantly, however, my endurance plummeted. My cadence went significantly up, and now I can hold 95 rpm for couple of hours. Before TR, I was a grinder and my max was maybe 80 rpm.

The ftp and cadence gains didn’t materialize to outdoor rides/races. That cadence was only possible on trainer, and didn’t feel right outdoor. When climbing I was grinding again otherwise I would not be able to finish the climb. For 1 to 2 hours (maybe 3) I can go really hard on flats and climbs but after that I am done. All power fades away and ends up barely able to drag myself to the finish line.

Now I switched back to zwift but I sorta dont like it anymore and miss TR already. I am thinking I must be missing something or I picked the wrong plan maybe? Last year my focus was gravel racing. These are long 80+ miles and they all had couple of really big long climbs, so I thought climbing plan would be best. I played around with plan builder and selected different plans, but the workouts looks similar at least for base and build phases. How can one improve their endurance with 1 to 2 hours trainer rides?

Any insights are highly appreciated!

This is likely due to the inertia of the flywheel and using a big gear. Choose your small chainring and a middle cog and see if that helps slow down your cadence. But an increased cadence in ERG mode is it uncommon.

This sounds like a pacing issue, not a fitness issue. If you are going “really hard” for that long, you are gonna pop at some point. Back off on the early pace and you’ll be stronger at the end of the ride.


It could also be a fuelling issue.


Use TR for your intensity. Go ride outside for endurance.


You need to mix riding outside with your inside training. If you go too long without feeling yourself on your bike outside in the wind it can be uncomfortable and feel weird when you do. Take one day a week or at least every other week and ride outside in a group so that you fitness translates to the road.

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For 80 mile gravel rides, you need to get on your bike and occasionally do 80 mile endurance rides if not an occasional 100. How long are those rides? 6-8-10+ hours? You’ve got to put in the time.


This isn’t necessarily true. You can get a lot of endurance capabilities from 2 hour inside rides. One thing you do learn from doing very long rides is the mental side of things. i.e. how to keep yourself entertained. If you get bored then a 5 or 6 hour ride is a very long, dull experience. But if you are used to spending time in your own thoughts then it can be a pleasure.

The OP’s problem sounds a lot like fueling. You really do need to eat a lot, and constantly, on fast, long rides.

Also, a good alternative to Zwift for indoor endurance rides is Fulgaz. I’m doing all my base training on it this year and it’s a real pleasure.

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I’m only able to ride 2 1hr interval sessions and a third 1hr endurance or tempo ride during the week, all on the trainer.

My Saturday morning group ride is small and competitive. There’s no hiding and there are quite a few opportunities for a break. If you don’t make that, it’s still a very hard ride to get to the quick rest stop in time before they leave.

There are other riders that get 300 miles a week in. I’m definitely at a disadvantage but it is what it is. My mid-week training doesn’t set me up well for 50 miles of constant changes in intensity and long pulls at the front.

However, to make it work, I always visualise different parts of the ride during intervals in the trainer.

Week after week I try to make strong mental connections between my on-trainer ride position and cadence with on-road memories during intervals.

When I get to the point in the group ride where I’m losing form, I try to get back into that practiced mental state of body position (engaging and relaxing different parts) and cadence.

All easier said than done but it helps.

He did say 1-2 hours. Sure you can build a lot of endurance with short rides but I think the disparity is large here. 1-2 hours on the trainer vs. a 6+ hour race. Every 7-10 days, he needs to jump on the bike, load his pockets with food, and go long. Or find shorter events.

Fueling may be an issue as said above. Pacing may be an issue. A 7 hour gravel ride is going to be zone 2 power, maybe tempo on average. One has to pace themselves at the beginning of these kinds of events. If one tries to hang with really fast people for the first hour, one is going to get spit out of the back eventually.

Don’t take long pulls…if you feel you need to take pulls at all, just roll through and get off the front.

Seriously. Your mid-week rides should be sufficient to hang on a 50 mile fast weekend ride…if you pace / ride it properly. As I said above, this is a pacing issue…you are killing yourself going too hard and blowing up before the end of the ride.


I take this advice sometimes but not as often as I should.

I rarely get properly dropped, my FTP can get up to 300 on these few hours (max always above 1500, 1-min usually around 1000 but those are useless mid-ride in my condition) so I can fake it OK and hope the attacks subside. If the big milers do keep at it though, I’m screwed and hide and hope there’s no Texas-sized cross wind after that next turn. This is all on flat/rollers, though. If I was back in California or the Pennines (England), I’d be found out immediately.

If I do roll through or hide a little more, I definitely don’t go for the final sprint. I just can’t bring myself to be that guy in this small group. We’ve had a few ‘sprinters’ who aren’t sprinters, they’re just fresh because they didn’t do anything.

Hoping to ramp hours back up. Still getting over a resurgence of Epstein Barr and all it’s crappy friends it keeps as company.

Looking at the replies and thinking back of the racing I done last year, I think its very likely that it is indeed pacing and fuel issue.
I do try to stick with the front group for as long as I can at the start and I dont pay attention to how much I eat. Most of the time I take 10 SIS gels with me and finish with couple still in my pockets. I thought I need one an hour (of course I didnt do any research) but googling stuff around now, it sounds like I need at least 2 an hour.

Really appreciate all the replies. I did end up reactivating TR :smiley: