Outdoor training on flat terrain?

I’ve not done any outdoor training using TR but I have relocated to New Orleans and have flat, as in pancake flat, terrain. There are a couple of routes, both are out and back, one is 20 miles total the other 40 miles total. Both routes have no traffic crossings, no motorized vehicles, no stop signs. You could literally do a time trial on these routes… and as I mentioned, they are as flat as flat can be. The only change in effort would be due to the wind. I am doing a 6 day/540 mile stage ride (not a race) in May 2022. I will ride almost exclusively outdoors. Would TR outdoor training be useful for this case? Would I vary power using gears? Any hints or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Is your 6 day stage race going to be held on the trainer?


Sounds ideal terrain to me.

And yes, you can vary power by er, pedalling harder. A powermeter might be useful, or you can do outdoor workouts by RPE.


Yes, using plan builder and doing TR outdoor workouts would absolutely be useful.

@DonaldLL I think it’s useful to do some TR workouts outdoors just so you can get a feel for what it is like to ride at a given range of power. You don’t really get a feel for that when you’re on a trainer in erg mode. What does it feel like to ride at 200W? What does it feel like to ride at 300W?

You also get a better feel for smoothing out the transition from a comfortable power to a ‘catch the wheel’ power. You know, avoid spiking your power up to 1000W when you want to go from tempo to 400W for some intermediate amount of time.

You will have to change gears…so that’s a hard ‘yes’.

I find that endurance and recovery efforts work best as outdoor rides. Sustained power workouts are a close 2nd. Stochastic workouts like 30/30s or floats don’t seem to work as well for me outdoors but I’m sure that can vary from rider to rider.

One thing I try to avoid: hard outdoor workouts on shared use trails. I don’t want to risk slamming into some kid who is playing or some sr citizen who is zoned out enjoying Chopin on the ear buds or something.

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That is like fantasy training space right there :rofl:

If you don’t have a PM, maybe a Black Friday xmas present is in order? Even if not, I would rather do outdoor workouts in your area with RPE and/or heart rate than on a trainer.


If your area is flat with or without a power meter you can make it more difficult by heavy tyres (thing gravel) or anything that increases rolling resistance. I can hit most power levels on normal rollers by doing this or even letting some air out of the tyres
Depends what kind of bikes you have at your disposal to do the workouts.

Edit - agree with @JSTootell that outside workouts are great and I wish I had 20 or 40 miles of uninterrupted road/trail.

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Yes I do have a power meter, I should have mentioned that. I also have a Wahoo trainer but I’d prefer outside as much as possible.

Hey Windwarrior… you’re an asset to the forum. Glad you joined yesterday

I am very confused.... Not sure what I am seeing here...

Training outside on flat roads is mostly awesome, although you need a good headwind to simulate climbs. I trained at sea level on flat roads and wind for an epic ride involving 5 mountain passes and 15,000 feet of climbing (mostly above 6000’ elevation). This year I haven’t used the indoor trainer since early March, probably only trained inside 2 or 3 days.

There is a thread for those of us riding/training outside, here is a recent post I made

@Joelrivera - I didn’t renew my TR subscription (expiring today), and on Friday I deleted my data/account, and my forum login was tied to my TR account. Asked TR support if I could continue on the forum with that account, and they told me to create a new forum account. So the forum user formerly known as bbarrera is now WindWarrior.


Johnnyvee… you just gave me an idea. I can put my power pedals on my brother’s mountain bike. Thx

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Hey thank you for this… this is helpful

My biggest mistakes while self-coaching and training outside 2016-2017:

  • not having intensity discipline to respect the low power prescribed for recovery intervals
  • not having intensity discipline to do actual zone2 aerobic capacity/endurance workouts
  • instead of buying a power meter right away, did a lot of trial and error using HR based training (ultimately it was very useful)

The best thing about Erg and TrainerRoad - learning how to do an actual zone2 ride and respecting the low power in a recovery interval.

After a power meter the next consideration is your bike computer. I really like my Garmin 530 for doing outside intervals, the real-time power graph with target and actual. But any computer will work.

They actually talked about it on the pod cast once.

I’m toying with the idea of getting a single sided PM for my gravel bike just for this very reason. Thinking is I could get a workout in over a shorter distance on trails rather than in the garage on the turbo or on the road bike which has no mudguards on.

As long as you can set up your MTB to closely mimic your road bike position I think it’d be good. My dedicated turbo bike is an old hard tail but position is as close to my road bike as possible to minimise power loss due to different position though not sure that’s an issue in reality .

Sorry for slightly off-topic, but I’m moving to New Orleans in January and haven’t really looked at bike routes. Can you share with me where these routes are?

Thank you for this… I also have a Garmin 530 and I have the Garmin Vector 3 dual pedals. I do have a Wahoo KickR as well but I was hoping to do most of the training outdoors and using the Wahoo for days where that was not possible.

Patricke, you can use Google to locate these specifics… one ride is on the top of the levee on the Mississippi River. It runs from Audubon Park to the Spillway. I park in the parking lot across from Jefferson Playground on River Road and walk the bike up to the top of the levee and take off from there. From that starting point you’d take off headed to the ‘right’ on the levee and that’ll take you to the Spillway. The bike path ends there. Round trip is ~42 miles. If you make the entire route (including the portion that goes to the ‘left’ to Audubon park, it’s ~50 miles. Its flat, blacktop, smooth winding road and no motorized vehicles… perfect. The other is on the ride along the lake (Lake Pontchartrain) on the Jefferson Parish side of the lake. You can start at the Coast Guard station at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Old Hammond Highway. If you ride that out as far as you can and back, it’s ~25 miles total. Again this is smooth, flat, no motorized vehicles, a little windy… perfect. Last but not least. Go across the Causeway heading North and go to the Tammany Trace. You can Google this and find a couple of places to start. There are several spots where automobiles cross the path so it’s not quite as perfect as the other 2 rides but very scenic, blacktop, glass top smooth, no motorized vehicles on the Trace itself… the bike ride is about 40 miles round trip.

i would just use your power meter and ride outside! sounds perfect

Yes that’s what I’m going to do. These 3 routes I have available here seem about as good as one could ask for for training. I do not ride on public roads anymore and in Miami I rode on the KickR a lot so I want outside!

100% yes. Will flat road and no breaks you will be able to do all the workouts effectively. I live in Atlanta which is surprisingly hilly. I do all my intervals indoors because of hills traffic and red lights. Outdoor rides are group rides or long endurance.

This week I’m down in SW Florida. Pancake flat and doing the workouts outdoors is great.