Spanish Needle on a dumb trainer

Hey everybody. I’m wrapping up SSB2 and looking into general build I see I have Spanish Needle coming up. I’m using a CycleOps Fluid 2, and I have a hard time with these micro bursts. I tend to shoot WAY over my target then I don’t come down enough in the valleys. Is this workout even possible on a dumb trainer? I’m guessing I’ll figure it out once I get into it, but aside from the difficultly of the workout I’m actually more stressed about just mechanically hitting the targets. For anyone that hasn’t seen it yet, it’s a series of 15 seconds bursts then 15 seconds of recovery, eight minutes per set.

It’s pretty hard to hit those targets perfectly on a dumb trainer, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still get some benefit from doing the workout! Just remember, as long as you can approximate what the workout asks for, you’re training in the right zones - something that matters more in the grand scheme of things than if you can hold the exact number.

Second, you might find that by shifting between the small and big ring up front, and adjusting your cadence for each interval, you’ll be able to adjust your power more finely so you don’t overshoot or undershoot. That’s still pretty difficult with short 15 second bursts like this, because the inertia of the trainer won’t spin down quickly enough. Long story short, work with what ya got, and do your best!

1 Like

Switching between the small and big ring is a good idea, thanks for the response. One of the reasons I overshoot so bad is that with fifteen seconds I don’t have enough time to find the sweet spot on cadence. But I’m guessing after a few tries I’ll get the gearing down and then I’ll be able to just aim for rpms. I think I’ll also decrease my smoothing just a touch. Thanks!

I’d just like to say that a smart trainer may not solve these woes.

Currently, I ride a (gen2) kickr and it doesn’t quite get me down low enough in erg mode on short recoveries. I’m using powermatch with a p2m crank based power meter but have had the same experience with other meters including garmin vectors. The only thing that will approximate it is if you are using the built in power meter on the trainer which artificially shows the number it has the brake at, not what power you are actually pushing at that second.

1 Like

I do not have much experience with ERG mode but I can not see that being good to use for this type of ride / workout.

Like mentioned don’t worry too much about the exact power number. Think more about cadence for these. For example and without knowing anything about you, shoot for say 100 or 110 RPM cadence for the work interval even if that puts you at just 110-120%FTP or slightly over the 150%FTP it calls for, not sure where you’re at physically… But this is more about repeatability.

Quickly shift to a gear that gets you up to the cadence you want for the work interval and hold it for 15 seconds.
On the short 15 second rest interval you may even shift back to 1 or 2 easier gears for 15 seconds and then quickly shift into your ( work interval gear ) again when the rest interval is over.

This all happens very very quickly, over and over again. and if this type of workout is new to you do not expect to hold 150%FTP for many of the intervals. Instead pick a power as close to it as you can but one that will get you the most repeatability and focus on holding the work cadence for as many as you can. I believe shifting is good for this type of workout. And because you will already be in a relatively easy gear due to the high cadence Im suggesting you may not have to shift to an easier gear for the rest interval. For the rest interval you just want to keep the legs moving but take what resistance you can off of the legs as long as you keep them moving. Light and easy on the rest whether thats shifting a gear or 2 easier or not, then back up to high cadence fast for the work interval.

1 Like

One variable that you may not be aware of is that the viscosity on the Fluid 2 changes with fluid temperature. Hotter fluid is more viscous and therefore more resistant. As the fluid cools during the longer recovery intervals, it get easier. Then harder as you heat the fluid up during a work interval. This variable really threw me off making it difficult to keep my power target green with a consistent cadence. This was driving me crazy, so I switched to a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Smart trainer which uses medical grade silicone. Resistance is not affected by fluid temperature. BIG difference in predictable resistance! It feels so much more stable.

@larry is right, the trainer can’t spin down fast enough. At the end of the interval I do three quick upshifts to keep my cadence high and power low. I keep my spin fast and do three quick downshifts to get the power back up on the next interval. Just strive to keep it green, even if the numbers aren’t perfect.