To ERG or not to ERG: Monroe +2

Hi, I’m quite new to TR but have been a Zwifter since last winter. I’m trying to do a more-structured program this year, but have left it quite late in the off-season to move to TR so am skipping the base and build phases and going straight in with the high volume gravity speciality phase.

Ramp/Andrews/The Chimneys +2/Bald Knob have gone fine, but today I’m faced with Monroe +2:

Monroe +2

The only “intervals” I’ve done so far on TR are the spikes at the start of each effort on The Chimneys, and I didn’t find ERG mode ideal. Especially since the workout description talks about trying to do it in “the biggest gear you can turn”. I was kind of expecting on-screen instructions about how best to tackle this, but I now know what not all workouts come with extra instructions.

Anyway, I persevered with ERG, and kinda gave up on the idea of trying to muscle a big gear as it took too long for the resistance to settle down to anything near what I was supposed to be achieving. Firstly it’d be under, then hugely over, and by the time it had settled I’d be 5 seconds into the interval.

The intervals on Monroe +2 are only 15-25 seconds in length, and I’d like to get the most from the workout. I have a Tacx Neo but have only had it a couple of weeks (Elite Rampa wheel-on before hand) so I’m not sure how best to tackle short intervals with it.

Essentially: should I leave ERG on and let it do it’s thing, or switch to resistance mode and rely on my cadence and gear-changing to try to match the power it wants from me?

If I leave ERG on, are there any good tips for the couple of seconds before an interval starts? On my Rampa the resistance change was pretty slow (5 seconds or so), so I’d tend to slow my cadence in the 15 seconds before an interval, and then when the interval started shift up a couple of gears and increase my cadence. This helped a lot with the otherwise-“5 second delay” problem.

I did a workout last night (Ebbets) that included 5 second sprints at up to 200% of FTP. My tacx flux reacted OK but the trick is to ramp up your cadence so you jump into the higher power, rather than bogging down when it hits.

Most of the time I was within 5-10% of the target power, unless I forgot to ramp up my cadence, in which case it was way under as the interval was over before I could chase the power back up.

In my experience with my Kickr ERG mode just does not work with short power spikes. I find the increase is either ignored or takes too long to kick in by which time the trainer is ready to drop off again. I’ve seen some say that the interval is just delayed and although it may take 5 seconds for power to ramp up it also takes an extra 5 seconds to ramp down. If this was my experience I could live with it by more often that not I have the reverse with it taking 5+ seconds to ramp up and then 2-3 seconds before the end it begins ramping down again. I then rarely find that at any point during the 25-30 second spike does power actually manage to reach the prescribed target.
For me I struggle to turn erg mode off as I use a real old bike on the kickr that doesn’t actually change gear that well so I just have to accept that when those workouts come along I’m not going to get full benefit.

We’ll I cracked on, wth ERG, and it worked pretty well. No complaints, other than the fact that this workout nearly finished me! 73 15-25 second intervals at 130% FTP in 90 minutes, oofty. It’s ok, “just” two hours of Antelope tomorrow …

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ERG all the time. Kickr Core and 4iiii pm. I just do it.

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Having read more here now I’m amazed no-one has jumped in to tell me how bad an idea it is to skip Base and Build!

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The first step is admitting you have a (base/build/specialty) problem :crazy_face:


Not going to lie, week one was hard. Having got through it without skipping or bailing on any workouts I’m inclined to carry on though…

If I hadn’t missed that I would have!