That is not the case.
First thing I noticed - I sweat cups full of sweat. This requires plenty of water, and a tarp.
Second thing I noticed - riding on the trainer is like a million times harder than riding on the street. I have yet to find a reason to get out of the small chain ring. I am huffing and puffing with sweat streaming off my body just holding a normal cadence in the small chain ring. I've decided there are two main factors.
- There's almost no momentum - when riding off of a trainer you have all of the momentum of your weight, plus the weight of the bike. And you're likely on a machine that is designed to reduce friction - so if you stop pedaling you keep moving. If you stop pedaling on the trainer, the only momentum you have is from your wheel, or maybe your trainer's resistance mechanism. In the case of my trainer that translates to about 3 seconds of rolling.
- The resistance is different. When riding off of a trainer, nature provides the resistance in the form of wind and gravity. The trainer provides resistance based on how fast your wheel is moving and applies it to your wheel. Now I'm sure that different trainers offer different resistance in different ways. Mine is a CycleOps Pro Fluid, and I'm not saying it's unrealistic, but it is different. And without the normal context cues of seeing the hill or feeling the wind it feels funny.
|Outside - The line represents how fast I'm pedaling|
The dips are times when my legs are moving slower or not at all
|Inside - notice the complete lack of rest|
It's all new
I'm learning as I go. The first time on the trainer I stopped after 3 miles, or 11 minutes. I couldn't believe how much I was sweating. That was "pre-tarp," I had concerns about the carpet.
The second time is also when I decided to implement the interval training. I had scoped out about 1:10 of workout which included 30 minutes of warm-up/cool-down time. I was out of water and about tossed my dinner after 45 minutes and 9.5 miles.
The third time I had a better game plan, similar interval session. This time I covered that same 9.5 miles in 38 minutes, and actually had some steam for more riding and didn't feel like death at the end.