The Computrainer is a great bicycle trainer which allows you to create measurable and repeatable cycling workouts.
The Hill Simulator is also a very interesting addon to the Computrainer, that will elevate the front of your bicycle automatically with the grade for a realistic indoor cycling experience.
With the Computrainer you can create your own bike courses, or download courses already created. The Racermate web site has many available courses.
Testing with the Computrainer
There are two tests I regularily use on a Computrainer. The first is a Conconi test. This test is generally used to determine your anaerobic threshold (although some argue that is not reliable), it does an excellent job at evaluating your overall aerobic fitness level.
The second test is a power test, which measures your anerobic peak and average power on the bike.
The Conconi testThe Conconi test, sometimes also called a ramp test, measures your heart rate at different predefined intensity levels. As your fitness increases, for the same power output, your heart rate will be lower. For example, I perform the test at 50, 100, 150, and 200 watts. A typical result for the test performed in January when I have taken a long break, and when I peak around the month of June looks like this:
|Watts||January HR||June HR|
|After 1 minute recovery||107||78|
You can see that in all ramp stages the heart rate is considerably lower in the month of June, but also you can clearly see that when you are peaking, after 1 minute of recovery, your heart quickly drops.
By regularily performing a Conconi test, you can measure your progress with respect to the training you have been doing.
You will find the instructions on how to perform the Conconi test on the Computrainer web site (see the "Standalone mode" section).
The Power testThe Power test is very simple. You ride a simple 0.2 mile course, and measure your peak and average watts. This is pure anerobic, and is actually a challenging test, as you need to go all out. Your peak is a measure of your ultimate power, and your average a measure of your endurance of your anerobic effort.
You will find the instructions on how to perform the Power test on the Computrainer web site.