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Thank you for your feedback! So at this point, I am going to step in before we have everyone doing all of their rides on the trainer :0
Let’s start by putting a few things in perspective. Both Hope and Nicole have previous IM experience. This changes the conversation a bit. What is recommended (and you will find most pros doing) is doing your mid week workouts on the trainer and your long ride outdoors. Why?
Mid week most of us are tight on time and the trainer is definitely easier logistically and you can get a really strong workout IF you follow the planned workout. If you are not good at pushing yourself, the trainer can also work completely against you. There are so many new programs like TrainerRoad and Zwift that can help with this. Find a workout that mirrors what is on your schedule, hit the zones and you have accomplished a really solid, effective workout.
That said I do not recommend doing your long rides on the trainer. Yes, the roads are becoming more concerning to ride on these days. However there are plenty of ways to minimize the risk and stress. First off, there is a DC Tri Club Saturday morning ride that goes out every weekend of the year. Most of us have not been outside yet this season due to the weather. However as the weather changes, this ride will grow and grow. During the warmer months last year, this group grew up to 50-75 riders of all abilities. You do NOT want to do all of your long rides on your own so join us!
As you can see, the conversations are already starting. As soon as the weather is acceptable, this is your best bet! Specifics for the ride is at the beginning of the thread.
If you search on the forum under the bike training section, there are a variety of mid week rides you can join as well.
Potomac Peddlers also has a variety of options for every level as well.
Why do we recommend that you get outdoors and ride?
For the exact reasons that Nicole mentioned. You need to ride with the elements, wind, rain, sun, etc. You must learn to ride with others including cars for those races where roads are not completely closed. Riding outdoors requires you to organize and practice your nutrition. (Sorry you just can’t gain this skill indoors). And then you need to put them all together…riding 100 miles in the pouring rain while staying on top of your hydration and intake of potatoes. Yep, there is just nothing indoors that can prepare you for this.
Once you have an Ironman under your belt, you have gained much of this skill and experience so getting outdoors is not as crucial. But it still is! It’s social! There is fresh air and sunshine. And there is nothing like going out and cranking out a century ride enjoying new territory. If you do find pause with this, then find those organized century rides and other bike events that can help you do so with more structure and support.
Here is another option to find structured events and rides around the DMV. Better yet, start a thread on the IMP forum and create your own group ride! Whatever you do, get outdoors and ride (at least for your long ride)!
There is always Hains Point! Low traffic and you can ride with all of the elements especially wind, which is perfect training grounds for IMMD. See you out there!