Sick I know, but it's true. I've had a trainer for years and years and use a Kirt Kinetic Road Machine right now and covet a Powertap or Computrainer but medical bills from my little ambulance ride and ER trip in February have definitely put those on hold for a few years. I have usually used the trainer every winter, but aside from 2010 when I was training for Ironman St George I didn't use it a ton. Well having a baby changes things for an athlete, at least for me. I all of the sudden have to be even more efficient with my time. No time for "hmm, where should I go, what should I wear?", my sweet baby will probably wake up or it will be time to take or pick someone up from school. So without further rambling, here are my reasons for this insanity
1. Convenience - it's in my basement, set up ready to go all the time so that as soon as I have a minute I can run down there and work hard.
2. No clothing dilemma - lame excuse I know, but I don't like being cold at all so to just able to throw on any shorts and sports bra and not worry about it being weather appropriate or matching (yeah I just said that), is awesome!
3. No traffic - there have been many times in the last couple years where I wonder why I'm putting my life at risk just to ride my bike. I thankfully haven't been in any accidents (at least with a car, I broke my foot on the bike all with my own sweet skills), but there are so many close calls out there with drivers being too close, too fast, too rude, or just plain not paying attention and I get pretty anxious sometimes about leaving this world and my beautiful children and husband, just to ride my bike. Now I know accidents can happen anywhere. I could get hurt or die in a car, walking, in my house, I could just get sick, but traffic makes me anxious sometimes and the trainer takes that away.
4. Better workouts - for me anyway. Now I should preface this with I probably get a better lung burn climbing real hills and mountains outside and there's nothing like using outdoors to practice balance, bike handling, and a feel for the road, but on the trainer I can sit down (or stand up) and push hard and strong watts (ignore the fact I have no way to measure those watts, stupid medical bills, it's just a feeling for now) without worry of traffic or stop lights to get in my way. Hard to keep the heart rate up when you're riding cautiously around cars or coasting on a flat or downhill. There is no coasting on the trainer, your wheels just stop, I have to pedal all the time. This is a reason some people say you can count time on the trainer as longer than outside (ie 50 minutes on the trainer is like an hour outside) but I try not to since I usually have sweet mommy interruptions such as 'I'm hungry, honey the baby's hungry (I have nursed on the trainer by the way), please put my Polly Pockets dress on,' or my personal favorite 'Mom! Wipe my bum'. Ah, the good life :) I suppose I would get away from those sweet interruptions by riding outside, but with 4 kids and a husband who works a ton and travels, you gotta do what you gotta do!
5. Me time - now getting outside is great for that too, but I try not to listen to music when on my bike outside and I love turning on YouTube for music or triathlon or ultra running videos, or watching a show on the computer in front of me since we don't have TV. If I'm not doing a specific workout I will stand or spin fast or grind out a big gear on commercials and ride steady in between or shift to a harder gear every commercial or song. It's just nice to get some hard work done while enjoying music or shows I like as well, a true mom, multitasking!
So as I've stated, I do recognize the need for riding outside as well. I actually road outside yesterday on the road bike for an hour thanks to my good friend Heidi for watching my kids since dad is in Boston with Altra for the week. The ride was good, it was good to breath fresh air, look at houses around me and dream, exciting to push up hills and go around corners and remember how to handle a bike on actual roads. I don't think everyone has to love the trainer and use it, but for me right now it's working and working great! I don't know that I'll ever pull my Roo off the trainer at this point. Maybe I'll just bring it to T1 and ride the bike course virtually, that's cool right? :)