More on Trainer Feel … 🤷‍♂️

I began questioning how accurately FulGaz’s “Trainer Feel” feature reflects the actual feeling of climbing. I decided to do a test this morning.

The test was simple.

I completed the Mirador climb in Mallorca three times with different Trainer Feel settings. This climb is part of a FulGaz ride, which is one of my favourites. It is 2.30 km long with an elevation gain of 151 metres, and an average grade of 6.6%. The first climb I had the Trainer Feel set at 50%, the second at 60%, and the third at 75%. On each climb, I started in the lowest gear, and every 3 minutes I changed into the next higher gear.

This is what I learned.

The lower the Trainer Feel % (50%) specified, the slower the ascent, the lower the average wattage expended, and average speed. Conversely, the higher the Trainer Feel % (75%), the faster the climb, the higher the average wattage expended, average speed.

This finding is not earth shattering.

It is what you would expect. What I didn’t expect was how realistic it felt. The first climb was easy, especially in the lower gears. The last climb was more challenging, although I could have worked harder. This is exactly what I would expect. A 6.6% climb does not fully tax me with the gearing on the bike.

Last week I did the same climb with the Trainer Feeling set to 100%, and recorded a faster time by almost 3 minutes. I enjoy this ride, both the climb, and following fast descent, and plan to complete it frequently, using it as a benchmark to test my fitness.

Strava records the climb portion of this ride as a segment, and apparently I have the fastest time on record for my age group by 30 seconds. You see. There is a benefit to getting older. The fastest time recorded is a full minute faster than mine.

I have work to do.

Well, that was humbling …

Today, I selected a ride on FulGaz in Spain.

FulGaz categorizes rides by duration, distance, and difficulty. This one was approximately 45 minutes in length, and marked as very difficult. I have completed several difficult climbing rides throughout Spain, and was not concerned. I have learned most of the climbs have a grade between 6-10% which is manageable with the gearing on my bike.

Not this time.

This ride included two climbs. One about 2 km in length, and the other about 5 km. That seamed reasonable when I looked at the profile. Unfortunately, the profile doesn’t mention the grade. These climbs were mostly at 15-20%. I don’t know if you have tackled long climbs this steep, but they are challenging, to say the least. I completed the ride, but was completely spent at the end, giving me a whole new appreciation for the tour riders that sprint up these mountains.

I thought about this. The problem wasn’t the grade. The problem was I didn’t have the correct gearing. FulGaz actually has a feature that enables the rider to effectively adjust gearing ratios during a ride. Unfortunately, I forgot about it. Tomorrow I’ll give it a try so I’m prepared the next time I need to tackle a long, steep climb.

I didn’t need to feel dejected. Defeated. The bike wasn’t setup correctly for the climb.

There. That makes me feel better.