Cadence & recovery

I just got a Wahoo Kickr Core and joined The Sufferfest to take my mountain biking fitness to the next level.

My question is regarding recovery rides available in the Sufferfest app. Doing “recovery rides” outdoors around where I live is difficult because there are steep hills everywhere, so my intention is to use the trainer for easy spins indoors on rainy days.

My understanding is these are meant to

  • keep my heart rate down in zone 1
  • keep my power at no more than 50% of FTP

I downloaded A Dog’s Life thinking this would be a super easy spin. However, there is no way I can maintain a cadence of 90 rpm with a low heart rate. 90 rpm seems appropriate for road biking but not a cadence I typically use in mountain biking. Am I misunderstanding something?

Should I be using Level mode instead of ERG for these? Should I just shift in Level mode until I can meet the power target and just spin at whatever cadence is comfortable to achieve that?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Just ride it at the cadence you prefer. I always translate 90rpm targets as your normal comfortable cadence.

Have you done a Half Monty or Full Frontal fitness test, to set your power and heart rate zones?

What gear are you using? it is possible that the trainer can’t provide a low enough resistance at a cadence of 90rpm to meet the 50% ftp target.

Pedalling at 90rpm puts the strain on your heart and allows plenty of blood to flow through your leg muscles as they are not working so hard.

High cadence pedalling is a skill, the more you do the better you get, I did a recovery ride on my mtb on the road the other day and ended up spinning at 130rpm+ for long periods of downhill, due to the low gearing. I never would have been able to spin that easily without the cadence workouts in the Sufferfest plans.

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Hi and thanks for your response. No, I haven’t done the fitness test yet. I put in an FTP of 119 to start with since that’s what my Garmin has calculated based on my mtn bike rides. I will be doing the Half Monty next week.

For gear I am using a Kickr Core trainer, Garmin HRM and fenix 6 watch, and I have a yeti sb140 mtn bike mounted to the trainer.

I also noticed when doing my first workout, GNC Power Torque Intervals, even in the hardest gearing, there wasn’t enough resistance when I tried to go any faster than like 85 rpm: I was over spinning and it wasn’t smooth at all.

I have the tire setting at 27.5. My front chain ring is 30 teeth. I’m trying to figure out any possible settings I may have messed up that could be making it not work the way it should.
Thanks for any additional insights you may have.

Are you using a power meter or estimated power based on your outside rides? Is estimated, it’s probably estimating too low.

Once you’ve done Full Frontal, ERG mode will feel like a whole new world. The pre-season or in-season XC plans would be a really good place to start after you do your first FF.

That FTP value is just estimated power based on my outdoor rides. I’m going to try the Half Monty tonight and see if I can get a somewhat more accurate FTP.

Yes, I was thinking the in-season XC plan would be good. My technical skills are decent but I’m slower than I’d like to be climbing, so I’m hoping structured training makes a difference for me.

After you do HM, you’ll have a nice idea of targets to shoot for on Full Frontal. You’ll definitely want to do FF to get your NM and AC numbers so the plan has the right workouts and targets for your rider profile.

Recommend enjoying your weekend, doing the FF plan next week, start the In-Season the following.

If you choose to add strength… because the In-Season has Upper Body A, I’d start with beginner 1-2 or 3-4. I found Intermediate 4-6 with Upper Body A is too much fatigue for in-season. Lesson learned the hard way.

Hi Erick - just finished HM and no results. :frowning:
Even on my hardest gear, I couldn’t even come close to hitting the power targets because there was no resistance on my pedals…I would just spin up the cadence faster and faster and could only get the power up very slightly and then I was just spinning out. Not hitting any of the targets as a result.

I thought the trainer was supposed to apply resistance to help you hit the power targets. No idea what I’m doing wrong. I submitted a support ticket. So frustrating.

@Joolz802 Bummer - so you have confirmed you are in ERG mode in the SUF app. Did you calibrate the trainer? Also, what gear are you in on your mountain bike?

The minions can definitely help you out but there are some threads with others in your situation that have had issues when the power is lower and your gearing is not quite in sync with what the flywheel can handle. Also feel free to share some screen shots with the forum of your settings as well.

Once you get things sorted you will likely see gains fairly quickly. I started on the pre-season MTB plan and it was great. I am in season now doing some races but will probably go back to that plan at some point during the offseason.

Yes definitely in ERG mode. I did the spindown test but maybe I should do that again. I am in the hardest gear on my bike (smallest ring - I think it has 11 teeth?)

Sharing screen shots is a great idea. I’ll do that tomorrow. I’m usually pretty decent with technology so I’m really confused about what might be causing this.

Glad you have seen gains from the plans. To be able to stay in biking shape through the winter will sure make those first few rides next spring less brutal!

@Joolz802 Try shifting to the middle of the cassette. Also, double check that your watch isn’t controlling the trainer. I don’t think it is necessary to connect it if you have an HRM.

Please do share some screenshots.

Good morning and welcome!

I had the exact same thing when I started last Fall on my Kickr - thought there was something wrong with it. I had to work with the minions to get it calibrated and walk through the SUFF settings to get it up and working properly. Please do reach out and work with them! Since you’re using the Core and not the Snap, the MTB wheel shouldn’t even be part of the issue.

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Hi, completely agree with above, contact the minions, they will help you out and get it working.