Pros and cons of training in a cellar

Pro: No idiot drivers.

Con: Spiders


Spiders in your cellar means it’s dry there and that’s a good thing.


Truth. And fewer other crawlies. Though - yeah - that’s a, um, “large”-ish specimen.


In my pain cave there is always fresh water and a bathroom close at hand. There is also plenty of shredded chamois and SUF holy water to wade thru after every workout.

Riding outside (on those very rare occasions for me) means I can actually coast on the downhills and enjoy fresh breezes, but it’s much harder to ride uphill at 3-4mph in a 53-28 and also requires sunscreen and clothing.


See, that right there is a trump card. NOTHING beats that… :joy:

The 53-28 issue is quickly corrected with a 34-34!
btw What is sunscreen? :rofl:

In all truth, I’m sorry the outside rides are a rarity for you! :cry: How thankful I am that mine is the reverse situation.


This goes to a conversation I had recently with someone who never rides indoors. The focus of our disagreement was on which was harder. He contended that ‘real climbs’ are harder that virtual climbs. I countered that indoors there is no coasting, I pedal all the time, without rest.

So what do people think about this?


Getting no coasting is definitely a big factor (though you COULD, if you choose, just take a break or pause the workout indoors, I guess), and in fact, when I did the Hammer Chase 1 the day before yesterday, I found myself wanting the COAST sections to actually last long enough to help, but they in fact were a liability because if I started the coast and did not start pedaling BEFORE the TOO-LATE warning that the demand was on again, I would be fighting the torque spiral getting up to speed in time.

But in my experience, the real difference as to which is harder, indoors or out, just comes down to how hard you make it and how hard you fight for a certain output.

I did a 44 mile ride 4 days ago that included possibly the toughest climb I’ve done. Not the longest by any means, but just relentlessly steep, maybe a few short breaks, but seemingly endless kickers that just slam you with a pitch that one (at least I) cannot attack at all, but just stand and crawl over them.

It took pure discipline and mental refusal to quit not to get off the bike and get some relief, but I finished that climb and stayed in the same mindset on the immediately ensuing section of the Blue Ridge Parkway that the main climb connects to. There are several more smaller and less steep climbs on the parkway, but the Rt 56 climb from Vesuvius was the main event for the 4300’ of climbing on that ride.

Best contrast to that one segment that I can think of is the Passo Dello Stelvio climb, which I did on my 2nd ride on RGT, more than a year ago. It seems to be about 3600’ of climbing in under 9 miles. It was a very long grind compared to the Vesuvius climb, maybe double the time, and it was also tempting to quit on the RGT ride because it was a constant demand of slow cadence and high power, but I found it easier to resist the temptation to quit indoors.

With SYSTM, I think I ALWAYS fight harder than I would outdoors. I’m very competitive if there’s something structured to follow, whether that’s a workout or another rider, but I also am really settled that I just want to give my best effort and that’s enough, whether I win or lose.
I basically never reduce the FTP percentage on SYSTM rides, always feeling I can match my profile, and I fight and make it happen even if it isn’t always the wisest choice.

Outdoors, the mountains here ALWAYS provide plenty of challenge, but I’m still in control of how much I put out, and the rides are usually much longer because that’s what I enjoy. I only occasionally try to put out max efforts for segments, usually downhills because my climbing strength just isn’t what it used to be. The outdoor rides challenge for me these days is just an endurance challenge for the most part, and it’s not about beating anything but the mountain or the distance.


The biggest difference that I enjoy about my pain cave is the lack of traffic and stoplights and not having to worry about the safety issues or being stranded or having a long walk or wait if my equipment fails. And I can enjoy the beauty of any number of places just by turning on the TV and watching a video.

But on the other hand, it’s not the same as being there. And riding a number of climbs indoors has made me dream of the day I can ride the real things.

So, ying yang, two sides to every coin. :slight_smile:

Pretty much. You can choose to ride hard or easy on any ride and you can choose to enjoy or not enjoy any ride both inside and outside for any reason. Some hate rain some love rain. Some hate the sun some love the sun. Most often it really does come down to mindset.


While I guess I could, I never have in close to 10 years of indoor cycling.

I have only ever had to walk my bike on an outdoor climb once. Similarly, I have on occasion had a virtual climb where I stalled out in my lowest gear, standing, and pushing with all my might. Both have been a while ago, fortunately.

I guess it is the mindset as I too push harder indoors throughout the ride than I do outside across a similar distance and difficulty.

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Wind, rain, extreme cold or heat, traffic, visibility, poor road conditions, are among the many factors that make riding outside more difficult.

Not all coasting is straight downhill. There is nothing quite like riding on a decent with narrow roads, and frequent curves, especially when the wind direction rapidly changes as you take the curves.


If you’re male, give it another ten years, breaks become more frequent. In my experience leading both formal and informal group rides, MAMILs (middle aged men in lycra) and VOMITs (very old men in tights) NEVER pass a port-a-potty without stopping …

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Curvy descents are the highlight of rides!!
But I felt cheated badly on yesterday’s long gravel mix ride, when the long gravel descent after an even longer gravel climb had been “resurfaced” i.e. RUINED with chunky monkey gravel of a size that won’t pack or tighten up, and left so deep that it was loose enough to cause steering issues. There was no fun on that descent, just a slow and tedious chore of making my way down to the paved section that followed.
Oh well, there’s hope for more fun tomorrow! :slight_smile:

I fit the description (middle-aged is only a fond memory at this point), but I’ve never hydrated quite well enough to follow the pattern. I’m better than I used to be, though. I used to ride century rides without ever needing a potty stop; now I might take one if there’s a mid-point refuel stop anyway.


@CraigM I am going to be 68 very shortly and so far, not afflicted as you describe. So far… :anguished:

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Neither am I.

I have learnt over the years how to take in the right amount of water over the course of a ride.

A few weeks ago I went on a ride with individuals 40 years or more younger than I am. Occasionally they had to wait for me to catch up, but not for the reasons stated.



Oh man, Sir @Critmark is coming for you.

:joy: :rofl: :joy:


I was going to reply to this, but I had to run to the bathroom first.


At age 64, with a gigantic prostate, I have to get up at least twice each night, but I sweat so much while riding that I almost never take a nature break. Sorry… TMI


Same issue with me. I have done many imperial centuries which ran from just under 5 hours to 5 and three quarters hours. Only once did I ever stop for a bio break. I was sweating out as much as I was taking in. Even with multiple water/snack stops available along the route, I routinely carry three water bottles for that very reason.


Pro: you don’t get sun burn riding indoors

Con: my wife complains with how much the basement stinks after long rides :rofl:



Even though I’m lucky enough to have a window in the cellar (as per spider photo), the sweat-laden mist of suffering still lingers in the air…

The sun burn reminded me of some other pros: no need for sun-cream, no need for sunglasses, no need for contact lenses, and no accidentally getting sun-cream under your contact lenses.