Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Review: CycleOps Training Mat ($75 USD)

Review: CycleOps Training Mat ($75 USD)

My indoor trainer has explored nearly every room in my house the past two years. Room purposes have changed or alterations have taken place, which relegated the Hammer to some other place. Its last location was the garage, a place known for fluctuating (though refreshing) temperatures and a slight uphill gradient. There has always been one place I worried less about the trainer, though.

 

I have never heard whether leaving a smart trainer in subfreezing temperatures does damage, but I bet it does not help. The garage typically does not get blazing hot so the concern is one-sided. The cement floor is an afterthought when great lakes of sweat accumulate from a hard indoor effort. For this reason I located the Hammer (H2) in the afterthought of rooms. It was convenient when a quick changeover to an outdoor ride presented itself. I unhitched the bike from the trainer, threaded the rear wheel on, and rolled out the door.

 

The reason the trainer wound up in the garage is the basement floor was carpeted off. Brand new items are treated with the utmost care. I didn’t want chain grease flying around onto new plush flooring. Sweat could not go anywhere near it. And there was the concern of the trainer moving around during harder efforts. It was this last point that kept the trainer planted on the cement floor.

It’s like the CycleOps H2 (Hammer) smart trainer and Training Mat were meant for each other.

It’s like the CycleOps H2 (Hammer) smart trainer and Training Mat were meant for each other.

After talking to a few people who were in the same predicament I was convinced purchasing a CycleOps Training Mat would temper my concerns. I unboxed the mat and unrolled it in my basement, returned my trainer to its old location, and fired up the indoor workouts. I would learn of its other benefit shortly after doing hard intervals.

 

You might be saying that it’s just a big yoga mat, and really that’s not too far from the truth. But it’s much bigger, nearly three feet by five feet, and it’s not as cushy as a yoga mat. Perhaps if I took up a yoga class I would consider the Training Mat up and head to the studio. It also reduced vibration and noise. The biggest test came when a hard effort was asked. There was some hesitation as to whether the trainer would walk, but the question had to be answered. Stomping on the pedals went from trainer focused to power focused. It wasn’t until the effort was over that I had forgotten about my main concern. 

 

The Trainer Mat delivered in several areas. To date I have not had the trainer move during a hard effort. The H2 trainer does weigh 47 pounds, so Fluid and M2 trainers may have different experiences. The other benefit to the Trainer Mat was its sweat collection. The basement is much warmer than the garage in the winter, therefore more sweat. Maybe there is more sweat because I gained confidence in the fact that the Trainer Mat grabbed a hold of the H2 and kept it anchored. Now that the trainer is anchored and the floor protected, it is possible to focus completely on the effort at hand. Gone is one more excuse as to why I don’t put up numbers in the offseason. Worrying about the smart trainer flopping around under load wasn’t really a good excuse to begin with anyway.

Review: Belgian Crew Boom Pro Thermal Jersey (€130)

Review: Belgian Crew Boom Pro Thermal Jersey (€130)

Review: linden & true Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee ($16 USD)

Review: linden & true Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Coffee ($16 USD)