Work Your Triathlon Weakness: Bike

Welcome to Week 2 of my Work Your Triathlon Weakness series. Each Tuesday this month, I am focusing on one of the four sports of triathlon. Yes, four  – Transition counts. Hey,  T1 and T2 deserve a little attention too. Last week, we discussed the swim. This week we are focusing on the bike.

Indoor bike training can be painfully boring! I don’t know about you, but for me, it involves losing myself in some Netflix series in an attempt to fight off the boredom. Right now while we are indoors, I’ve talked my Tri coach into running a Sunday morning bike trainer session at his house. An hour and half certainly feels a lot less gruesome when you have friends with you. It also helps because he pushes me harder than I would push myself.

As Tim constantly reminds me the biggest percentage of time in a triathlon is on the bike.  Since the bike is my weakness, I’m currently adding in more sessions to my training schedules.  I think over the years, I’ve come to realize that I just don’t like indoor workouts. There’s something about scenery changes that I need to keep me motivated. That and you can’t really ride 15 miles out and just stop because you have to get back home. On the trainer, it’s really easy to talk yourself into getting off – just stop pedaling.

So, how can you build that base and continue working on improving your cycling?

Spend more time in the saddle. You might be saying “Well, Duh, Cassandra!” but, honestly, it’s really as simple as that. You’ve got to get those workouts in if you’re going to improve.

Customize your training. You’ll want to include both shorter and longer rides into your training plan. You’ll also want to work on a variety of speed, hills, and long endurance rides.

Indoor Trainer Workouts

Here are couple indoor trainer workouts to help work on your base building if you live in a climate that forces you indoors right now:

I Feel the Need for Speed Intervals (1:00.00)
Warmup:       10 minutes easy, 2:30 minutes left leg, 2:30 minutes right leg
Main Set:       10 X 1 minute at 100 RPM with 1 minute at 80 RPM recovery
                         5 minutes at 90 RPM
                         10 X 30 secs on/30 seconds off, alternating between standing (on) and sitting (off)
Cool Down:   10 minutes easy

Let’s Climb (1:35.00)
Warm Up:     15 minutes easy
Main Set:       Raise your front wheel to mimic an uphill
                        2 X 15 minutes in Zone 3, every 5 minutes 30 seconds standing
                        5 minutes recovery
                        3 X 10 minutes in Zone 4, every 2 minutes 30 seconds standing
Cool Down:   10 minutes

Rolling Hills (1:20.00)
Warm Up:     15 minutes easy
Main Set:       5:00 Pedal Easy @ 90 RPM
                         5:00 Alternate: 00:30 Seated & 00:30 Standing
                         2:30 Using Just Left Leg
                         2:30 Using Just Right Leg
SET #1:          6 x 2:00 @ z2. Maintain 70 RPM. Stay Seated
                        1:00 Rest Interval in Between
                        Maintain 100 RPM @z1
REST:             3:00 Rest Interval @z1
SET #2:          6 x 3:00 @ z3. Maintain 70 RPM. Stay Seated
                        1:00 Rest Interval in Between
                        Maintain 100 RPM @ z1
Cool Down:   5:00 minutes easy

Indoor Trainer Essentials

If you’re like the rest of east coasters and spending time on the trainer these days, make sure you have all the essentials to before you start your workout.

  1. Cadence Meter – I use my Garmin 920XT
  2. Heart Rate Monitor – I also use my Garmin for this
  3. Water
  4. Towel – I drape mine over the handle bars for easy access
  5. Rubber mat– If you’re not on a concrete basement floor, you’ll want to make sure to invest in a rubber mat to avoid movement of your bike during intense riding. It’s also great for catching all those sweat drips! Ewwww, you don’t want that on your carpet/flooring.
  6. Riser – Invest in a riser for leveling your bike and also for allowing you to increase the bike’s angle to simulate a hill. (You can also get a block of wood from your local home improvement store
  7. Your Distraction of Choice (if you’re riding alone) – Laptop/iPad, etc for watching movies, listening to music or watching your online trainer.

This is what my indoor trainer setup looks like:


The Mat catches all my sweat during training rides at my Tri Coaches house. Always plenty of water to drink in recovery. That striped towel hanging over my bars – well, it definitely gets its own workout! My old cadence meter is synced with my Garmin 920XT so I usually just strap my watch to the bars before we start our ride. If you don’t have that option, you’ll want a cadence meter that works with an indoor trainer.

Bike Trainer

The riser is great for elevating the bike to different heights or you can really take it up a notch by putting your BOSU underneath the front wheel. That’s right, I walked in to one of my training sessions and tried to use a different station and my coach was like “Oh no, that BOSU station is for you”. That was one tough ride! (Shhh, don’t tell him I want to do that again! It was hard, but fun)

You’re entertain of choice will help you on those long rides. Friends are another great way to do that. That’s why I enjoy our weekly group rides. We all laugh and talk in the easy which helps the time go by. In the tough sections, well, you can hear a pin drop.


What has worked for you in improving your biking?


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Cassandra Burke is a Forensic Scientist by day, and a Group Fitness Instructor, Swim Team Coordinator and Travel Agent by night. A Breast Cancer Survivor since 2010, she writes about her journey as well as her struggles – training for triathlons and races, struggling to get back her health, and balancing family life all while building her brand and finding her purpose after cancer. Subscribe to Cassandra’s newsletter for updates and follow @poweredbybling on social media! For endurance sport race travel and custom family vacation travel, visit her at


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