Lessons in Badassery Wattbike Update

This morning I’ll have arrived in the Dordogne for our family holiday, after driving through the night – in fact, I’m probably losing a fight with a tent as you read this. Knowing this, I took the chance to write a catch up on the Wattbike, and my goal of getting bike fit, before I left.

*Background: I’m a case study for Wattbike (more on that another time) and have loan of a bike. While I’ve been waiting for a date to have some terrifying fitness tests with their sport scientist, Barney, I’ve started the Wattbike Advanced Level 3 Sportive programme which I follow via the Wattbike app. I’m currently four weeks in.*


#1. I sweat a lot.
That’s it really, sweat. A lot of it. At last I understand why my husband’s bib shorts are so disgustingly wet after his spin sessions. I now have a fan on every time I cycle. Godsend.

#2. Action films are the best
There’s no getting around it; the Wattbike is loud when you use the airbrake. As I’m riding without headphones (and don’t want to fall out with my neighbours), I’ve been watching DVDs without being able to hear the sound. I’ve since learned that going old-school with action films (Predator, Blade etc) works in this scenario. I will not make the mistake of watching Paycheck (yawn) or worse still, a virtual ride of Mont Ventoux (mega yawn), again.

#3. The Wattbike phone app is bloody brilliant
It syncs with the bike (and with Strava) and includes loads of different cycling programmes (HIIT, Sportive, Hill Climbing, Grand Tour etc). I’m following the 17-week Advanced Level 3 Sportive programme, which tells me what I need to do each day (e.g.  55-minutes in zones 1-3) and whether it’s a rest day. I click on the day, it counts down from 5 on the phone and I just follow the ‘journey’ and the three columns with my target (and actual) numbers for Power (Watts), Heart Rate, and Cadence. Stunningly simple and easy.

Lessons in Badassery Wattbike data

#4. My pedalling balance appears pretty good
The Wattbike screen includes a function called the Polar View, which essentially shows a shape that represents the force applied during pedalling. The aim is to make the shape look like a peanut. It also records the balance of your pedalling – on my last ride, my left foot was 51% and my right foot was 49%, so pretty balanced. Nice one, me.

#5. Cycling so often requires LOADS of cycling gear
See item #1 about me sweating so much. I’ve got all of my cycling gear so far from Sportpursuit – I always check there first, as the discounts on quality brands can be really good. I’m definitely no expert on kit, having limited experience wearing it, but my RULE#IV M Bib Shorts have the most padding out of anything I’ve tried so far.

P.S Sorry credit card, I know you’ve had a hammering!

#6. My bike fitness is definitely improving
This is the best news. I’ve gone from no cycling at all and having no distance/endurance sport fitness in general (cos, y’know, burpees) to being able to cycle for between 45 and 55 minutes a time, four times a week. And I can keep a solid pace at a higher power (watts) for longer than when I started. How will this all translate to my cycle fitness this holiday? My dad is threatening to take me up a big Col to find out.*Pain face*

Lessons in Badassery Bike

#7. I love the Wattbike
I was expecting a love-hate relationship, but I think it’s all love from my side. Alas, we shall be parted eventually, so this love affair is doomed. But at least I’ll get fit, first 😉

As I’m now on holiday, the irony is I’m going to miss 2+ weeks of Wattbike training [panic]. However, I’m hoping to get out on some real rides. And my family keeps mentioning Hautecam.