A New Age Of Ironman Bike Training

There’s little doubt that a new age of Ironman bike training is upon us

The days of being able to find a seldom traveled paved road for Ironman bike training are becoming a thing of the past.

It seems that every season we hear of pros who are suffering catastrophic injuries after having a run in with a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, some of these accidents are career ending, and at times, life ending.

It’s not just the pros who suffer this fate. Age-triathletes and often just groups from bike clubs out for a weekend ride have suffered the same fate.

We live in an impatient world. Motorists are so focused on getting from point A to point B that they have no tolerance for anyone on a bike who impedes their progress. Motorist and cyclist confrontations are taking place all over the world at an ever-increasing rate.


Of course biking at home often defeats the purpose for Sunday riders who want to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.

It’s a different story however for those solitary triathletes spending hours in the saddle training for the next triathlon.

Just how do you get in the training required for surviving the 112-mile distance of the Ironman bike if the highways in the area where you live are not very bike friendly?

Is it possible to do most of your bike training for an Ironman in your basement or living room?

Of course it is.


At the end of my Ironman career I competed in the 2003 and 2004 Ironman Couer d’Alene races. For the first race I did pretty much all of my bike training out on a highway outside of the city.

It was also how I had trained for the previous nine Ironman races I finished. I had to drive about 30 minutes each way to find a road less traveled by vehicular traffic.

The next year I wondered what would happen if I did the majority of my bike training on my wind-trainer parked in front of the T.V. set? As an experiment, I decided to give it a try.

I even had a two-movie work out. I would watch a couple of recorded movies and when they were over about four hours later, my ride was done. I didn’t just watch T.V. I also did interval training, and simulated hill climbing by increasing the resistance and standing on the pedals.

indoor bicycle training

One of the early wind-trainers.

In a nutshell, I felt pretty much the same in both races and I don’t think it made a bit of difference training inside as opposed to outside.

Lets face it. Your cardiovascular system doesn’t know the difference if you’re on a wind-trainer or on the road. You’re still working the same muscles either way and your heart has to pump just as hard to keep the blood flowing to those muscles.

Your lungs still get a workout when you do intervals on the carpet highway. Your leg muscles still burn when you stand up on the pedals and push big gears on your wind-trainer.


The cycling purists will say that biking inside is just not the same biking indoors. What about the wind, cornering, and balance?

They’re right.

That’s why during the last month of bike training before the big race I hit the dusty highway to ensure my cornering, hill climbing, balance, and biking in the aero position into the wind were brushed up.

That’s why I did 90% inside and 10% outside. You can break it down any way you’re comfortable with. It could be 80%-20% or 75%-25% inside and out.


There’s no doubting there are numerous advantages to biking at home.

There are no potholes, dogs nipping at your heels, moronic motorists, or diving hawks.

Yes, it does really happen. There was even a race out in these parts called the Mad Hawk race.

You don’t have to worry about sudden rainstorms, gale-force winds, hail, or sunburn. Flat tire? No problem.

If you need a nature break, the bathrooms just down the hall. Need something to eat or drink. It’s not all that far to the kitchen.

a new age of ironman bike training

All set for a spin class

One of the biggest benefits I found was the amount of time I saved. I no longer had to load my bike on a rack and spend an hour driving too and from.

Biking inside is perfect for someone short on training time. You can bike before work, after work, or at any time day or night.

Biking indoors is excellent for transition training. My favorite training scenario was a 60 minute bike followed by a one hour run. You’re off your bike, into your running shoes. and out the door in a flash. It’s ideal training for triathlon transitions for the bike to run.


Wind-trainers have come a long way over the years.

We’ve gone from the basic mag-turbo wind-trainers to trainers that can have you biking your favorite Ironman bike course.

There are bike spin classes in pretty much every major city.

But perhaps the biggest thing to ever appear on the indoor bike training market is the Onepeloton interactive system.

Now, indoor bike training can take on a whole new meaning. You can choose your own program and bike with large groups and world-class instructors. Sure it’s not your road bike you’re sitting on, but indoor training on a Peloton bike would be a perfect compliment to training on your triathlon bike on the open road.

What intrigues me most is the fitness level one could achieve. I don’t know about everyone else out there in the triathlon world, but it was the interval training that produced some of my best results over the years.

In fact it was not the century rides that in the early years of my Ironman career I thought I had to do over and over again in order to become a stronger cyclist.

Ironman Coeur d’Alene is no more

It’s official now that Ironman Coeur d’Alene is no more.

The final race took place on Sunday August 27, 2017. It was billed as an age-group race only. You can check out the top age-group finishers for the last edition of this great race here.

The inaugural race took place on June 29, 2003.

Here are the opening two paragraphs of the 2003 race results. It was part of the special edition for the Coeur d’alene & Post Falls Press written by staff writer Mark Vinson.

On the hottest day of the year in North Idaho, many of the 1,576 competitors in the inaugural Ironman Coeur d’Alene triathlon wilted under the stifling sun.

A handful lost its lunch while still others wilted under the stifling sun.

It was indeed a blistering hot day. I can testify to that as I struggled across the line in just over 13 hours. It was so hot you could almost feel your bike tires sink into the sun softened asphalt during the second loop of the bike.

There were 227 triathletes listed as DNF for that race. That equaled 14.40% of official starters. It was the highest attrition rate in Ironman history at the time. It was also one of the hottest Ironman race days ever recorded as well with temperatures bordering on 102 degrees.

I believe it was second only to Ironman Hawaii 1984. It was reported to be as hot as 106 degrees out on the Kona lava fields during the bike. I can testify to that as well as I raced in Hawaii that year. I probably have the dubious distinction of being one of the few triathletes to survive both races. 1036 started that year in Kona and 903 finished. That computes to a 12.83% DNF rate.

Of course pros were in that race, as they were included in all races in that era.

Michael Lovato and Heather Gollnick were the winners of the inaugural CDA race. They had finish times of 8:40:59 and 9:42:08 respectively.

It should be noted that Spencer Smith who had the lead for the pro men until lap two of the bike posted a sensational 44-minute swim.


I suppose one could make an argument for changing from the June date to the August date because of the propensity for hot weather in June. Just the same, it can be very hot in August as well. Also, I competed in CDA in June 2004 as well and the temperature was moderate and excellent for race day.

It seems that the date change did not go over very well as there was a sharp decline in entries.

The World Triathlon Corporation, which owns the IRONMAN franchise had this to say.

Because of athlete concerns over the challenging nature of the course and the move of the event to August, 2017 will be the “sunset year” for IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene.

Sure, it was a tough race, but then, every Ironman race is challenging in it’s own way. Personally, I found the Ironman Canada bike course in Penticton a lot more challenging. The hardest part about Couer d’Alene was doing everything twice. It does sort of play on your mind.

There’s a good possibility that the rate of exchange for the Canadian dollar also hurt the race. Everything suddenly cost 25-30% more for triathletes from South of the border. It’s too bad motels and hotels couldn’t have offered to accept the Canadian dollar at par for a week. Now instead, they lose the income generated on a yearly basis from hosting an Ironman event.

They should’ve taken a cue from these Canadian friendly ski resorts who accept the Canadian dollar at par.

Losing Ironman CDA is a bit of a blow to Alberta triathletes especially who are now left with Whistler, Mont-Tremblant, or Lake Placid as there nearest Ironman venues.

When Ironman Canada in Penticton fell under the WTC axe I believe many Albertan’s gave up on their Ironman dream. After all, there were on average about 350 triathletes every year from Calgary alone who went to Penticton to race. It wasn’t just the race. It was often a family vacation in the stunning Okanagan.

For those who were willing, there was Coeur d’Alene to fill the void for those who were not completely sold on Ironman Whistler.

I really believe that because Ironman Coeur d’Alene is no more, even more Western Canadian triathletes will lose interest in pursuing their Ironman dream.