Is it unusual to feel beaten to a jellylegged pulp on a turbo trainer?

I used to really enjoy cycling, not to the extent that I’d be in races or anything like that, but used to get about 200km in every week out on the road, commuting to work, or just going for it while that missus was away at training camps and the like. Since changing jobs I’ve been negligent due to long six day weeks and so on. That said, I still can be seen taking moderate rides on the road (don’t laugh at my measly 40km) and find them to be not a problem at all. 

However, I recently bought a turbo trainer, joined Zwift and thought I’d give it a go with the whole setup out on the veranda for a little bit of wind and zero noise annoyance in our little house here in Japan.  And here’s my problem 

day 1 ~10km going up the mountain road on route 8 and loved it till I couldn’t get off the bike

day 2 ~ about 6km and struggling even on the smaller inclines (in comparison to the first day’s 9-11%ers 

day3 ~ 5km and not having fun at all (well, that’s a little lie) gulping air and more air and going slow as xx. This time, the iPad overheated as opposed to me! 

Long story short: it’s much harder than I thought it might be and will it gets easier?

Also, is it due to the P1,2,3 ratings on my trainer (elite smart b+) I’m 178cm and 81kg so should they be modified from the factory settings? 

Thanks to anyone who reads this. 

Wait until you get lured into the races.  That opens up a whole new can of hurt.

There’s been times I’ve stepped off the turbo in a trance to the extent the wife has spoken to me straight after and in her words I’ve starred straight through her with glazed eyes.  

What you feel is quite normal and no it doesn’t get any easier…you just get faster.

Wait until you are eligible to ride Alpe Du Zwift.  Even to the experienced Zwifter that is a killer if you are trying to set a PB.


Just in case this isn’t new-leg syndrome, would you mind checking a few things for me? It might be a good idea to give your iPad a force-restart to clear your device cache.

What type of Elite trainer and sensors are you using?

Next time you’re in Zwift, pair your trainer as both power and controllable then try a calibration with the wrench icon from the Paired Devices screen. It may also be beneficial to complete an FTP test so Zwift isn’t expecting too much from you as a new rider.–How-do-I-Take-an-FTP-Test-

If the force-reboot, trainer calibration, and FTP test don’t seem to work and riding still seems a challenge, please let me know. I’d like to create an email support ticket and request log files to do further research for you at that point.

To the fellas who gave me advice and support. 

Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. 

@Stuart Middlecoate: I don’t think I’ll be racing for a good while yet, if at all but can easily see myself getting pulled in by the lure of it all. Finishing last is better than not starting at all, after all! I’ve a story about that from when I was a kid at a criterium in my hometown in Ireland but for another day.   

@David K:  I’m using an Elite Qubo Digital Smart b+  

I’ll try doing a calibration via the wrench icon if it’s possible when I get back home tonight. If not, I’ll just continue to enjoy the application, and the sweat, and the grind. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger after all! 

As for the FTP test, I was looking on YouTube and two things struck me - even seasoned riders struggle with the FTP tests and a decent fan is an absolute must. We’re in the middle of a brutal heat wave here in Japan and it’s been tough to do just about anything in it. 

Once again, thank you for your positive responses to my message. 


“even seasoned riders struggle with the FTP tests…”

Well, sure.  *Everyone* will struggle with an FTP test if they’re doing it correctly.  The whole point of one is to measure (or, at least, to estimate) your maximum 1 hour-sustainable power output. 

Going all-out @ 100% for the 20 min duration of the test is, relatively speaking, every bit as difficult for an elite athlete as it is for a novice.  The two will have vastly different results - but will suffer the same.

FWIW, the test doesn’t force you to ride “above” your ability level (as such a thing isn’t possible). You have to push yourself to go at the limit of your ability until the test is over, and _that _is almost as difficult mentally as it is physically imo.

But, hey, it’s only 20 min! :wink: And it’s worth doing at least once, because then all future workouts will be tailored just for you.

 “a decent fan is an absolute must.” - Like bicycles, the correct number of fans for any indoor training is N+1.  You can never have too much air flow to cool you down - and this is especially true for FTP testing.  


@Joe Daknis. 

Thanks for your input.

“a fan is an absolute must” - I got myself a fan and whilst I’m still new to this game and sweated a bloody lot, it definitely felt good on last night’s short ride. 


“*Everyone* will struggle with an FTP test”

I completely understand the physics of it and the fact that an FTP for an elite athlete will hurt just as much as an FTP for a jelly-legged, overweight, under-exercised fella such as myself. I think the difference is that the athlete will look at an FTP test and say “yeah, I’ll conquer that” whereas I’ll look at it and prevaricate, prevaricate, prevaricate, until I actually do it. But, I will do it! 




But have you entered the projectile vomiting phase?  Know that other riders often need buckets next to their bikes, you are not alone.

@Bath Salts ~~Terry Fox

Holy Shi~~~ning bolts of lightning!! That’s dedication. I’ll purchase a bucket!