Top tips for your turbo setup during a lockdown

If like us you’re spending way more time on the turbo as of late you’re probably starting to wonder if cycling was always this uncomfortable, sweaty and absent of any sense of adventure. Is it just us or is a turbo minute more like six outdoor minutes? With different levels of lockdown being imposed around the globe we’ve dusted down the breakaway turbo and set off in search of some cycling form, not to mention find some grain of optimism in otherwise gloomy virus occupied times.

Rather than tackle this on our own we’ve enlisted Breakaway companion and bike fitting expert Jake Yarranton of Precise Performance. Jake’s expertise has seen him become the man behind the comfort and performance of professional outfits Canyon DHB p/b Soreen and Drops Cycling Team. His skills are not just for tanned professionals but his services have reached countless other athletes who, thanks to his wisdom, are sitting comfortably and pedaling smoothly. 

Turbo Precise Performance

Can you introduce yourself: Who you are? What do you do? And why are you passionate about it?

My name is Jake Yarranton and I am the owner of Precise Performance LTD which is a professional bike fitting company. I officially opened Precise Performance LTD in October 2018, naturally, it has come with its stresses, but I have loved every minute. I am very passionate about cycling and bike fitting in general, I feel extremely lucky that I have a job working with my hobby. I have always had a general interest in sport both on a personal and educational level, so bike fitting fitted perfectly! 

I started bike fitting a little over 10 years ago, I went on the Body Geometry Level 1 course during work experience whilst at college where I was studying Sport and Exercise Science. I entered the course not knowing what to expect but left after 3 days, hooked. At this point I was unaware of what would follow! 

When I am not working, I like to ride socially and train on my bike, spend time with family and socialise with friends. I try to follow a structured training plan so I can race, it has definitely been harder to spend time training whilst also being able to join my friends on the bike whilst working for myself, but I really appreciate the time I get on the bike.  

We know the turbo can be a painful and testing environment regardless of fit but what should we be looking out for to determine if that discomfort isn’t associated with suffering but instead our fit on the bike?

I would suggest whenever you are riding, you pay attention to what your body is feeling. Feeling uncomfortable whilst riding isn’t something you should settle for. Whilst riding on the turbo, you may find certain areas go numb which is relatively common but not always correct due to lack of movement and the bike being locked into place. However, if you are getting numb hands or feet, this is likely to be a fit issue. Knee pain is another one. This could be linked to a lack of support from either the shoes or cleats and the saddle. If you are confident you’re riding the bike the same way you normally would be on the road, e.g. covering the brakes and changing gears, and you are still getting shoulder or neck discomfort, this is likely to be a bike fit issue. 

One common side effect of riding indoors is a feeling of tightness in our upper backs and more generally feeling stiffer in the upper body than after a ride outside. Is this normal?

This is something that is really common. You may find that whilst riding out on the road you have no shoulder or neck pain then when you jump on the indoor trainer suddenly everything feels tight and starts to ache. When we ride the indoor trainer the way we make contact to the front of the bike sometimes changes because there is no need to cover the brakes or use the gears (if using erg mode), we start to hold further back, straighten our arms and/or sink our neck in into our shoulders. These adaptations may accelerate the discomfort that you are noticing. Concentrate on riding the bike the same way you would whilst out on the road to keep continuity.

What is your dream turbo setup? 

A nice air-conditioned room is a must. If I overheat I am useless. I would pair the well ventilated room with a Wahoo Kickr, a Wahoo Kickr Climb and a big smart TV mounted on the wall so I can connect to Zwift or RGT Cycling and tune into Netflix! A good sound system would be great for when I want to give my eyes a rest!

What is your go to turbo snack? (Maybe a Belgium waffle or half a dozen pistachios like Cav?)

This is an easy one, a flapjack made with honey always sits nicely!

Should I turbo with a book under my front wheel to simulate climbing?

Personally, and this may be an unpopular opinion, I would not place anything under the wheel unless you have access to the Wahoo Kickr Climb. The position is never going to be the same and could feel very unnatural. I would focus on replicating the range of power you need to produce normally to get up a climb. If you have a power meter this is easier but if you don’t just focus on your RPM/Cadence that would be most common whilst climbing. 

Apparently, Mathieu van der Poel (MVP) chases himself in a mirror during Zwift rides, is this likely to affect his position, and have you tried this technique?

Firstly, this must explain why MVP is so fast! Using this technique could affect your position if done incorrectly. Ideally you don’t want to be looking anywhere other than straight ahead otherwise this will put the body out of balance with unwanted twisting and turning. It would be beneficial to really concentrate on your positioning during hard efforts or just riding in general. The key is to keep your riding position the same on the turbo as it is on the road. If you want to check out your position I recommend setting up a side view camera which you can look back on. I haven’t used the technique of chasing myself though, I would never make the catch! 

What ride are you most looking forward to post lockdown?

I have two rides. Firstly, I can’t wait to join my friends on a group ride, I love the social aspect of cycling as much as I do the competitive side. Secondly, I am really looking forward to riding around the Isle of Wight on a sunny day, I have ridden around the island a few times and never had a bad experience. The sun just makes everything more enjoyable…

How can I book to come and see you post lockdown to make sure my fit is in the best position for me?

There are a few ways which you can book in with me post lockdown. I have an easy to use online booking system which can be found on my website. Alternatively you can call me or contact me via email. 

At the moment I am offering a free 15 minute video call consultation from the safety of your turbo to make sure the hours you spend training indoors aren’t going to throw up any issues for when the lockdown passes. Drop me an email or phone call to discuss this further. 

I also offer a wide range of other services all linked to improving your cycling position. These can be found on the website. Lastly, I am also always available to talk on the phone to answer any questions you may have prior to your booking.  Precise Performance Website: https://precise-performance.co.uk/

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