Riding uphill into the wind while watching Netflix
Given where I live, my job, and my training schedule, attempting to execute workouts during the week by riding outside is a challenge. Years ago, I purchased a CompuTrainer and discovered the joys of a smart trainer.
While CompuTrainer was the leader in the smart trainer market, they failed to recognize the economic potential of such a product. Enter Wahoo. We soon replaced our CTs with Kickrs (our review on the CT vs. KICKR). Life was good.
Wahoo soon entered the bike computer market with the Elemnt (apparently someone at Wahoo does not like vowels!). Hubby bought me one and I begrudgingly tried it. Loved it. Ditto for the bike mat. Moral of this story thus far: Hubby loves to try all the accessories. I do not. (bike mat for $50+? $10 yoga mat is fine)
Wahoo recently added two more accessories (which include all the appropriate vowel): the Headwind and the Climb to the smart trainer family. I received both for my birthday. Priced at $249.99 and $599.99, these accessories are not cheap. Are they worth it? When Hubby told me about these items, I was more interested in the Climb, since I enjoy mountainous terrain. I thought the Headwind would be a gimmicky rip-off.
The Climb: The Climb replaces your front wheel. Using Bluetooth, the climb will pair with your smart trainer and allowing Zwift to adjust the front end of the bike as you climb and descend the volcano on Watopia. One can manually set the level as well and there is a return to zero gradient option. Is it fun? Yes. Does it simulate climbing? As much as is probably possible, given the garage is in Virginia and the Alps are in France. It is better than stacking books or multiple riser blocs. Is it worth $600? Depends on your budget constraint. (One aside – as a former bike fitter, I would love to use the Climb for bike fits – very easy to level the bike. One could also put a rider closer to the position one is in while climbing – for those riders who have pain while climbing, this would provide some insight.)
The Headwind: To be honest, I thought a fan that costs $250 was just plain stupid. I could care less that it adjusts the speed of the fan based on my effort on the bike paired to the smart trainer. Then I got on the bike and turned it on the highest setting. It was 90+ degrees outside and very humid. Normally, riding inside is virtually impossible on the hot and humid days in July and August. OMG. That fan is awesome! It sits on the floor and the angle is perfect – hits you in the face and upper body. I have asthma and if I feel overheated while pedaling inside, breathing is problematic. After the first ride, I thought – awesome fan but $250? Too high.
After a week of riding inside doing some nasty intervals that left me hanging over the handlebars, wanting to vomit on the Climb, I fell in love with the Headwind. All $249.99 + tax worth of it. I think one of the greatest challenges for most people riding on a smart trainer, outside of boredom, is sweating/heat. The Headwind solves that issue.
My final thoughts – The Climb makes Zwift more fun. The Headwind makes you better able to stay on the bike and complete the workout on the smart trainer. Which of the two makes you faster up Col du Galibier? As always, no shortcuts, only hard work. For me, I would buy the Headwind since it helps me train harder. The Climb is fun but expensive.