How to use Expresso to train

We asked our Team Captains how they train for races, rides and life on the Expresso Bike. Here is what they had to say.

1. Chad Katter, Equinox Sports Club New York, “Become skilled at using different gear/cadence combinations. Try riding the same route at the same effort level in different gears. For example, ride Fruitdale once mostly in gear 10. Then ride Fruitdale again mostly in gear 15. Try to maintain the same average watts for both rides. Your cadence will need to be higher when riding in the lower gear. Using a higher gear requires more strength and will burn carbohydrates at a faster rate. Using a lower gear requires more aerobic capacity and will probably require a higher heart rate at cadences above 80-85 rpm.

  • For my training, I first do a tour that takes me close to an hour to finish to establish my baseline. For me, that is Savage Revenge, but for slower riders it may be another Extreme tour.
  • I then follow the advice given in Joe Friel’s “The Power Training Handbook: A User’s Guide for Cyclists and Triathletes” to establish 7 power training zones.
  • Finally, I try to ride close to a certain percentage of the time in each of these zones to focus on improving many of the skills required to race effectively. The percentages are also detailed in this book and will vary according which races have the highest priority.
  • I find that training in power zones is generally more effective than training in heart rate zones. However, understanding heart rate data is important to avoid overtraining.”

2. Bonnie Wilson, West Coast Fitness,Use the Chase games to break up your high interval time. When I really want to work on HIIT Training I will take one of the smaller traiditional rides as hard as I can handle, and then to give myself some active recovery, I will do a Chase in speed mode. It allows me to make it more an active recovery. I still go hard, but the speed allows me a chance to recover.

3. Michael Lewis, Gold’s Gym – Colonial Heights, “I check the elevation, RPMs and what gear I am in the most. Downhill I use the highest gear that I can use with comfort. Uphill I use the lower gears like 3 or 4. I like to ride every other day if possible. If I ride consecutive days, I try to ride an easier trail if I rode a hard trail the day before. And the reverse is true as well, for rides on consecutive days. To train to ride a 100-mile bike race outside, I would try riding a longer trail one day a week or several short trails on the same day one day a week the first week.”

4. Andrew Hall, Hobart Aquatic Centre, “I use gears between 16 and 22 to go uphill and 30 plus downhill.”

5. Caleb Cohen, YMCA – Scotch Plains, “I am just an average cyclist, love getting out, but won’t kill myself to do so… That said, this winter was the first I ever ‘trained’ at he gym during the off-season. I work up one heck of a sweat on the Expresso bikes, much more than on a real bike, but there is no wind in my face, so. I’ve finally been able to get out on the roads this past month. I am cycling at the beginning of the season better than I ever did at the end in previous years. My goal was never to use the Expresso to “train” but just for exercise. The end result is I feel much stronger on the roads, especially the hills and pushing myself on the flats (no gliding on the Expresso has taught me to always pedal hard, never relax). I’m sure my Expresso riding over the next few months will be much less, but it truly has helped my real-life riding.”

6. Cindy Schnee, YMCA – Calgary – Eau Claire, “…

  • tip #1 Every 3 weeks I do a Functional Threshold pace test to determine my zones for heart rate (I use my own hr monitor, not that on the bike) and power. The test is 30 min, so I do Fruitdale x2, my hubby does Coastal Run x3, etc… We then use this to determine how hard we should be riding on subsequent rides and to determine if we are improving.
  • tip #2 I like doing hill repeats on Temple Ridge. I can do 8 min or 12 min repeats and then recover on the 4 min flat part from the beginning to the other side of the bridge. I just hit leave route and start over again, trying to reach tthe required power and hr zones eac time.
  • tip#3 Bricks (bike to run, one right after the other) are easy to do in the winter; I just head upstairs at my YMCA to run on the track, since it’s too cold here to run outside. In the summer, I head outside!
  • tip#4 Intervals – pick a route that takes you your interval time to complete, not too hilly! Repeat, keeping in required hr and power zones.
  • tip #5 Pyramid intervals – From shortest to longest routes or vise versa, all out! I like Bent Spoke, Fruitdale, Rabbit Run, Evening Bliss, etc…Do an easy short one like Rolling Thunder, Redwood Dash, Expresso Speedway in between for recovery.
  • tip #6 I play around with my Ghost A LOT. At the beginning of the indoor riding season (October or November for me), I put my Ghost at the slowest time. I move it up as I improve.”

7. Scott Jordan, Liv Avenida, “I had to look up HIIT training and I have two degrees in this exercise stuff. HIIT training is “High Intensity Intervial Training”–a period of high instensity (HI) exercise followed by a recovery period of rest or low intensity exercise. More of an advanced training technique for both trainer and trainee, this kind of training will help racers with both speed and power. On an Expresso bike, you might use Expresso Speedway for such work. I’ve done my most serious sprints on this course as I am sure many others have. The track is mostly level and the 1/4 mile markings on the track would help with pacing and HI/LI intervals better than any other course. Plus, all Expresso stats will be kept and not just miles and calories if you would to do interval training outside of an Expresso course–like while watching TV. Search “interval training for bicycle” on the Web and you’ll find a wealth of info on interval training benefits, considerations, and modalites. On heart rates: As you all know, Expresso bikes provide real time heart rate feedback during a ride. And, captures and displays heart rate data for each ride, as well as graphs watts per heart beat as a measure of fitness over time. I use this data to get an idea of what my exercise heart rate should be for given workload. For myself and other riders, I also compare heart rates to general exercise heart rate guidelines for age and intensity–to get an initial idea if I or a rider is working too hard, too easy or just right. I also look for trends that indicate if I or a rider is getting in better shape or not. Heart rates should go down for the same amount of watts over time. You can do a run-to-run comparison as well as use the watts per heart beat graph to do this analysis. In this way, heart rate zones take shape and change according to the rider’s level of fitness. And huge kudos to Interactive Fitness for making this all possible for thousands and thousands around the globe!…”

Be a leader. Become an Expresso Team Captain. Train Now.

Fall Frenzy Sweet 16 Wrap-Up

The drama of the last two days in the Fall Frenzy is like nothing we have ever witnessed. Four of the eight matchups saw lead changes in the final day. The upset of the tournament came from unranked newcomer Houghton knocking out the #5 seed Iowa by just 1.5 miles. Final score:

Houghton –  613.4
Iowa –  611.9

Houghton held off a late surge in the closing seconds thanks to Joey Wilmot who contributed an astonishing 233 miles over the 48 hour round.

In another notable upset, unranked Vanderbilt, lead by top rider Alyson Dickson with 117 miles, knocked off the #6 seed Rochester. This was a back and forth battle all day until Vanderbilt took the lead in the waning hours for the final time and rode their way into the elite eight.

The biggest battle of the tournament thus far was between SUNY Oswego and Valparaiso. Plagued early by internet connection issues, Valparaiso gutted it out and took the lead with less than 10 hours to go but in the process they over-extended themselves and could not hold onto the victory. In the end SUNY Oswego, lead by Ryan Rankin with 123 miles, won the monster battle racking up 1,386 miles with Valparaiso finishing just short with 1,316 miles.

Carnegie Mellon earned the most combative award. Lead by all tournament contender Mark Zajicek, The Tartans logged 978 miles on just two bikes. This was a monster effort against all odds, but it was not enough to launch them through to the next round as they drew a tough matchup with Schoolcraft who posted the highest totals of the round with 1,426 miles.In the end, 820 riders from your Sweet 16 teams rode for a combined 11,788 miles in 48 hours and burned over 400,000 Calories. The effort across the board from all teams was courageous and inspiring.



LSU is the heavy favorite in this match-up but Carthage is a cheeky newcomer who had done what they needed to do to get through to the next round and won’t go down without a fight.


Houghton has become the Cinderella story of the tournament after knocking off #5 Iowa, but the road doesn’t get any easier. Schoolcraft just sent home #4 Carnegie Mellon with over 1,400 miles in the biggest ride of the sweet 16. Houghton captain Joey Wilmot can’t do it alone. He is going to need to rally the troops to have a shot at making it through to the Final Four.


The battle of the SUNY schools is one to watch! Binghamton knows exactly what they are doing after making it through to the finals last year. Oswego is scrappy and proved that they have what it takes to come back and win late. Look for some big miles out of this matchup.


Gannon is the scariest team in the tournament but they have yet to be tested. In both the Qualifiers and the Sweet 16 they blew their opponents off the road early and never looked back. Vanderbilt started slow but came on strong towards the end of their battle with Rochester and may be peaking at the right time. They will test Gannon in this matchup for the first time in the tournament. Lets see how Gannon responds.

At the end of the tournament the top 10 individual riders will receive All Tournament Honors. So far…

1) 281 miles Joey Wilmot Houghton
2) 220 miles Mark Zajicek Carnegie Mellon
3) 205 miles Brian Johnson LSU
4) 200 miles David Geyer LSU
5) 184 miles Alyson Dickson Vanderbilt
6) 176 miles Tristan Leonhard Valparaiso
7) 175 miles David Shearer Gannon
8) 175 miles Brian Ratajczak Gannon
9) 162 miles Joshua Costa Schoolcraft
10) 162 miles Ryan Rankin SUNY – Oswego