CTS Live screenshot with Coach Jim Rutberg

Why CTS Coaches Are Teaching Virtual Cycling Classes in 2024



By Jim Rutberg,
CTS Pro Coach,
co-author of “Ride Inside“ and
The Time-Crunched Cyclist

With the abundance of indoor cycling apps already available, the biggest question I get about “CTS Live” is: Why now?

Why would the CTS Coaches and I launch live, coach-led virtual cycling classes in this crowded and competitive space? Having produced indoor cycling content and programming for more than 20 years, I believe CTS Live is the right combination of technology, personalized attention, and group camaraderie to help you become a faster, stronger, and smarter cyclist.

I realize there’s a risk this post could read like an informercial. That’s not my intent, but I think explaining the premise and benefits behind CTS Live is worth that risk. To be perfectly transparent, we’re investing a lot of time and energy into producing new indoor cycling content and we’d like you to experience it, give us your feedback, and join our community. Towards that end, follow this link to try CTS Live for 14 days.

Why I Believe in CTS Live

CTS Live leverages the Velocity platform to deliver live coach-led cycling classes with real-time instruction and coaching. Two-way streaming video and audio enables coaches to educate athletes on the workout being completed, and to provide instant feedback on an athlete’s effort or technique on the bike. It also allows athletes to communicate with each other. And on-screen power and cadence data that’s always visible to the coach creates accountability and opportunities for gamification.

But it’s not the technical features that make me believe in the promise of CTS Live; it’s what we can do with those technical features!

Learn to control your power output

As cyclists and triathletes shifted more of their riding time indoors over the past several years, we’ve seen a rise in the number of athletes who can produce tremendous power on an ergometer but fail to translate that power into real-world, outdoor performance (competitive or non-competitive). Over-reliance on ergometer mode, which adjusts the resistance on a smart trainer or smart bike to maintain a prescribed power output despite changes in gearing and cadence, is partly to blame.

From a compliance standpoint, ergometer mode creates perfect power files for structured workouts. That’s appealing for highly analytic, goal-oriented athletes, but it’s not how cycling works in the real world. When athletes over-use ergometer mode they lose their sensitivity to changes in pace, position in the wind or draft, and surface conditions.

Worst of all, ergometer mode makes athletes lazy. When the trainer sets the power output, you can turn off your brain and just pedal. When you must create the inner motivation to achieve that same power output, you have to stay mentally engaged.

During CTS Live classes, we don’t use ergometer mode. The platform allows for it and we can turn it on for specific segments, but we keep it off most of the time. The point is to use technology in training so you learn how to perform at your best even if you have no access to data during your ride or race.

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Faceless apps don’t teach you anything

Apps like Zwift, Rouvy, MyWoosh, Bkool and Wahoo SYSTM have some wonderful features and graphics, and they offer some interesting opportunities for social connections. But they are almost entirely DIY solutions when it comes to learning how to be a smarter, more effective athlete on the bike. And although there will always be a place for DIY in the endurance training ecosystem, I’d argue there are greater benefits from seeking guidance from experienced and knowledgeable professionals. As a coach and content creator I’m obviously biased, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

So, what can we teach you on CTS Live that you won’t learn on Zwift? Besides the real-time feedback on your performance, either based on your data or our observations of your video feed, we can use our time during class to explain why you’re doing certain intervals, how to use similar effort levels strategically in races and rides, how to eat and drink to support this workout, and more. Outside of the specifics of the workout, we have opportunities to discuss skills, strategies, and techniques for sprinting, climbing, gravel races, criteriums, time trials, and ultra-endurance events.

There’s more to cycling performance than power production, but most virtual cycling apps cannot address or help you develop anything beyond power output. With CTS Live, athletes have direct access to numerous CTS Coaches, including 6-time Masters National Champion Renee Eastman and 5-time French National Cyclocross Champion Caroline Mani.

Camaraderie leads to positive accountability

Participating in group exercise is a proven way to increase long-term adherence and appeal for a training plan. Accountability and social connections are why indoor cycling classes at your local gym are constantly packed and why you still plan your weekend around the local group ride. Time-Crunched Athletes and cyclists who are balancing work and family priorities often feel quite isolated from other athletes, especially if they can’t get to group exercise sessions outside of home.

With multiple class times each week, including morning and evening timeslots, CTS Live is an opportunity for athletes to ride with friends and make new ones. Groups of athletes can even get together to ride scheduled “Replay” classes, which are just like live classes, but with a recording of the coach video. When live workouts are completed, they also become immediately available for on-demand access.

Join me on Wednesdays at 5:00 PM Mountain Time

Although the schedule may change over time as we get feedback from athletes, currently you can join me for Time-Crunched Cyclist-themed cycling classes at 5:00 PM Mountain Time on Wednesdays. Caroline Mani leads classes at 7:00 AM Mountain Time on Tuesdays. And Renee Eastman leads aerobic endurance and FTP-themed classes at 7:00 AM Mountain Time on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Replay classes are scheduled throughout the week, and all classes are available on-demand.

Interested in joining us? Follow this link to try CTS Live for 14 days. If you enjoy the subscription, continue for $49.99/month with no long term commitment.

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Comments 6

  1. Will a CTS Live subscription include Trainright access also? Would also be interested in tech requirements as i use a desktop PC with no camera or mic

    1. Post

      See the response posted below on Wanda’s comment. If you use a PC with no camera or mic, you’ll still be able to participate with a Chrome browser, connect to CTS Live via bluetooth, and the coaches will be able to see your training data.

      Currently, CTS Live is a standalone subscription that starts with a two-week free trial.

      – Jim Rutberg

  2. What kind of workouts are on Wednesdays at 5:00 PM mountain time? I do polarized training, so I’m specifically looking for interval workouts at threshold or above, including VO2 max. Also, I’m wondering if these class times are the only ones available, or if there are any other afternoon/evening times.

    1. Post

      To access CTS Live, you’ll need a Chrome browser on a PC or Mac. If you have an iPad, you can download the “Velocity Cycling” app from the Apple App Store. There is not an Android app nor apps for iPhone or AppleTV. You will be prompted to connect your smart trainer or power meter and heart rate monitor to CTS Live via Bluetooth connection. You will have the option to give CTS Live access to the camera and microphone on your computer, laptop, or iPad.

      Although many athletes connect their smart trainer to CTS Live, you can also use a standard trainer or rollers and transmit power and cadence data directly from a power meter. There are also athletes who join classes without connecting a power meter, smart trainer, or heart rate monitor. You can follow the coach’s instructions, benefit from their guidance, and ride and communicate with friends in the classes without connecting your training devices (e.g., riding a Peloton bike at a hotel gym while accessing CTS Live on a laptop). – Jim Rutberg

  3. I think this is a fantastic idea. I am eager to give it try, once I return from backcountry skiing and cycle camp.

    One small point: My mind does not shut off when doing a challenging interval session in erg mode. I must strategize cadence to last as long as possible, ideally through the last interval. Erg mode lets my mind focus on my cadence and other mental elements related to sustaining uncomfortable effort. The power of erg is being able to isolate a few mental elements.

    Of course, on the road, there are many more factors, so ultimately, it is essential to deal with the reality of our complex world, although often I feel like cycling is an escape from our complex world—a much-needed serenity prayer. 🙂

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