Riding into the Future: Ted King's Perspective on Evolution in Training

Ted King Riding a Saris H3 Plus trainer + MP1 Nfinity Platform

Fond memories often pair to things of the past. One’s first car. A Trapper Keeper binder from elementary school. A backyard treehouse. At any age, on any given day we’re surrounded by thousands upon thousands of individual objects, so it takes repetitively in daily life for an item to stand out as memorable once a decade or three has passed. To that end, one thing that comes to mind is my first trainer – and its standout feature of a set of pliers attached to it.


I called New England home at the turn of this century, just as I do now, albeit with extended time living in foreign lands during that period. Weather is highly unpredictable in the northeast, therefore being a cyclist here makes it nearly mandatory to own a trainer. So, new to the sport at that time it soon became apparent that this was an important item to acquire in this hardware intensive sport. Ninety-nine dollars at that time bought me my first stationary trainer, which coincidentally, having just played with a variety of inflation calculators, tracks perfectly to the same price as an entry level trainer in 2024 dollars.


I immediately was taken by racing, so the trainer was something used before criteriums and time trials, just as it went back and forth with me to college and home for any and all holiday breaks. In and out of cars and up and down stairs, it’s therefore just a little bit ironic that this stationary trainer was always on the go. So, it wasn’t very long into its life when it smacked against a wall while in transit and the tightening mechanism snapped. Using a little creative tinkering, a pair of locking pliers remained a stand-in for the now broken tightening lock during the remaining eighteen years of its life.


That trainer saw many chapters of my cycling career, from early racing in the collegiate ranks and then onto my first domestic pro team. It was the way I logged long hours when I’d return home during the snowy Christmas break before going back to Europe in early January. It was a silent bystander for my first win and it was instrumental in my first indoor century. I think it’s safe to say that more than any other item on the planet, it’s been witness to my sweating more than anything else to have ever existed. I have very fond memories of that trainer, which by time it retired, was a true relic.


After largely remaining the same for decades, trainers have undergone significant changes more recently. Graduating to a smart trainer was perhaps the single biggest thing I did to increase the enjoyment for indoor riding. Now we could go into semantics and argue that my comfort while riding has become exponentially greater with the MP1, and that a more comfortable ride makes for a more enjoyable ride. True, but I’ll still stick with the modern convenience of a smart trainer take the cake in this argument.


 Ted King riding H3 Plus indoor trainer on MP1 Nfinity Platform and TD1 desk



Just as trainers have changed during my tenure in the sport, so has my cycling career undergone significant modification. Once a purebred road racer, I planned to retire from racing in 2016, however gravel had different plans for me. Initially soaking in the success found from milking my residual fitness from a professional road career then into the gravel ranks, over these past eight years gravel has revitalized cycling in North America, and in doing so I’ve witnessed its popularity skyrocket just as I’ve witnessed the pointy end of the race get that much more competitive. Instead of fighting it out for the win, I am finding myself more often duking it out for top tens. On one hand, that’s totally fine. On the other hand, I am still a bike racer at heart and with the power of persuasion coming from my dear wife, this has lit a conflagration of motivation underneath me!


While I’ve certainly ridden my bike a lot over the past several years, I haven’t done so with the same purpose as that of the bike racer I once did in a previous chapter of life. As for specifics to that end, I don’t do intervals, I don’t look after my diet, and I enjoy many an IPA. Certainly, a lot has changed from my road racing career up through the present in my personal life. Of note, I’ve become a husband, father, and business owner, so it’s reasonable to spend my time elsewhere, besides in one’s pain cave and sweating profusely for long hours of the day. However, my 2024 goal, which functions as both a work goal as it does a personal goal, is to chase gravel racing with the same fervor as I did road racing a decade ago.


I’m doing this for a variety of reasons, but one of the leading ones is that I recognized it’s a very privileged position to be in to even have this choice in the first place, so to be presented this option and not to do it is doing a disservice to the position I’m in.


If a trainer is anything, it’s repetition. Beginning in November last year, I started logging those long hours needed to be competitive. It’s through these multi-hour trainer rides, time after time, hour after hour, that I’m gaining a tremendous fondness for my newest trainer, a spiffy Saris H3 Plus.


ted king riding H3 Plus direct drive indoor trainer and MP1 Nfinity Movement Platform