I bought a bicycling trainer in during the 2000-2001 winter when I was living in a studio apartment and pretty excited about a strong 2001 season. It saw just about enough use to justify the $100 purchase. Over the next 5 years, it saw progressively less use and in fact I would get on it about 1-2 times per month. This past summer, I began participating (I hesitate to use the word competing) in triathlon and am poised to build a solid base in the off season. In Colorado this means sessions on the trainer. Last winter, I probably got about 10 sessions total in.
As we now have a finished basement, setting up the trainer will be a pretty comfortable experience. With a television and cable box, I could reasonably expect to train 2X per week on days when it is unpleasant to ride outside. I do have the cold weather gear to ride comfortable into the high 30s with no wind and may try to balance indoor and outdoor riding.
When I think about indoor training, I think back to Rocky IV when Rocky is training in the snow while Drago is training in a state of the art indoor facility. While boxing is an indoor sport and not subject to the elements, I believe that outdoor training in adverse conditions is essential to an athlete’s mental conditioning. Having those frigid miles under your belt provides a mental edge when the season is on. It goes something like “I did not have snot running down my nose for 20 miles and sport a wind burnt face for two days to get passed by this donkey.”
If you’re not practicing, just remember – Someone somewhere is practicing and when you two meet, given roughly equal ability, he will win.