DIY Rocker Plate – V2

In January 2019 I had built a rocker plate and documented the build process here: DIY Rocker Plate.

At the time, I had a Tacx Vortex, an on-wheel trainer. I recently upgraded to an Elite Suito and so I needed to cut new holes to help mount the trainer to the rocker plate. Since I would have needed to take it apart to do this, I decided to upgrade the finish and graphics. Nothing within the mechanism has changed.

My first decision I had to make was how to attach the trainer. For the Tacx Vortex, I had used split hangers. These worked well as the Tacx had round legs. The Elite Suito has square legs. The best options I found was to use velcro straps that I found on Amazon. They come in various widths, but I figured the 2″ width would be nice and sturdy. I ended up using 5 of them. I simply cut slots in the board to run the straps through. Here are the slots

The next decision was on the color and graphics. I decided to put the ELITE logo on the rocker plate so painting id red made the most sense. It matches the Elite logo colors and my bike is also black/red so it matches that too.

For the logos, I used a Cricut to cut permanent stickers. I also added my blog logo and an inspirational quote I came across from Greg LeMond.

I topped off the board with a thin layer of epoxy. This served mutliple purposes:

  • It protected the stickers so they don’t peel or get destroyed from being stepped on
  • It added a layer of protected to the rocker plate from sweat
  • It gave it a great glass-like finish

The bottom of the rocker plate got painted white with some of it’s own graphics that would just peek through on the edges when assembled

The bottom of the rocker plate got painted white with some of it’s own graphics that would just peek through on the edges when assembled

Here is the final result all assembled:

The last enhancement I wanted to make was to make my rocker plate smart. I want to add LED lighting whose color is changed based on my current power output. For this, I added a Raspberry Pi and LED lighting. This part of the project isn’t fully completed, but here is the control box and an example video of how the LED lights will eventually change:

Ironman Training – Week 22 – September 23 – September 29 2019

These days it seems rare that I end up completing a week with all workouts in the green in TrainingPeaks. This weeks was not one of those weeks, but it came close. I only missed a single 30-min swim!

The highlight of the week though was my half-Ironman training session. The training plan called for me to do a Half-IM race, but since I didn’t have a race planned, I did the distances as a single training session. I had come close about a month ago, but back then, I only did a 10K run for the run segment. On Sunday I did the full distance.

I started my day by getting up at 3:30am and actually starting the swim at 4am. I wanted to get an early start to minimize the amount of time I would have to be running in the hot Texas weather. The swim went well with me averaging 2:12/100 yd. This is a pretty good pace for me for a continuous swim. For my nutrition, I ate one gel 15-mins before the swim and one once I was out of the water. My T2 involved the drive back home, but even then, it ended up being just a few seconds longer than 15 mins.

My bike split was the best part of the day. I was riding on a new frame (more on that later), but I don’t know if it was a different aero position, or better wind conditions, but I ended up riding the 56 miles in 3:01. For my ride I decided to try a different hydration strategy. I decided to try SOS Hydration which Alana has been telling me about for a while. This is one of several products that follow the WHO Oral Rehydration Therapy standard. I don’t know if this helped or if I’m just getting fitter, but I didn’t have any cramps at all during my long day. I did continue to take my salt licks every 5 miles.

I plan to continue using the SOS hydration for my upcoming long bike rides to see if it really is helping with cramping.

Unlike Gatorade Endurance, the SOS Hydration has minimal calories so the expectation is that you get your nutrition from other sources. For my training session, I went with Oreos on the bike and gels on the run.

After a 5-min T2, I started my run. This was somewhat discouraging as I was reduced to a lot of walking by the second half. Or it would probably be more accurate to say I as reduced to walking with VERY FEW and SHORT running segments. I would be surprised if my total running time for each of the latter miles was more than 2 mins in total. By the end, I was taking 16 mins to cover a mile. I did manage to complete the 13.1 miles in 3:05.

My total time for the half-Ironman training session was 7:14 including the transitions. If I double that, it would still give me an extra 2.5 hours for a full IM to slow down and make the 17-hour cutoff. I know I will slow down a lot of the full IM run so the key for me would be not slow down too much on the bike and preserve as much buffer as possible for the run.

I mentioned above that I had a new bike frame. Everyone loves getting new gear and I’m no different. One of the attractions of the new frame is that it is a true TT/triathlon frame and so it has more flexibility in seat positioning and it would allow me to get the front even lower. I rode it on Sunday with the front lower than my other bike and I may still drop it even more over the coming days and weeks.

I have some longer training weeks coming up with a few 15-hours weeks on the schedule, but this past Sunday is the longest and hardest day I would have before my IM.

DIY Rocker Plate

February 14, 2020 Update: I have since updated the finish of my rocker plate.  It can be seen here: DIY Rocket Plate – V2

With the winter weather over the last couple months, I have been forced to ride indoors on my trainer, but the problem is that the most I can bear to ride is probably about an hour before my butt and seat becomes very uncomfortable.  This is not an issue outdoors where I can ride for 2-3 hours without any issue.

In researching the problem, many people seem to think that the stationary locked-in bike position is to blame.  On the road, you naturally move around and move side-to-side, but this can’t be done indoors. In doing some more research, I found one popular soltion is to build and use a rocker plate.  One popular video details how to make a Rockit Launcher.  There is a also a Facebook group called Rocker Plates that I joined and it also had lots of information on builds others had done.

After reading about various build in the Facebook group, I decided to build my own.  I had two choices.  I could go for a rear only or a full length rocker plate.  I opted to build a full length one.

For the pivot point, there were two popular options:

  • Vibration isolation mounts
  • Axle and pillow bearings

I opted to go with the isolation mounts.  They seemed to be quite popular, they would be cheaper than buying an axle and bearings, and they just looked easier to install.

For the cushioning on either side, the popular choices were:

  • Wheelbarrow 10″ tubes
  • 5″ playground rubber balls

I originally bought a couple of the wheelbarrow tubes, but after more digging, I got the playground balls based on advice in the group

I’ll list the actual parts I used, including links where available, and then document the build process.  My rocker plates was built for my Tacx Vortex trainer.  I built it large enough so that it should work if I get a different trainer later, but the part that is unique to my trainer is how I attach it to the rocker plate.  If you have a different model trainer, you will need to figure out the best way to secure it.

Here is the finished rocker plate:

Parts List

The washers, nuts, and bolts can be easily found at your local hardware store.

Build Process

CAD Drawing and Plywood Cutting

The first step was to figure out the dimensions I needed and how to cut it out of the sheet of plywood. I’ve never used any sort of CAD software, but I gave it a shot anyway and I found an iOS app for my iPad that was simple enough to figure out.  I ended up creating the following CAD drawing:

This helped ensure I can get the top and bottom of the rocket plate out of a single sheet of plywood and also that my trainer would fit.

With the measurements, I marked off the outline on a sheet of plywood and then placed my bike and trainer on it before cutting just to double check it was all good.

To cut the plates, they were rough cut first and then the two pieces were clamped together and the final shape cut through both boards at the same time to ensure they matched.

After the plates were cut, and while still clamped, the 5 holes for the isolation mounts were drilled so again they matched on both sides.  The holes were drilled 13″ apart.

The boards were then unclamped and the two 2″ holes for the balls were drilled.


I wanted my rocker plate to look nice, but I also wanted to put my blog logo on it. To do this, I first had to make a print out of the logo in the size that I wanted it.  I then painted the area where the logo would go in fluorescent green.  This took a few coats to get it the way I wanted.

The next step was to cover the green paint with painters masking tape

The printout of the logo was then stuck to the masking tape with spray adhesive.

At this point, I depended on my wife who has much finer motor skills (and patience) than me. She used an exacto knife to carefully cut out the design and remove all the excess painters tape.  Once done, only the logo was covered


The next step was to paint the rocker plate.  For the bottom plate, I just used flat black paint.

For the edge, I painted that in the same fluorescent green paint as the logo.  After a couple coats and once dry, I masked that off also.

Then I sprayed the entire top using Rust-Oleum Gloss Black Lacquer spray paint.  I ended up using two cans to get a couple coats.  Once that was done, I noticed it didn’t have the high-gloss I was looking for throughout the entire board.  Some parts were glossy, but others were flat.

So, I removed the logo and edge masking and coated the entire top in a layer of the Triple Thick Glaze.  Once dry, that gave me the finish I was looking for


The top and bottom plates were attached with the isolation mounts between them.  Fender washers were used for the bolts.

The 12 rubber feet were attached.  Ten were along the edges and I placed a couple in the middle.

The balls were placed between the plates and inflated.  I still have experiment with the amount of pressure I want

The split ring hangers were then installed.  It took some experimenting with washers and nuts to get the right height for my trainer

The spirit levels were screwed in and the trainer clamped in space with some rubber inside of the split ring hangers.

The next step is to experiment wit h the air pressure in the balls.  I’ll be using if for my next rid eon Monday

Tri Bars

When I bought my bike, it came with regular road bike handles.  The bike was actually available in two versions, a road bike, and a tri bike.  The frame was the same.  Here is a stock photo of the tri version:

After riding the road bike with aero bars attached, I started to not like how it looked.  I wanted that sleek tri-bike look.  Also, I thought it would be nice to have the shifters on the bar end.  So, I ended up buying the various parts I needed – bullhorn, brake levers, and bar-end shifters and this week, I had a bike mechanic install them.  He had to run new cables, but in the end, I think the bike looks great.

I rode 17 miles with them this morning and I love the shifters! With the original STI (integrated) shifters, I’m never quite sure if I wnt up (or down) one or two gears, but with the bar-end shifters, it is all indexed so a single click is a single gear change

All I’m missing are a set of deep section carbon wheels.