2.29.2012

Games Indoor Cyclists Play

Indoor cycling is much more enjoyable in the company of friends, and even more so in an inspiring space like the one so generously provided by Maglianero.  But what about all of those other nights of the week, when we retreat to our individual basements and hallways to put down some mileage?
Back in the day (last year) in the lonely basement.

Well, there are of course, the Sufferfest Videos we are all so fond of. But some rides need to be recovery rides.  For that, I prefer Netflix and a movie that doesn't take too much concentration. And because I ride rollers, I generally prefer a movie without too many crazy car chases.
This was a particularly bad idea.

In psychiatry the hour is the standard unit of therapy, and in indoor bike training, it tends to be a good amount of time as well- long enough to leave a big old pool of sweat* under the bike but short enough to avoid saddle sores or death from abject boredom. I wish Netflix had a "sort by runtime" option that would let me find stuff that is actually an hour long, but usually I pick things that are over an hour.

Secret confession, though: I like Futurama. In fact, if nothing else, the eight bucks a month we pay for Netflix represents ongoing access to all six seasons and the movies, and I wear those out training in the winter. The trouble is, the 22-minute episodes don't fit well with an hour of riding. I used to watch about 2.5 episodes, but I didn't like stopping in the middle of an episode. So I started sandwiching 16 minutes of the Netflix "red screen" in between two episodes:

This gets old after about 30 seconds.


Cycling is full of the mythos of the "hardman." The racer who goes out and trains when the weather is worst, who does the extra hill repeat, who can take the bit in between his teeth and just drive. Not for glory, not for the team, but because sometimes a little suffering is necessary.. I think about that mythical hardman, and halfway through my hour, I spend 16 minutes staring into that red menu screen, headphones off, nothing but the sound of the drivetrain and wheels on aluminum**. No distractions. The seconds trickle by on the computer. Before you know it, it's the year 3000 all over again and then the ride is done.

So, what do you do when you are whiling away the time going nowhere fast? Dream of summer days and tailwinds? Click through the displays on your computer***?


*In fact, if I said "Just ride until the pools of sweat that center under the tips of your drops merge with the pool of sweat under your bottom bracket," that would be right about an hour, most nights.

**Now, I'm not saying that watching the red screen instead of a TV show for 16 minutes in the middle of an indoor workout makes me a hardman. Far from it. My point is that when the training gets monotonous, it helps to add a little variety, and sometimes that variety might come in the form of a mental challenge.

*** Cadence, Odometer, Trip Odometer, Clock Time, Ride time. Over and Over again.