It is no secret that I like to ride my bikes. I ride everyday commuting to work, out with friends, on tour, for a challenge you name it I ride it, with one exception…I don’t ride indoors!
That was true at least until this winter, but with the gift of a turbo trainer all that has changed.
Britain, especially the south coast has been in the grip of a storm for months now and there is still no sign of it letting up.
Now I am no fair weather rider, but with a huge amount of flooding locally, gale force winds, heavy rain, lack of sunlight and the all too frequent puncher getting out for a midweek ride is not as appealing as it once was. So to stop me from going mad through lack of exercise Alex got me a Turbo Trainer.
After setting it up I just needed something to watch while I cycled on the spot in my kitchen, already not the same as my usual views of the rolling South Downs. As luck would have it I stumbled across what seems to be the best stationary training video site around The Sufferfest.
After downloading my first video ‘A Very Dark Place’ I was hooked! The videos are different lengths and focus on a range of training goals, but all are set out in the same way. They are made up of some general on bike footage and lots of official UCI pro race footage. This is all cut to make it seem like you are racing the guys on screen and interspersed with clear information as to what you should be doing and the level you should be working at, via the Suffer Scale.
The trick with this is that they are actually quite funny in parts and the humor helps to keep it all a bit lighter.
It is also great to be able to just push yourself to the limit and not worry about cars, road surface or flooding for once.
I quickly became quite obsessed with these videos and after downloading a few more entered the Tour of Sufferlandria
The Tour of Sufferlandria
is a crazy 9 days where people all over the world ride the same videos on set days. In itself this is a bit mad and has resulted in my house mate thinking I have an ‘obsession’ lol. It is great how the online community supports and eggs each other on. I particularly enjoyed the photos of people weighing their towels after the 2 hr stage 7 to show just how much they had sweated out.
I myself have never sweated so much on a bike and it being winter our heating was on full blast, just to really test me. After finishing the tour I was noticeably leaner and after taking a few days off I could feel the improvement in my road riding!
I will continue to use the turbo and the Sufferfest videos as a training tool to complement my road riding. The trick is not to see it as a replacement to road riding, rather just a way off building and maintaining fitness.