Thursday, October 8, 2009

A new DVD for when it's time to head indoors

The days are becoming shorter and colder. Soon, it will be time to spend a good number of hours training indoors in the gym or the gloom of a basement corner. If the end of the season isn't depressing enough, being relegated to an hour spinning and going nowhere can seal the deal.

For now, the Hawks are concentrating on keeping Eric and Tiffany in top shape to race at nationals next week. When they return, however, our focus will turn to preparing for the 27-mile Iceman Cometh in Michigan. With the Iceman a month away, you can bet that the Hawks will be spending some time riding the trainers that Saris Cycling Group was so kind to donate to us last year.

Now, riding inside on a trainer doesn't have to be torture. There are lots of ways to make it fun and interesting. Selecting different movies and music and playing different games can make the time fly by. And of course there are any number of DVDs designed specifically for training indoors. I've found one series that recently came across my desk to be particularly interesting and enjoyable.

Global Ride LLC has produced a couple of virtual cycling DVDs that follow cyclists through scenic and challenging landscapes. Rather than watch a group of sweaty individuals riding trainers while you're riding a trainer (kind of hard to pretend you're doing something enjoyable when you're constantly reminded that you're not by the group in the DVD ... watching yourself in a mirror may be more effective), the Global Ride concept (and it's not a new one) helps you imagine your riding along the coast of a Hawaiian island or through the Dolomites of Italy by providing a first-person perspective.

I recently spent a raining morning with StrenDurance in Hawaii, one of three DVDs in the Hawaii box set. The DVD has U.S. coach and triathlon hall of famer Sally Edwards providing instructions and inspiration while we follow a cyclist on a four-mile climb on the island of Oahu and along the shore on Maui followed by more climbing up the Maui cliffs.

The scenery is magnificent and the accompanying music selections work well. I did, however, find the instructional audio a bit hard to hear and understand (If you're riding solo, you may want to use headphones.). I also found myself wishing the DVD included a visual dashboard to highlight the target exertion levels, cadence, heartrate and gearing, especially given the difficulty I experienced in understanding the coach's instruction.

Global Ride founder Gene Nacey, a certified spinning instructor and heart zones cycling coach, says they've improved the audio quality for the forthcoming Italy series. He also said the whole point of the Global Ride DVDs is to help the rider get lost in the scene before them on the screen, therefore they decided not to include any visual cues on screen.

In additon to the training offered on the bike, each DVD comes with a 30-minute off-the-bike exercise session to strengthen your core and improve flexibility. The Maui Rollers DVD includes a yoga; the StrenDurance DVD includes strength-training; and the Oceanside Ride DVD includes Pilates. Each is a perfect cool down to compliment your training ride while also working as an effective workout on its own when time is short.

If you're going to be spending some time locked away going nowhere, give the Global Ride DVDs a try. You can at least pretend you're exploring new, beautiful locations. But be prepared to make a financial investment. The Hawaii boxed set sells for $75 while the individual discs run $30 each. This is comparable to most other DVDs on the market, plus you get the added 30-minute off-the-bike training.

Visit the Global Rides Web site for more info.

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