Have you looked outside lately? The country appears to be mainly underwater although there is a jolly jest doing the rounds that the hosepipe ban is still in force. Although exactly what purpose artificial rain could perform is somewhat beyond me since everything outside is sodden and gloopy. And if you happen to be lucky enough to have a roof like ours, quite a lot of inside as well.
So all new for 2007, indoor riding is where itâ€™s at. What other riding experience delivers a warm, dry and windless environment? Well summer of course but thatâ€™s almost years away and how would you feel careering downhill at 25mph+ while watching a DVD or reading a book? Broken and stupid, thatâ€™s how youâ€™d feel.
Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™ve borrowed a friendâ€™s turbo trainer and by cunningly sequencing MTB DVDâ€™s on the PC, a new riding style has been born. One could reasonably argue that spending an hour riding while traveling precisely nowhere is rather pointless but then I say again- â€œhave you looked outside?”
Itâ€™s all a bit more structured than passing a couple of grunting and wheezing hours before the pubs open. Dusting off the heart rate monitor and actually researching how one is actually meant to utilise such a heathen device was an eye opening experience. My previous regime of just riding as hard as possible until either you bested your opponent or youâ€™ve died trying was conspicuously missing from the fitness book of words. Except for the bit that says â€œif you do this, you will get sick although we barely need to mention this as nobody is that stupid“.
Thereâ€™s a plethora of conflicting information awaiting the unwary internet browser much of it Iâ€™ll file under the heading â€œobsessed body Naziâ€™sï¿½?. However, itâ€™s become clear that pedalling like a cocaine fuelled hamster until your heart attempts to rip itself out of your chest and black spots descend before your eyes may not be the elixir to long life and happiness.
So shuffle for rock music, stuff in the earphones and hit play on the DVD player before gentle pedalling prepares your heart for some three figure action. As your ramp up the revolutions, sweat rapidly exits every pore and rapidly creates an inland lake where the floor used to be. An hour is all you need and thatâ€™s sixty dull minutes youâ€™ll never get back but itâ€™s obviously been of use since you stagger off the bike having lost the use of your legs. The following hour or so could easily fill a wild west film sequence where the director is keen to show how an aged cowboy may walk after a few days in the saddle.
But letâ€™s be clear, itâ€™s not training. The great thing about the bike being clamped into the turbo means I canâ€™t go and ride it on the road. And although my personal targets involve reclaiming â€“ by bloody minded force if necessary â€“ my 38 year old lung capacity and possibly shedding a little of the mid life, mid body excess, this does in no way constitute some kind of structured plan. Because sad old roadies do that and Iâ€™m only two of those things.
And the final benefit? You get to where all that old cross country Lycra without anyone outside chortling as your gut crests the waistband. I know itâ€™s wrong but it feels so right 🙂