Monday, January 12, 2009

Riding Hawaii - Sort of...

As mentioned in my previous and only post to date, I've been mostly relegated to riding the trainer since the end of daylight savings time. Not wanting to get too terribly out of shape and lose my cardio gains from the summer, I researched trainers and rollers for some indoor riding. I've done spinning classes in the past and just didn't find them particularly engaging. Still, it is certainly a good way in which to maintain conditioning.

After several weeks of comparing trainers vs. rollers, fluid drives vs. mag drives, etc. I finally settled on a Minoura VFS150-3-R Fluid and Mag Hybrid Bicycle Trainer with Remote and Fork Mount. I ordered from Amazon and the trainer arrived quickly and in good shape. It was relatively easy to put together using common sense, which was a good thing because the manual is one of the worst I've ever tried to use. The trainer itself has proven to be a very good and stable piece of equipment. I've learned, as I'm sure many of you already knew, riding a trainer IS BORING! I tried spinning to various TV programs and found that riding to sporting events was somewhat better than say, "How I Met My Mother."

By now, you're probably saying what does this have to do with Hawaii? No, I did not get fed up and fly to the island for a quick tour. Rather, while surfing Facebook on Christmas Eve, I found a web site called Cycling Fusion sponsored by Global Ride Video Productions. They were advertising a new DVD product of training videos shot in Hawaii. In a moment of great clarity or at least lack of self-control, I ordered the boxed set of 3 rides and eagerly awaited delivery.

I did not realize from the website materials that the product wasn't shipping yet so the wait ended up being longer than I anticipated. Not to fear though because the product arrived Friday last. Our weather took a nasty turn toward the cold, rainy side on Saturday and continued into Sunday. This seemed to offer the ideal setting for trying the new DVD out. I couldn't (or didn't) get out in the nasty weather but did set up in front of my screen and proceeded to do the workout.

Before I go further about the DVD, a little about my setup might be in order to give you, the reader, a better appreciation of what I was looking at while "riding." I have a High Definition projector showing the image on a 64" diagonal screen with the sound running through my somewhat older yet very capable stereo system. So, when I say I'm almost immersed in the scenery, I'm not exaggering too badly.

So, how did it work out? I'm glad you asked! It was a very good experience. When I finished the first DVD, I had ridden some rollers, climbed a mountain, and ridden "in the rain." The scenery was quite nice as was the accompanying music. I had chosen the American coach and found that to be very helpful in managing my heart rate and cadence. You can select from among different coaches when you start the DVD. I understand that each coach has a little different type of workout on the same circuit or video. The experience of riding in front of the big screen was at times actually disorienting because I was trying to lean and avoid oncoming vehicles! The coaching was timely and not intrusive at all. It really did help keep the focus on the workout. At the end of this particular DVD, there is an extra segment of Yoga. I've never practiced Yoga so this was also interesting although it will clearly take some practice to do the various moves. The instructor was able to move through saying "hello to the sun, becoming a plank, moving into a modified dolphin while I was trying to master the always entertaining "Dead Dog on it's back" pose. The video quality was slightly grainy, which could be a combination of using the projector to show a larger image when combined with my being used to high definition output. If the company can shoot future "rides" in HD, it would add considerably to the experience.

Was the overall experience of "riding" better than being outside. Of course not but, on a cold day highlighted by drizzling rain, it was a darned fine substitute. I honestly got a very good workout. Two additional benefits occurred. 1) My wife, who is not a cyclist, walked on our treadmill at the same time and adjusted her speed based upon the coach calling for more resistance for the bikes. We were able to enjoy a good workout together. 2) I didn't have to dodge a single flying beer bottle thrown by the local populace of highly sensitive drivers!

To check out the DVD product and the Cycling Fusion website, click here!

Until later...



Anonymous said...

But what about flying beer bottles from wife?

Unknown said...

Thus far, I'm pleased to report that there have been no such incidents! I look forward to additional years of "non-spousal originated flying beer bottles"!