A cycling friend recently observed [after hearing I put in 1300 miles of indoor riding ] that the vast amount of trainers collect a lot of dust. Boredom is widely cited as the major culprit that sabotages the best intentions: and then we soothe our guilt by camouflaging our trainers by hanging stuff on them. If boredom were a categorized climb it would be rated HC. [unless you live in San Diego and ride year-round] If you’ve read my last post, you know I’m a fan of indoor training because I like the results. But…that said…I’ve had to find ways to keep things interesting. After three years of indoor off-season riding it finally dawned on me that my best strategies include something for my brain to do. RIDE ON ROLLERS. If you don’t pay attention, rollers give you quick and definitive feedback: You will fall off and get rug burn. It’s a good idea to set them up parallel to a wall with a fall zone that doesn’t include anything like bike tools that could impale you, or coffee tables with sharp edges. I know of some folks who lay down a mattress, and others who set up in a doorway. Anyone who sees you riding on rollers is immediately impressed because it looks like a stunt from the circus. I like rollers made by Inside Ride because they’re harder to fall off of. THE PHIL AND PAUL SHOW. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin are without doubt the most entertaining cycling commentators in the biz. Watching reruns of Le Tour or Paris-Roubaix help in passing the time. My all time favorite Phil Liggett quote regarding a rider breaking away from the bunch: He’s looking around as if to say, is anyone coming along? I know someone who keeps it interesting by trying to match cadence with the riders…climb out of the saddle when they do…attack….bridge. The possibilities are endless. VIRTUAL RIDES. If you have a DVD player or a laptop you can add structure to your workout by using videos from The Sufferfest and Cycling Videos Online. The Sufferfest is located in the mythical land of Sufferlandria which is at war with the subversives in Couchlandria who mostly drink beer and eat chips from a reclining position. The videos tell you to when to increase or decrease intensity and cadence while using footage from professional cycling races. They also have an immensely entertaining yearly 8 day Tour of Sufferlandria virtual stage race done in partnership with TrainerRoad. Medieval torture references to floggings notwithstanding [does anyone take this seriously?], Sufferfest delivers memorably intense workouts. Cycling Videos Online rides in beautiful places utilizing video shot from the bike while actually riding in those very locations. An on-screen control panel gives you gearing and cadence to match with the ride. This season I’ve climbed Mt Evans and Rabbit Ear’s Pass, and ridden in Canyon Lands, courtesy of CVO. The workouts are realistic, and the commentary [which you can also mute] pretty interesting. Having actually ridden both sides of Rabbit Ears Pass, I found the virtual climb to be pretty challenging. Combined with my memories of that epic day, I was sipping an endorphin cocktail while happily grinding along on the CycleOps. Paul Gallas is serious about customer service, and always seems to have time to be friendly and talk bike. ALTERNATING SPOUSAL ENCOURAGEMENT WITH TRASH TALKING. When my wife flirts with me while handing me a fresh bottle of ice-cold sports drink, my heart rate goes up and the time flies by. Conversely, when she walks by, looks at my power meter and says, Couldn’t you hold that 400 watts for another five minutes? I am transported to a new level of motivation. You can’t have one without the other. Fetching glances AND scathing commentary are pure alchemy for body and soul when combined. SETTING UP IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION. I’m not especially fond of watching non-cycling content on the telly while training. Except for maybe Mythbusters [because they blow up a lot of stuff], watching TV cultivates a mindset of distraction from exercise. Not thinking about what we’re doing virtually guarantees a mediocre, unfocused workout. Plus, all the commercials are like the ad banners on Cycling News that tempt us to click on Competitive Cyclist and spend so much time on the dream bike configurator, that our family gives us up for dead…except you’ll spend your hard earned cash on non-bike stuff because they sell crap on TV. Of course, the whole reason for indoor training is fading quickly as the temps in Northern Minnesota begin to moderate to the high 30’s and low 40’s. Wrapped in insulated tights over knee warmers, and with 4 layers on top, outdoor riding is nearly enjoyable when the sun is out. What’s more, it’s down right inspiring to carry a higher level of fitness onto the road. We’ve all spent some winters in Couchlandria, and I suspect that being 10 or 12 pounds lighter, and recovering some of our lost FTP makes slaying the boredom monster worth it. Finally, it’s quite simply about love for the bike.