Winter sucks, we have a love/hate relationship with the trainer, but mostly hate. We all wish we were Pros so we could be prepping for the upcoming season on some island in the tropical Atlantic or even the dry desert of Arizona, and if only our season opener could be in sunbathed South Australia instead of some icy circuit of chip-sealed backroad. Well combing the New Year internet offerings over the past few days I think I have arrived at a combination of resources to make the trainer schlogs a bit more exciting and help keep things focused on the future, i.e. riding without booties and base-layers.
First - about that trainer - forget the rollers, and cyclopian-whatevers - introducing Smart Cycle Extreme! Yip, time to put childhood fun back into your ride, even on the trainer. For those that never heard of the Smart Cycle Extreme, this “stationary bike” (their quotes not mine) is made by Fisher Price, and is designed for children - but don't let that fool you - they mean "children at heart", and isn't that any of us grown adults that spend thousands of dollars on a bicycle and thousands more traveling to places and races? Anyway, according to the adverts "With the Smart Cycle Extreme your [inner] child can stay in shape, learn with the creative games they have available, and possibly become the next Lance Armstrong. Available are different cartridges with different game types and characters, allowing your child to learn different tools in life." What's best is their patented "Physical Learning Arcade System". This is no spinning mindlessly to some hack cycling coach software - this is stuff you can use. Sold separately (of course) are titles like Software Thomas & Friends™ - you can race against a train! Or practice real life traffic training outside the bikelane with Software Hot Wheels™. You can find the Smart Cycle Extreme at any of those big box chain stores, anywhere they don't have a bike rack out front and the parking lot is at least the size of a velodrome.
Now you've got your Smart Cycle Extreme home and unpacked, thrown on the old kit, downed a GU and ready to work on your post holiday power to weight ratio - you need Pro inspiration. They guys at Cyclocosm have come to the rescue - The Jens Factor Inspirational Training Chart:
Just download a larger version of the chart, print it off, and presto! you're ready to ride... on the trainer. As Cyclocosm explains, "Jens Factor, as defined by this chart, is just that—an integer value you can factor into your training data to properly reflect the increased benefits of staring down winter weather. Jens Voigt, a veteran rouleur known to take particular glee in miserable conditions, is its obvious namesake."
And if you burn through the SCE software, over stimulated on all that learning, or had enough of the 13-hour version of TdF 2009, then then maybe listening to the word of the man himself, as he describes dishing out pain on the Col du Tourmalet and the glee at dropping the likes of Valverde and Cunego can be just the inspiration you need to stay put on that trainer and avoid the crappy weather outdoors.
Happy training everyone!