I just finished up my second time through the RIDES – Southern California video by Endurance Films. This DVD had been on my wish list for some time – only because it was something different than my existing library. Thanks to my in-laws this year, I received the DVD and hit the trainer!
The packaging says that this is a 70 minute workout. In reality, the main ride is about 54 minutes (and the virtual ride is actually over in 52 – with the last two minutes being a cool down). There is a bonus hill climb – which I haven’t yet done – and that adds 10 more minutes. So, I guess it’s close to 70 minutes (maybe they are figuring in the time for the other sections where they introduce riders, etc.).
Those 54 minutes are a great workout, though. The ride takes you on a route through Orange County, California. Most of it is climbing, and there’s a very nice mix of seated riding and standing to keep the ride interesting the entire time.
I really like the fact that you get to see both the total time to go (in the top left corner of the screen) and the time of your current section (in the bottom left). Knowing both of these at all times, you have a sense of how long any suffering will last.
The video editing is pretty good, and you get multiple views of the ride as it progresses. I’m not overly wild of the shots from the front looking back at the group of riders. It makes me feel like I’m going backwards up the hill (I’ll admit, though, that I found myself egging on the other riders – telling them that this climb was so easy that I could do it backwards….).
Throughout the ride, various facts about the Southern California/Orange County area and miscellaneous inspirational quotes are shown at the top of the screen. I guess it’s a nice feature, but it’s not really necessary. Perhaps, if I get the chance to spring for a cycling trip to California, the facts would come in handy for discussion with the locals.
The “technical” information at the bottom left of the screen doesn’t do a lot for me. I always forget what CP stands for when I’m riding. I look it up and see that it stands for Critical Power. To a regular rider, that really means nothing to me. In addition, I haven’t worn my heart rate monitor (mostly because target heart rates haven’t been critical to me). As a result, I also don’t use the HR scale. I do peek at the RPM to see how I’m doing. It’s easy to do, because my one cycling computer has a quick check on my current RPM.
The coaching/narration was just ok. It was all pretty monotone. The Coach, Doug Katona, gives you options as you continue on – but those options many times seem to give you permission to slack off (if you take that permission). There is an option to turn off the coaching in the menu of the DVD. I’ll still leave it on, though, as he does provide some interesting facts about parts of the ride.
The gear selection is not really evident. Maybe that’s on purpose so you can ride at your own level, but I’d rather someone tell me what gear selection to use. Instead, you’re given two metrics to follow:
- Difficulty on a scale that fluctuates between 6 and 9.
- Description: seated flat, seated climb, standing climb
So, I had to make up my own gear ratio for the ride. This is the breakdown of how I rode it:
- Difficulty 6/Seated flats: Large ring front, 19 back
- Difficulty 7/Seated flats: Large ring front, 15 back
- Difficulty 8, Seated climb: Large ring front, 14 back
- Difficulty 8, Standing climb: Large ring front, 12 back (two hardest gears)
- Difficulty 9, Seated/Standing climb: Large ring front, 12 back
Overall, it’s a good ride and a great workout. It lacks the personal feel of the virtual rides done by Troy Jacobson in his Spinervals Virtual Rides (see my first review on his Virtual Ride 1.0). Unlike the Spinervals Virtual Rides where Troy makes you truly feel like you’re riding with him as he converses with you, this series makes you feel like you’re that rider that happened to show up uninvited to the ride. This is never more true than at the end of the climb. Everyone is congratulating each other for a great ride – but no one acknowledges you for your effort. That may seem a little cheesy, but it’s one of the reasons I prefer the Spinervals series more.
I’ll definitely look for other titles in the RIDES series. When it comes down to it, the workout (without boredom) is what is important to me. Included below is the preview of the ride from Endurance Films’ YouTube channel. After that, I included a link to find RIDES at Amazon.com for your convenience.