During the colder months of the year – when I’m too wimpy to get outside – I hibernate in my basement with my road bike on my trainer. Over the course of the past few years, I’ve accumulated a number of videos to use. After all, spinning on a trainer can get pretty boring – so I need to have variety.
One video I’ve had for some time now is the first installment of Spinervals’ Virtual Ride Series. This one – known as Virtual Ride 1.0, Autumn Training Ride – takes me on a 16-17 mile route through Maryland. The video takes just about an hour to do. To me, that makes it the perfect length! Other videos in his series can go for 3 hours – nice if you’re training for triathlons, etc., but not real practical in one spinning for the average rider (more on those videos in future posts).
Throughout the video, you follow Coach Troy as if you’re actually on the road with him. With a large enough screen, you will find yourself leaning into the corners as you follow along. Troy has you shift gears on your bike to simulate the same effort he is experiencing in real life. Now, this is actually the opposite of what you’d actually do when on the road (e.g. you’re going to a harder gear to go uphill) – but, in real life, your pedaling would get tougher to go up hills. It’s quite effective, and I find that I’ve generated enough sweat to know I worked. My legs also feel like I’ve completed a ride outside.
Troy’s gear explanation is easy to follow, and it’s always on the screen. You also have the option to turn off the music and listen to your own. I highly recommend that – as the canned music is not nearly as inspiring as listening to my own music.
With the video’s music off, you still get to hear Troy coaching and commenting all along. I’ve repeated the session enough that I quote along with him. His humor can get a little hokey – but it’s not distracting at all (in fact, that’s part of his approachable demeanor). There have been many times when I’m on an actual ride months later where I find myself saying quotes to either myself or my riding buddies (“Remember……if your front wheel hits my rear wheel, you’re the one going down…).
I honestly think he should start a Twitter feed of #favCoachTroyisms. It be a great little game he could play where he asks his followers to name the DVD it came from. It’d be interesting as his entire library is pretty impressive in numbers.
The video itself was not shot in hi-definition. That would have been nice, but it’s a bit unfair of me to say – as I have all of the virtual videos and I’ve seen the progression in quality over time. I think in his latest video, he has one of those nifty Hero cameras (maybe even two) – and the quality is much better.
The quality of the screen doesn’t distract at all from the ride. I do hate when he’s crossing over the bridges and – when in the CoachTroy Cam view (mounted to his helmet) – he looks left a few times. On my screen, it made me dizzy the first few times I watched it. Now, I know to look away when that time comes.
I’ve also noticed a few glitches and/or places where I think he misses telling you to gear up. Another place or two, there is an apparent jump from one location to another. Again, it doesn’t really distract from the ride. In fact, after you do the session enough times, you can gear up when you feel you need to.
Out of all the Virtual Ride DVDs I own (and I own all of them), this is one of my favorites. It’s my go-to DVD when I haven’t been on the bike for some time and/or to start of my cold weather training regimen. I highly recommend it! If DVDs are not your thing, these videos are now becoming available for digital download, too.
If you know of other videos, I’d be interested to hear about them. Just leave the info in the comments.