I jumped on my bike last night to review the 6th DVD course of the On The Road Series – this time in Tempe, AZ. You may remember that the Tuscon, AZ DVD was (and remains) my absolute favorite of the entire series so far (with only one more to go). I had some hopes that, since this DVD was also in AZ, it would rank right up there.
A glance at the front and back covers could have given me an indication of what to expect. The dreaded “aerobic endurance building workout” words were on the back. That typically means long, flat and boring. The Difficulty Rating that Coach Troy gives to this DVD is 8.8 – which is a little easier than some of the others in the series.
To be fair, these DVDs are marketed truthfully. By taking the time to read the descriptions, one can determine exactly what type of workout they’ll get. If you are a triathlete or long distance, flat course rider – then this DVD is for you. If you are using the virtual rides as a way to keep riding throughout the year, it’s not bad to have this; however, I don’t think it’s interesting enough to put it at the top of my list for a weekly ride.
Now, if you read the review of Part Three of Virtual Ride 5.0, you’ll know that the long flat ride bored me to tears. I was so happy to come to the end of that DVD. While this DVD was all flat (and mostly straight), it wasn’t as bad as the last DVD. Mind you – I was still happy to get to the end of it – but it wasn’t as bad.
I have a true appreciation for the triathlete that can do courses (and DVDs) like this for longer lengths of time. When Coach Troy suggests that it wouldn’t be a bad idea for those training to re-ride this DVD course one or two more times, I just shuddered!
The entire DVD is under 2 hours. You may know that I typically break down the longer workouts into time slots closer to an hour. I did this on this workout – but I consolidated both sections into this post. Quite honestly, I don’t think I’d have enough to say in two separate posts.
The ride starts off pretty easy. You’re in your Small Ring/15 – just spinning right along. Easy pedal stroke and easy to keep the cadence in that 85-95 RPM. It’s essentially the stereotypical “Sunday drive” kind of ride. Then, after almost a half an hour, you shift into the Big Ring/15 – and that’s where you stay for the majority of the ride. There’s a small section at the halfway point (U-turn) where you shift back into Small Ring/15 – perfect timing to split up the course if you’re doing it in two days instead of one. The next time you’ll see that Small Ring/15 is within the last 3 minutes of the ride.
The Big Ring/15 riding for 75% of the time makes for a workout. I can honestly admit that I can’t keep the cadence between 85-95 RPM in that gear ratio. I’m typically 10 RPM slower in the harder gears. By the end of the day’s ride, I just might slip to 15 RPM slower (Oh, OK, I DO slip to that…..). Overall, it truly is an aerobic endurance ride.
And Coach Troy reminds you that it is also a mental endurance exercise. A number of times he’ll remind you that it’s not the most exciting race course (flat and straight). It’s easy for your mind to wander. I listened to my own music on my iphone instead of listening to the DVD music (if you didn’t know, you typically have the option to turn off the background music – though Troy mentions that’s not an option if you are using a downloaded workout instead of the physical DVD).
The workout earns its “virtual” rating because of a few things:
- You get to stop at traffic lights early and late in the ride (as a side note, near the end of the ride, I’m pretty sure Coach Troy blows through a red light – as the CarCam suddenly focuses on a side view of an on-ramp instead of focusing on the rear view of Coach Troy – but who am I to judge?).
- I think there’s a point in the first half of the ride where a driver of a car must be impatient with Coach Troy. I’m not positive, but I think Troy engages in some verbal jarring with an unseen driver – though he tells you to pretend that he’s just talking to you.
- Bugs are evident in the ride. Coach Troy uses a quote on the front of these DVD’s that says: “Rides so realistic, you’ll get bugs in your teeth!” Good thing the protective glass of the camera was there! That way, the bugs just crawl across the screen instead of getting in your teeth.
Speaking of the CarCam, the video quality on this DVD seems a little bit crisper than workouts in the past. It just seems brighter and clearer than others. The CoachTroy Cam is strapped to Troy’s helmet, but it gets very little use in this ride (which is probably good – you sure can see the difference between cameras when it does get used).
Troy is alone on this ride – no other riders (which didn’t matter so much in the last ride anyway). I kind of liked it better, because there was more interaction once again with me as a rider. He continues with his training tips and suggestions. One of the #favCoachTroyisms (which started way back in Virtual Ride 1.0) shows up when he gives you a tip of dousing yourself with water during the ride to cool yourself down – but “don’t use Sports Drink – very sticky.” Thanks, Troy. 🙂
One final side note – Troy looks more in shape in this DVD than any of his previous workouts. I think he had started back into competition between Virtual Ride 5.0 and this one. He’s looking thinner and has the veins bulging in his arms on close-ups – two traits that I may never have.
Would I recommend you buy this workout? Only if you are either (a.) a long endurance triathlete who wants to train your mental endurance as much as your physical endurance – OR – (b.) you just want a day to spin hard without thinking too much.