Aloha from the great state of Hawaii! Today I’m offering up Part One of a Three-Part Review (probably) of the last On The Road Virtual Ride by the folks over at Spinervals (as of today’s date). This is the 7th in the series, and Coach Troy whisks us away to the Pacific Ocean.
Now, I want you to close your eyes and think about Hawaii. What kinds of images come to mind? If you’re anything like me, you may start seeing palm trees and lush landscapes. Waterfalls and bright colorful flowers may fit somewhere into that picture-in-the mind. Maybe surf bums and beach bodies playing along a crystal clean coastline while others are hanging ten on huge waves. Drinks served in coconuts and little bad-luck idols that you find along the beach………wait……..did I just venture into an old Brady Bunch episode?
Anyway – if you’re imagining anything similar to what I just described, you’ll be disappointed with this first part of the final installment of the On The Road series. Instead of the lush tropical paradise, you get treated to miles and miles (and miles……) of flat, ugly, barren landscapes. True to form with the other videos in the series, there is truth in the advertising. The description of the ride mentions riding in the “moonscape” of the island. That’s about the best word to describe it!
If you’ve read any of my earlier reviews of longer rides (approx. 2 hours), you know that I break them down into more manageable parts (about an hour each +/-). I’m doing the same thing on this – ESPECIALLY – because this is a ride that is 5 1/2 hours long (YES – FIVE AND ONE HALF HOURS)! It’s spread out onto three DVD’s!
I have to admit that I was hesitant to start this workout for a number of reasons:
- Did I mention that it is 5 1/2 hours long?
- The description talks about building endurance (read: straight and flat, long and boring) – and did I mention that it might be endurance building for 5 1/2 hours?
- The weather outside started teasing me with Spring-like temperatures – taunting me to take the bike in for its Springtime service and actually road ride outside (unlike my brother – who rides year-round).
However, my public was anxiously awaiting this review. If I chose not to do it, the collection would be incomplete. The emails would pour in – pleading for me to finish the series. Comets would strike the Earth. Popes would resign.
So, I jumped into my biking shorts and started spinning. All would be right in the world again!
The first part of the ride is a little out-and-back ride within the city limits – so you do get to see some palm trees interspersed among the tourists and the hotels (and the traffic). Now, I hate out-and-back rides in real life. I didn’t really care for this virtual one either. In fact, I didn’t like it – until – I got onto the main highway (then it didn’t seem so bad).
There’s really not much to say about the main highway ride. So, I’ll repeat myself. It was long. It was straight. It was barren. As in some earlier videos that I didn’t find too exciting, Coach Troy tells you that the scenery is not the most interesting. Again, it may be a way to train your mind for long, boring rides – which, I suppose, is important for triathletes and long-distance riders – but it sure isn’t much fun for someone who is using the video for a virtual ride (especially in central PA where rides always have a mixture of hills, etc.).
Coach Troy also mentions that you need to use long videos like this to keep yourself mentally focused on long real rides. Of course, he also tells you that you should find something to help you get through this long boring ride – maybe an iPad or TV to watch something else. I hate to say it – but I could have saved the $30 +/- and just watched TV (remember my Train While Watching Sports post?).
It was really easy to zone out and lose concentration. There wasn’t anything really interesting to look at. I think Coach Troy may have zoned out a few times, too. Gear shifts occurred and there was no mention (or, maybe, I just zoned out and missed him saying it). Some prolonged silences occurred and I had to wonder if Coach Troy fell asleep or just left to go do something else for awhile. I wouldn’t have blamed him.
Now, all of this being said, the video is somewhat challenging. You’ll find that you’re riding in the Big Ring/15 gear combination for a good portion of the ride. That’s enough tension to give you a workout. For awhile, you are pushing the Big Ring/13 – which is the same for some of the climbs in the videos that I truly like. If the scenery matched the gear combinations, this would be a much better virtual ride (mentally).
I knew it was going to be a tough ride for me to do (mentally), because I had attempted to do this ride when I first got the DVD and ripped it open – ready to do the next in the series. After the first hour of monotonous riding, I never had the desire to revisit it. For you, the reader, I will endure. I want to complete it before Spring weather takes hold officially – and my trainer goes into its Summer hibernation.
You may have noticed that I mentioned the video is 5 1/2 hours long. It is spread out onto 3 DVD’s. As I break these workouts down into smaller chunks (both for review AND for my own use), I had to figure out the time chunks that I was going to do. Usually, I do about an hour each – which would have meant I COULD have done 6 separate parts; however, if the video remains the same throughout the whole ride, I won’t get many readers past Part Two.
So, I figured I’d do two sessions of approximately 1 hour, 10 minutes each for each part of my review. That would give me – at most – 4 separate parts. I spun until I had 4 hours, 20 minutes left on my first day (yesterday). Today, I jumped on – expecting to go to 3 hours, 10 minutes left. However, at about 3 hours, 41 minutes, I came to the end of the first DVD.
A decision had to be made.
Do I put on the second DVD and continue until I reached the 3 hour, 10 minute mark – OR – do I call it a night and go do something a little more fun…………………….. (It actually took less time to decide than it did to put all of those periods there.)
So, it looks like my Reviews will end up only being three parts – one for each DVD in the collection.
At the end of this first DVD, a mountain started to appear in the distance. Coach Troy did mention about a climb. Could there be more to this virtual ride than long, flat and straight highway? Could we be treated to a climb up a volcano? Could lush green landscapes tickle our senses and magically lift our spirits?
One can only hope. There’s a long way to go……