Now that the weather has turned a bit chillier, I brought my road bike back inside and have it set up in its cold-weather home on the trainer. I should note that I set up on my CycleOps trainer instead of my 1UpUSA trainer – because, unfortunately, the 1UP that I re-oiled earlier this year seems to be dragging again. I’ll have to do a separate review on the CycleOps another day.
I got started a little later than usual when I did this ride the other night – so I decided that I didn’t want to go quite as long as other nights. Glancing through the DVD’s that I hadn’t yet reviewed, I settled on StrenDurance in Hawaii produced by the folks at Global Ride and distributed by the folks at CyclingFusion. I wasn’t quite sure how long it was – but – I figured it might be in the neighborhood of one hour.
My wife had purchased a number of virtual ride DVD’s for me a few years back – knowing how much I enjoyed some of the Virtual Rides offered through the Spinervals program. It’s my hope to get through a bunch of these and let you know if any are worthy of owning.
This DVD was made in 2008. The video quality is not the best – not HD – and looked particularly blurry on the large screen that I use (which is good for making a virtual ride feel more realistic). There are some nice options that you get to choose:
- Music On or Off
- Voice Coaching On or Off (you even get to choose a nationality/accent for a coach)
For this workout, I chose to keep both the music AND the USA voice coaching on. It turns out that it didn’t really matter for me, though – since I couldn’t hear it very well over the CycleOps trainer. Surprisingly, though, my wife could hear the music and talking of the DVD on the first floor (while I was in the basement in a somewhat soundproofed room).
Anyway, you start the workout with a warm-up while the screen shows multiple images of beautiful Hawaii. This alone made up for that terribly boring Spinervals Virtual Ride in Kona, HI that I reviewed this past Spring. The first five minutes – no, the first thirty seconds – had better scenery than the one in Kona (even with the blurry quality).
The first “real” section of the video was called “Tantalus Training.” I mentally noted that – vowing to look up the meaning of the word “tantalus” when I got off the bike. I thought it was some sort of deep conditioning theory. Turns out it was the name of the road we were on. The explanation of the route is that it is the longest continuous climb on the island of Oahu – over 4 miles from the point where they start filming. It wasn’t a terribly difficult series of climbing – and didn’t last real long – but it was climbing. There were a few switchbacks that I took the liberty of standing as I rounded them – trying to imagine I was climbing a stage of the tour – but nothing too difficult.
The second section of the video was “Leaving Lahaina” and featured a mostly flat and fast course. Nothing about the physical ride in this section really stuck out as amazing to me. I did notice that we must have biked past one of the most popular areas for surfing – as there were surf bums and cars littered all along the highway (of course, on an island, that could be any highway). I was expecting Frankie and Annette to come running out onto the road and I would be caught up in a catchy beach ditty…. It didn’t happen.
The last main section of this virtual ride was entitled “Maui Cliff Climbing.” The name alone just sounded cool! I’m not sure if the voice coach changed – but I was actually able to hear part of what she was saying. The coach had you standing and seated in regular intervals as you climb this section. I did break a sweat – probably the most of any other part of the ride – but I can’t really say it was terribly difficult.
The cool down for the last five minutes featured still photos of cycling photos from around the world – and even threw in some nice mountain biking shots. They made me want to book my next cycling vacation.
Overall, I can say that this is an ok workout – probably best for those nights you want a lighter duty workout (and I think it’s really made for those who ride indoors more than out). The scenery is better than some I’ve seen. I would suggest using your own music. The music during the workouts is all instrumental and a little too new age for my liking. I’ll stick with my own tunes in the future.
The coaching is probably best left on for the first few times you would do this workout. Otherwise, you end up making up your own program and gear ratios as you go along. The few times I could make out some direction, I sensed that they didn’t really fit the terrain as much as the ones by Spinervals. And I missed the gear ratios being shown on the screen (a la Spinervals). As a result, I’m not sure if I overachieved or underachieved – and would know better if I could hear the whole workout.
The DVD does include a 30 minute strength training session at the end of the ride that could be of some use, too. I didn’t do it. Instead, I just watched it as I cooled down a bit. The few minutes I watched seemed to be pretty basic – but, then again, I’m not big into strength training (other than lifting a quarter pounder here and a quarter pounder there….). I did note that the one guy in this section wore a Penn State cycling uniform – so they earn points for that.
I have a few more of these rides by Global Ride that I’ll be reviewing in the future. If you have any experience with these OR any other virtual rides, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any suggestions for future reviews, let me know!