Well Christmas and New Year may have been a thoroughly lazy period, but now we’re well into January and the first races are going to come around fast. I also have set a single goal that I want to achieve on my bike for later this year. For that I need to be in as good a physical condition as time, work and my body will allow (little more than 2 and half years until the LVRC beckons). So, besides the winter miles and core workouts, it’s time to dust off the turbo and get that flywheel whirring.
Since October the cycling club has been running a Sufferfest Turbo training session, on Wednesday evenings, at St Neots Rugby Club. So, for something different to kick-start my training I’ve signed up for January. I’ve done spinning classes before, but never a group turbo session. Neither have a I done a Sufferfest, or indeed any of the various training tools you can rig up to a laptop to try to make the turbo more interesting. I guess like most turbo and roller users, I’ve always been trained alone. Relegated to the garage, in the depths of winter, my normal routine is to plug into some suitably hard and fast music (Aphex Twin’s Analogue Bubblebath series and Classics are pretty good as is any band with Dave Grohl in the line-up) and try to achieve a transcendental state through a cycle of intervals. While I usually experience a degree of physical pain as a result of this, so far the step to Nirvana has eluded me.
Getting over to the Rugby club was a bit of a hassle. The Mill Road was flooded, so I already faced a detour (no I’m not going to ride over a turbo), but this was exacerbated by St Neots town council’s wise decision to block the High Street with a cherry picker so that they could take down the Christmas decorations. In the rush hour. Suffice to say the usual flood induced congestion was made significantly worse. Perhaps that’s why only three of us made it for a late start.
Wayne had linked everything up to the Rugby Club’s sound system and the video was displayed onto a projector. Once warmed up it was down to business, exercising to an abbreviated World Championship circuit and suspicious sounding Euro Techno.
So did I enjoy it? Yes I did. The format consisted of a series of time trial tempo rides and climbs ridden at different efforts or resistance and interspersed with “attacks”. The attacks are signaled by a revving engine and immediately followed by an increase in pitch as we ramped up our cadence and spun the flywheels faster. Three turbos are noisy enough, but the combined effect of the acceleration probably isn’t too dissimilar to a jet turbine warming up. In between are recovery periods, mostly used for banter, but also taking on fluid and futilely wiping away sweat.
It was a good work out which left my legs pleasingly tired, and strangely I’m looking forward to the next one. For me, that’s not a normal sentiment when thinking about my turbo!