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Cycling in Wonderland (Prize Alert!)

Posted Nov 11 2009 10:02pm
Sunday morning found me down the rabbit hole, actually in Wonderland, as opposed to watching it on television, as I have done for years.

This Wonderland for me was a Spinervals video, the famed and fabled cycling workouts by Coach Troy Jacobson (Fun Fact: Coach Troy's story is told in my book, Becoming an Ironman: First Encounters with the Ultimate Endurance Event ). I am quite certain I have been using Spinervals as long as Coach Troy has been making them. It is thanks to his "classics" such as: "Suffer-O-rama," and "Mental Toughness," that I rode through the winter to train for Ironman New Zealand in 2002. The titles are always aptly named (remember this, there's a contest coming up with a freebie).

I don't want to turn off anyone who thinks Spinervals sound too hardcore. Even if you're a beginning cyclist or want to incorporate a little cycling into your workout, these tapes are ideal. Sure, Coach Troy may be yelling at you like a lunatic to go faster, but, shhhhhh, he's not really there. So, if you need the extra motivation to push yourself, you'll find it in these tapes, but you can always "fake it till you make it."

That said, since Coach Troy started the Spinervals empire in the mid 90s, there are a multitude of workouts to choose from and he's branched out considerably. If you shy away from workouts geared to competitive cycling, check out the Spinervals Fitness series, such as "Lean and Mean," or the "Sweating Buckets" workout. And hey, if cycling isn't your thing, Coach Troy also offers "Runervals," "Swimervals," several strength training options, even yoga and physical therapy.

And, as far as a mama-friendly workout goes, they rock. It's simple: pop your bike on a trainer and the disc in the dvd and presto you're in for the ride. If you hear loud crashing sounds from the next room or the baby monitor begins to wail, just hit pause, tend to the craziness and resume when you can (true, sometimes this is the next day but I always have good bike riding weather in my basement).

Back to Wonderland. So, for some 10 years I've been on the outside looking in and then Sunday afternoon, there I was, doing a Spinerval workout (34.0, to-be-named, details to come) with Coach Troy there in the flesh, not nearly as lunatic-like as he's been in other videos, but calling out the workout all the same, while cameras filmed.

That's me in the blue, in the freakin' front row.

Did I mention I was in the front row? I was honored. And terrified. The last time I was on my bike was early August, and at that I've ridden only five times since The Boy was born. I know I've been touting the glory of mama-friendly Spinervals, but if you've been following this blog you know I haven't been riding. I've been running, or trying to run, or flailing about in my attempts to run. But when the opportunity comes along to (ahem) star in a Spinervals tape, do you say no? There was no way to "fake it till you make it" in an hour workout, with Coach Troy literally looking over your shoulder.

The Rabbit himself with pocket watch in hand.

When you're inside the rabbit hole, Coach Troy is really there, so "No Slackers Allowed" (also the name of a Spinerval dvd). It seemed as if the cameras were always zooming in on my gears, trying to catch me in the act of slacking. My only hope was the lung and muscle memory from all my previous Spinerval workouts.

I don't always pray while riding.

Aside from praying I'd physically get through the workout, I was also secretly worried my bike might fall off the trainer (I've seen this happen, it never causes much damage except to the ego) and that my milk might suddenly and unexpectedly let down. This caused me to work even harder so that my shirt would get so soaked with sweat no one would know the difference.

Milking it for the camera.

That was one heckuva workout. And I loved it. Soon, you can too. The Spinervals 34.0 dvd, a series of intervals with a blast of speed drills in the end, will be released in January. If you buy this video we can workout together! It's the first Mama Sweat group workout!

What's more, you can help name the video. Coach Troy says it usually takes a few beers before the right name comes to mind. So, pop open a cold one and submit your ideas (as many as you want) in the comments. If Coach Troy chooses your name, guess what? You will be the lucky winner of Spinervals merchandise! Woo Hoo!

I'll get started. My suggestions (remember, we're brainstorming, there are no bad ideas) are:

Speed Thrust
What the Watt?
Thigh Master
Spin for Speed
Adventures in Spinervaland

P.S. The names of Spinerval workouts are a little like fortune cookies--they are even more amusing when you add "in bed" after you read them. Wait... is that the beer talking?

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