Sunday, January 18, 2009

My First (Indoor) Century


If you start this workout session you must finish it unless you experience SEVERE symptoms of fatigue, dizziness or nausea. Moderate levels of fatigue are expected and encouraged in order to insure the effectiveness of this training session.

If this workout is stopped prematurely and not completed as intended, Coach Troy will come to your house and let the air out of your tires.

So begins the Spinervals "Hardcore 100." I had not entered the 2009 cycling season with the goal of riding an indoor century. But, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Temperatures have been solidly below 20 degrees in the Hudson Valley for the past two weeks with no end in sight. There have been several recent snow storms and the result is a patchwork of ice and snow covering all but the most major roads and all of this with a lovely salt glaze. I hoped to squeeze two endurance rides into the month of January and my options were running out. I needed a creative solution. If I was going to stay on track and ride a century this weekend, it looked like the studio was where I was going to ride it.

I queried an ultra marathon cycling forum to see if I could pick up some tips on indoor endurance rides from some pros. I mean, what would they do? Watch Spinervals DVDs? Old tapes of the Tour? The original Star Wars trilogy? Look at the walls? Set up a laptop and answer email? I wanted more than just the badge of honor (disgrace?) of saying that I had completed the task, I wanted to push my training forward. I heard back from several riders, one of whom was RAAM-qualified in 2008 and had just completed the Hardcore 100 the day before. That was all I needed to hear.

I called up Geoff at the Bicycle Depot to see if he could get me a copy within a few days. After checking in with his suppliers and thanking me for calling him first, Geoff explained that no one had it and that he’d need to get it directly from the manufacturer. So I went on-line and ordered a copy from a triathlon shop in Maine who got it to me in two days through UPS. Meanwhile, I busied myself with preparations. On Friday night, I set up the TV, the DVD player and a fan on a card table in the dance studio and assembled some CDs to play through Jessie’s sound system. Spinervals allows riders to mute the music track and hear only Coach Troy’s commands. It is an option I recommend taking. I ultimately chose the Putatmayo collections “Arabic Groove” and “Blues Lounge” as well as Byrne and Eno’s “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.”

I set the alarm yesterday for 6:15 so I could “roll out” (?!?) at 7:00. After eating a bowl of cereal, collecting half a dozen Clif bars and filling up four water bottles (two with Hammer Perpetuem), I headed next door. The thermometer read 8 degrees.

So what is the Hardcore 100? A collection of three-DVDs that chronicles a dozen riders lined up in a nondescript hotel conference room pedaling and sweating through a series of progressively more challenging interval sets with the charming sadist (er, trainer) Coach Troy barking commands and encouragement. He repeats his can’t-stop-once-you-start warning several times and is actually quite good at his work. There are also a few three-minute breaks during which the participants hobble over to a feed zone to refill their bottles and snarf down an energy bar or two.

So sweat and pedal I did. The kicker for me, though, was that after 5-1/2 hours of Coach Troy, I had 30 minutes to go to meet the requirements of an indoor century (6 hours) to satisfy the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association’s (UMCA) Year-Rounder Challenge, but more about that later. All told, it was a very good workout. Looking at the forecast, I don’t think it will be my last indoor century this season. As always, it’s good to have options.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That is something to aspire to. I am training indoors as well right now, as are most people that aren't fortunate enough to live in areas where they can bike year round. I completed 40 miles last week. It took me 1 hr 50 minutes. Towards the end, I really started feeling my legs fatigue. I know it will take some building up to get to an indoor century but now I know it's possible! Thanks for sharing!

    I've been using a series of cycling DVDs by Global Ride. They produce virtual cycling DVDs from a bikers perspective so it really truly feels like you're riding outside. It helped to keep me motivated during my time on the bike. There are also TONS of options to keep it interesting. There are multiple different coaching tracks, options to have music or not, plus a bonus section of Pilates, Yoga, or strength training at the end. I can't wait until their next series is released! You can get them on Amazon or direct from their website at

    Happy training!