Turbo headache

During the last few days, the time has come to admit to myself that it’s Autumn. The reddening leaves, cold mornings and lack of events on the calendar has finally put an end to my denial. This sadly, can only mean one thing – soon the clocks will change, the rain will pour and sooner or later outdoor training opportunities will become highly limited. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not the type to never ride if it’s raining, cold or subject to very high winds. I can take one of the three, maybe two at a push – sadly during the british winter, as many fellow cyclists will know, all of the above are often found in abundance for several days in a row. Its time to go back to the turbo.

When I began Cycling, one of the first things I learnt was how crucial it is to keep riding through the winter. As a 15 year old I was genuinely under the impression that a few months off wouldn’t do much harm, after all I’d been riding a grand total of 12 weeks – surely with that fitness level, it wouldn’t take long to recapture some form. As you might imagine, this didn’t hold true – it was 9 months before I rode a bike again, having regained the weight I had lost and lost all the fitness I’d gained.

During what I’ll refer to as my sabbatical, my Father (at the time far more disciplined than me), mentioned something about his indoor training sessions – offering to show me how it was done. This formed my introduction to the turbo trainer – after ten minutes of riding I decided that enough was enough, the sweaty pain cave wasn’t for me. In that incredibly short space of time, what I suspect will be a life long hatred of the turbo was formed – “how on earth?” I wondered, could anyone actually bear to spend time on this thing?

Of course, as time went on – I learned to suffer through it. In all honesty I studied a bit harder in those days and as such simply didn’t have the time for outdoor riding during the winter, once a week if I was lucky. I discovered a well known series of training videos which did at least provide some entertainment and distraction. As my knowledge grew, I came to begrudgingly accept the usefulness of turbo sessions – there is no better way to complete a highly structured workout, on the road there are always distractions and changes in terrain that provide complications.

Last winter, things reached a new low. Sporting a broken collarbone, the turbo was now the only option when it came to maintaining fitness. Six solid weeks of sitting in that garage, doing the same sessions over and over again – desperate to pick up a real bike and venture outdoors, the pain in my shoulder a constant reminder that this wasn’t possible. I yearned for that last session, when it came to an end I vowed never to even look at the thing ever again. This of course seeming like a perfectly sensible thing say at the very beginning of spring.

Now I am forced to go back on my promise. In a fortnight the off season will come to an end and it will be time to begin preparations for 2017. Yesterday, with a heavy heart I attempted to set up my turbo – even before completing an actual session, the blessed machine caused me a headache.

Firstly, getting the bike in place proved to be tricky (you’ll remember what I’ve said about my mechanical skills, this shouldn’t come as a surprise). Perhaps it, like me, is doing anything within its power to prolong the time before an indoor workout is at hand. Secondly, the speed sensor I had purchased from a well known online retailer refused to work – prompting me to send it back. Having circumnavigated this problem, it seemed things were sorted – yet it was not to be.

My Turbo trainer isn’t exactly an expensive model – a hand-me down from my father, a novice cyclist at the time of purchase he simply went for a cheap one. Five years on and its looking very tired, I had hoped to get another winter out of it but this was not to be. The noise level, even at very low intensities was akin to a plane taking off just outside your front door. When living in Student halls, its important to be mindful of the others in your flat – I’d like everyone to still be speaking to me by the end of the year!

This has necessitated parting with a significant sum of money. Having had to purchase a new trainer and a tyre to accompany it (another means of reducing the noise). Distinctly unhelpful – for the last few months I’ve been putting money aside for a new pair of wheels – it will be a while before that fund begins to grow again. My dislike of turbo trainers has now reached a new height – something I simply didn’t think was possible.

Of course, there are a few positives. A decent trainer should make the sessions a tad less unbearable. I’ve also invested in the heftiest fan I could find – I’ve no desire for my room to acquire a permanent gym scent. On recommendation, I’ve signed up for a popular virtual reality cycling platform, at least I’ll be-able to simulate the outdoors more easily. Last but not least – after much searching, I’ve found my hardshell jacket – maybe riding in the wet & cold won’t be quite so bad after all when the threat of the turbo hangs over my head.

That, is where I’ll leave it for today. I have season goals to set, a bike to clean, Uni work to do and food to make. Goodbye all

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