Friday, May 6, 2011

Morning eXpresso

Sitting on a stationary bike while Watching POV bicycle videos seemed like it would be about as gratifying as SM's holiday blowup doll.  The one with the big belly button...

...but there it was in the hotel fitness center. An Expresso machine. Maybe it was the 5:00am stupor, but it called out to me.  It's a stationary bike with HRM, shifters, steerable handlebars, and a plasma video screen that displays an interactive computer generated cycling POV.

I chose Monkey Mountain from the list of 20 courses (level of difficulty 3 out of 4) and started pedalling. At the start it appeared I was in a strung-out breakaway with 5 other riders and so I found a comfortable gear and set my sights on the lead rider. After about 10 minutes I had fallen 2 positions back and I was actually getting PISSED OFF at myself and these computer generated cyclists.

Yes I was sucked in.

So I picked a monster gear and stood up. Within a minute my aggressive move had reeled in at least 5 riders, my heart rate was pegged in the 170s, and the crowd was going nuts. But to my astonishment another 5 riders came into view around the next bend.  So either the early hour and elevated heart rate were impacting my cognitive ability or this damn Expresso machine had an unlimited supply of lead riders to throw in my face. But this was shot at fame so I threw everything I had at this machine for 45 minutes and finished exhausted and drenched in sweat.

I never would have gotten that workout on a traditional stationary bike while watching ESPN or reading USA Today. The silly idea really worked. I'm still not sure if it would stand the test of time (2-3x per week over the course of a long winter), but I was impressed:
  • Variety of courses with varied scenery
  • Workload and shifting in response to the terrain is very cool
  • Ghost rider so you can race against yourself
Suggested improvements:
  • Mountain biking please!  Add some single track options.
  • Terrible seat.  Needs more traditional saddle, not that big squishy one.
  • Drafting. I tried it but didn't sense any improvement. Resistance should drop ~20% if you're in a draft, and if you hit the rider in front there should be a price to pay (1 minute penalty).
Can leg shaving be far behind?


"Beware of all enterprises that require a change into Lycra"
   -- unknown

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