Things are getting more serious now. None of that bright eyed enthusiasm, the naive candour.
And I'll tell you why in one stinking, fun-crushing word:
T U R B O
Yep. My successful handle-botching skills have resulted in a fully functioning turbo, something which given the extra 2 feet of snow that fell last night, I'm going to be getting regrettably well acquainted with. For all the older roadies and seasoned cyclists who are probably sitting smirking already, bear with me as I want to fully elaborate on this for my own selfish indulgence, as already the associations with this word forming in my mind are better suited to Traffic Wardens, Council Tax, stubbed toes and sour milk.
First, I've never used a turbo as for the couple of winters I've been a 'cyclist' in the less committed sense of the word; I've never really seen the need. I bought mine for a tenner during summer from EvilBay on a whim only to find the handle was cracked, and its sat ignored in the garage ever since. Now, with several feet of snow to contend with and a real need to start getting down to business in building up me legs, it's going to be a core part of my training routine just through necessity. Now, mother always said I was a quick learner, and 45 minutes of less than turbo based action was enough to school me in the harsh realities of winter training that I'm sure a great many others know only too well already...
Primary observations being:
-It's boring. Very boring. And staring out the window looking at beautiful, pure white hills only served to make me regret each and every time I've had the opportunity to go for a ride over them during summer but declined because it was 'too windy' or 'it looks like its going to piss down'. Hills, humid summer rain, wind, potholes, and intemperate Scottish van drivers, I am sorry and I will never take you for granted again. You light up my life every time I get onto the saddle.
-It's nothing like riding your bike on the road, although even in the most basic physical sense you might be spinning your pins round cranks on the bike, it feels 'wrong' in terms of resistance and I don't know if this is just the monotony, but its more tiring. I resented every time I looked at my watch to see that the minute hand had only trudged on a few units, so I am dreading the amount of work I know I will have to do on it not just to make it an effective, meaningful part of my training, but interesting as well.
-It is Noisy. Up to speed and I thought the whole house was going to take off under the power of my pedals. The bouncy techno music that I thought would provide me with light relief and perhaps induce me into a time obliterating trance, was inaudible through my crappy headphones. My dreams of maybe being able to watch more films, or listen to podcasts that I would normally consider to self indulgent in terms of time, shattered.
-Sweat. I've often seen sweat guards for sale for 30 quid a pop and thought 'who the hell needs that? Surely they want a doctor if they sweat that much?' Even a meagre 45 minutes (or 2700 seconds if you prefer) was enough to have sweat seeping out of me like juice from the bit of rotten fruit at the bottom of the bowl. I've never sweated like that on the bike and would probably be deeply concerned if I had! The plus side is that the BTU's from my body will probably help in economising with the heating bill over winter, even if the house will smell like a sweat-scented magic tree as a result.
So, from looking in the past with scorn and bewilderment at 600 quid turbos replete with virtual reality simulations factoring in pot-holes, crosswinds, cow dung and drunken spectators and considering them the frippery of millionaires and tech-geeks, I now see where the demand has come from.... and how I want one!
And with this, I drag myself off armed with vitamin-c infused water, better headphones and a sense of steely eyed determination to see myself through another hour of high tempo masochism...
|The offending article, with bespoke wooden handle.|
|'View from Turbo Featuring Side of House and Tree', Oil on Canvas, 2010|