Thursday, January 13, 2011

Self-Inflicted Torture

I have made one big step towards actually doing The Big Bike Ride (that one from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific coast). I bought a trainer. I paid $200 for it because I bought it from REI (more expensive product, but free shipping since I'm a member). Anyways, this is a big step.

Anyone who has ever bought a treadmill knows what happens when you buy it. You use it for a while and you're very proud of yourself for getting in good shape. But it doesn't take long until you realize how ridiculously boring it is and you give up.

First, you start out with the treadmill facing the wall and it takes about 5 minutes to realizing that you're staying in the exact same location, staring at the wall...the wall. If you're lucky, there's a picture on the wall and you can marvel at it's beauty for another 5 minutes. Pavlov would tell you that it will take you another few minutes to have that picture so deeply ingrained in your head that whenever you see it in the future, you will immediately feel bored, angry, tired, sweaty, and sore. Academically, this is very interesting, but practically, it is torture.

You move up in the world. You bring a TV into the room and watch TV while you run. 3 hours later, according to your body clock, the 30 minute (measured by your sundial) episode of The Office is finally over. You need to keep going for another hour, but the only thing on is Glee. "Why, God! Why!!" you exclaim out loud. It was torture enough to watch The Office, one of the best shows ever. I can only imagine the pain I'm about to put myself through by watching Glee on the treadmill. Well 5 minutes into the episode you realize something. I don't have to do this to myself. I can just get off this treadmill and actually enjoy life. Forget the torturous combination of exercise and Glee! By darn, I'm going to go eat me some potato chips and watch me some YouTube videos!

And that's how it ends. Your treadmill is never used again. You just live life as happy as ever, ruing the days you spent on that horrible treadmill. You resolve to never run on the treadmill again.

This example I give is one that is familiar to many of you. More people have treadmills than have bike trainers. Think of the let-down it is to go from running outside in the beauty of the world with the wind flowing through your hair to running in place on a treadmill. Well, my average speed when running is around 9mph, I think. My average speed on a bike is around 14mph. So to be conservative, multiply the let-down of running on a treadmill by 1.5. This is how much of a let-down riding a bike on a trainer is.

That being said, I will be putting myself through torture for the next few months because it will usually be too cold and/or icy to ride outside. But it's all for the sake of The Big Ride and will certainly make me more thankful for riding my bike outside...assuming I don't give up before the end of the winter.

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