It may not have escaped your notice that I spend a fair amount of time on my trainer, a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, in fact just today I hit the 2000 mile mark, not bad in 14 months! Now when spending that amount of time on a trainer you need something to take your mind off of going nowhere. I have tried several series of training videos my “Go-Tos” have been the Sufferfest videos, for an occasional change I will mix in a 3LC one, I did once try a Spinervals one (never ever again) as well as sometimes just watching a movie. The latter of these, in my mind, equates to junk miles and you’re just spinning with no structure and I try to do this a last resort! So I am always on the look out for something new.
Enter Cyclefilm and the Roads to Glory series. If you are familiar with Cyclefilm they produce the excellent Etape du Tour series that guide you over the Tour De France mountain stages from each year’s race. They also made the highly entertaining and educational Eye Wide Open which I reviewed in 2011 (c’mon Bikes and Girls, what’s not to like!?!) and a few others…I have to confess that I own most of their DVDs (although with the exception of Road to Glory and EWO) I purchased them…so it’s safe to say I am a fan!
Volume 1; Alpine Edition, this is a 140km route featuring climbs over Col de Madeleine, Col de Glandon, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col de Mollard and La Toussuire so yeah there is some climbing! The ride is broken down into 5-15 minute intervals with recoveries and last 65 minutes.
Volume 2; Pyrenean Edition, this is a 197km over Col d’ Aubisque, Col de Soulor, Col de Tourmalet, Col d’Aspin and Col de Peyresourde again lots of climbing!
So on with the review. Your guide for both editions is Michael Cotty a fellow Brit (you did know I was a Brit, right?), Michael is a well-established CX and road racer in the UK and is the guide on many of the Etape DVDs. He adds relevant commentary when needed which includes generic tips, such things as gear checks warming up and cornering and course specific items addressing specific climbs and corners. He manages to do all this without puffing or panting has an easy on the ear voice…I kid you not this is important! In between there is some good old fashioned electronic/house/dance music to keep you bobbing along on the climbs and some more serene laid back tunes for the descents. The camera work is clean and crisp, there are three main angles, from behind looking up, from the front looking back and a first person view using a GoPro. The on screen prompts, which are based on RPE, take a little getting used to, especially if you are familiar with something else and there are no real audio cues., that being said once you know what to expect they are easy to follow.
Filmed in late October, you can tell it’s cold as some of the higher peaks in the background have snow and he is pretty bundled up, what you lose on the clear blue skies you gain in the lack of traffic, the roads are insanely quiet. Of course given the locations the scenery is spectacular, grand European peaks at theIR finest, this is not to be ignored as some training video offer nothing but a view of bunch of sweaty riders on Trainer, motivating? I don’t think so! Finally stick it to the end and watch the out-takes!
So in summary, if you’re stuck on a trainer, which you may well be soon as we rapidly approach autumn and Winter!, my advice would be to always use a structured workout rather than just spin aimlessly for an hour, you wouldn’t do that on the road would you? Both of these provide a well-structured sessions. There is some really good advice/commentary provided along the way, of course you can always turn the volume down and jack up your iPod. There is always something nice to look at, granted not as nice as the Carbon Chicas of Hell Hath No Fury, but way better than a car dealership!
Both DVDs are available online as DVDs currently for GBP15.99 each and available in PAL and NTSC formats (shipping to the US is GBP4) and come complete in a proper case with a really nice collectors handbook.