As an avid mountain bike rider & professional Enduro/Down Hill racer living in Colorado the winters can be long. Over the last few years I have used professional spin classes at local gyms &/or a home exercise bike training on my own to stay in shape or improve my fitness during the winter leading into the spring. To be honest I find it miserable. Miserable but necessary. Its necessity has kept me searching for a way to enjoy training more. I have had small amounts of success with various tactics such as entertainment media & the personal touch of a professional spin studio.
The professional spin studio environment is very dynamic & motivating. It's like having a personal trainer but not having to pay for one. There is not only a leader but other people around you to hold you accountable & not let you get lazy. That being said many spin instructors are just doing their job & some don't even ride real bikes outdoors. The scenario is they describe a virtual environment & you follow along. So they will say "OK we are climbing a hill now" & you are supposed to pretend you are climbing a hill & work hard. I have found this fake environment somewhat off putting & although while I am there it works well it is difficult to return to. It never felt the same as when I was out mountain biking & the workout was just not what I was looking for.
Once I decided following along with a spin instructor was not working for me I invested in a home spin bike system. For me, mounting my mountain bike in a resistance trainer was the most affordable solution. I thought "oh this will be great!" I can just listen to my music or watch TV & it will be easy & fun to spend time training. I was wrong again. Almost immediately using this system when I would start to feel fatigued I would just back off & not work that hard. It's not that I am a lazy or unmotivated person but there was never a reward or stopping point to my efforts. Its not like I got to see the top of a climb coming & get that good feeling of making it. I was never rewarded by extra speed to charge into a rough section of trail. The challenges & efforts of mountain biking are directly & quickly rewarded with natural fun & enjoyment. Even watching my favorite movies in my living room did not make me want to train or even when I did I was not feeling great results.
Each year after spending the winter doing my best with strength training & on spin bikes of various natures the first time I hit the dirt trail I felt weak! It was so frustrating! I did see results on the spin bike & I was confident I was making progress but still... How can I feel so weak when I have done literally months of training? I sort of already knew it but what was being confirmed is the sheer torque of real gravity & real rocks & bumps required a much deeper & more dynamic strength than I was able to duplicate by just sitting & spinning.
This lead me to look into sprint style interval training. There are many ways to do this with interval timers & many different programs to follow. You would use a timer & sprint with all your might for let's say 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds & do it again. From that deep strength point of view I would say this approach works. I did increase the difficulty & effectiveness of my workouts! Yay! However I also increased how miserable the workouts became. The eventual hatred for the pain would cause me to avoid working out. A very normal human reaction. So I found a workout that felt as hard as out on the trail but without the natural goals of reaching the top of a hill or going fast enough to clear a jump I hated doing it & all but refused to do it. Once again, one step forward 2 steps backward.
So now I started looking at real cycling spin videos. I wanted to see & virtually experience riding a bike. I could not duplicate the enjoyment of really riding so maybe the people making these spin videos have something figured out. Overall I would say they do. I purchased a few products & did hours of research on the way. All I could find was road riding videos but I was still excited for a more real experience. Some of the videos just used onboard first person filming styles. Some used cameras from 3rd party views such as from a bike behind or vehicle of some type filming riders in beautiful locations. Still others used licensed footage from real road races such as the Tour De France. As with my other attempts to keep myself motivated & enjoying training as much as I do really mountain biking I had some major hang ups. First off is the obvious that I was watching road riding which although is better than nothing was not quite as interesting to me as my local trails. The more important part is that as you follow along with these videos the workouts are obviously engendered toward a road type fitness which is generally slower paced between efforts than what I was used to & looking for.
I thought I figured out my problem. I was just searching "bicycle spin videos" & all the top results were road. I needed to search "Mountain Bike Spin Videos". Of course that is what I need. But there is a problem. Nothing comes up when you search that. I try all different combinations of searches to find the product I am looking for. The only thing that comes up is a super lame 1 hour dizzying shaky onboard camera of someone's mountain bike ride. I am baffled but there are no mountain bike spin videos on the market.
I need this product & if no one else is making it then maybe I will have to. The idea for Spintertainment is born.