As regular readers of my blog know, I travel for a living with the World Bank to a variety of interesting countries (some stories of these travels are here). To keep up my cycling fitness I strategically place bicycles in different countries along with a stationary trainer. I therefore spend a lot of time in hotel rooms with training DVDs. I was therefore very interested when I was contacted by Global Ride Productions and given a complementary copy of their new set of DVDs to review as I was getting a bit tired of being yelled at by Coach Troy.
The DVDs arrived just before a trip to the South Caucasus’ which had some additional excitement because of a bike crash just before I left. This meant that there would only be cycling in the hotel room and no rides like last year when I went outside of Yerevan. As soon as I was able to do a revolution of the crank without too much pain or tightness I did an hour of spinning with no load, then a day later at 60%, 70% and 80% load. By this time I was ready to try a real ride and so chose ‘Strendurance Hawaii’.
Global Ride have three DVDs: ‘Strendurance Hawaii’, ‘Maui Rollers’, and ‘Oceanside Ride’. The DVD allows you to choose who you want to coach you on the ride. I did Strendurance twice – once with Sally Edwards and once with Matty Reid. There is a third coach as well. Each give a different take to the ride and so it is nice to be able to have some variety to choose from: you essentially get three different workouts from the same DVD.
The DVD has a ride which consists of a video travelling along the road, showing you the scenery. It alternates between a forward looking video and one to the rear where there is a cyclist. The coach advises you of the conditions being encountered and gives advice on the gearing, cadence, etc.
As a regular user of the Spinerval DVDs these are my baselines to compare the Global Ride DVDs to. I’ve also used the CycloZen DVDs, but I far prefer the Spinervals.
In my opinion, there are three elements to a successful cycling DVD:
- Music: As far as music goes, the Global Ride DVD is brilliant. It really complements the ride and isn’t as overpowering as the Spinerval DVD soundtracks often are.
- Scenery: The Global Ride DVDs are filmed in Hawaii. The Strendurance takes you along the ocean and up into the hills so the scenery sure beats a bunch of cyclists in a room pedalling. In fact, the time went faster than usual on a Spinerval DVD since I didn’t find myself continually counting down.
- Workout: The DVDs give you a good workout, although more is left to the rider than with Spinervals where they explicitly tell you what gearing should be used. I was glad that I have a power meter on my bike since I used the power as the gauge of workout.
The DVD was perfect for the recovery period that I find myself in. I was able to ride for about an hour with an appropriate level of load on my knee, not overdoing it. The ride has a good combination of hills for strength work, and flats where using a high cadence we can focus on pedalling technique. As mentioned above, the music and the scenery are excellent and the ride went by much faster than I expected. Below is a clip from the video.
I think that the videos are a good alternative to Spinervals which are more focused on specific activities – such as time trial training. They give a much better mental break than Spinervals, although it is not as easy to have such a hard workout since there is no Coach Troy acting as the ‘drill sergeant’ as my wife calls him. Instead, the coaches here pull you along rather than ordering you. I’m looking forward to trying the other rides.
The DVDs also come with bonus tracks. Strendurance has a strength workout which looks quite good – I can’t do it at present due to my knee. The ‘Maui Roller’ DVD has a Yoga workout. It is too fast paced for my liking – but that could be a personal preference since I prefer slower and more introspective Yoga. There is also a Pilates workout on the ‘Hawaii’ DVD.
So if you are like me and regularly have indoor training sessions you will probably find the Global Ride DVDs a good addition to your library. I am looking forward to trying the other two rides.