Riding the trainer is an inevitable reality for cyclists living in the Northern Hemisphere. No matter how hardy you are, winter will sometimes hit with so much force that riding outdoors is a near impossibility or simply too inconvenient to make it worth it. The trainer in your pain cave (or living room) is the solution. There, you can knock out a structured and efficient workout without interruption in the comfort of your home. However, beware because during your training session you are very likely to experience some if not all of these emotional stages of riding indoors:
That satisfying feeling you get when you make it onto the trainer can be quite exciting. Often, getting the workout started is the hardest part of riding indoors. Just making it onto the trainer is a victory in and of itself.
You enthusiastically embrace this feeling of success once you finish your warm up and start your first intervals. In the back of your mind you are imagining all the gains you will get from training indoors. This one workout will help you drop all your friends and you will ride this momentum right through the winter until you’ll be smashing it outdoors in the spring.
Waning enthusiasm and motivation
Ugh oh! This workout is harder than you thought. These interval targets are really hard to hit and you aren’t feeling so energetic anymore. The motivation to keep pushing the pedals is waning. You start to think there’s plenty of time to get fit later in the year once you feel more motivated. You’re already in the saddle though so maybe you can push through this workout.
Entering the time-space continuum
The realization that you’ve only completed the first interval snaps you out of your fantasy that the workout was actually passing by faster than you thought. Now you can’t stop watching the time go by really, really slowly. Every interval feels like it will never end and the rest time in between goes by so fast.
Beginning the countdown to spring
You think about spring to try and distract your mind. Warm weather and bright sunshine on your skin, the long forgotten sensation of riding outside. These thoughts will help return some of your motivation because now you want to be strong for when that time comes.
Regret about not living somewhere warmer
Then you think of all the people you see on social media riding in warm climates in places like Girona, Tucson, Southern France and Mallorca. Why can’t you live in a place like that?
The delusion that you are putting out massive watts
These intervals have started to pass by a little quicker. You are smashing them in fact. You are sweating profusely. Your legs burn. Just a few more months and you’ll be beating all your PBs on the local Strava segments.
Dawning realization you could barely power a light bulb
Then you look at your power numbers. Why are they so low? You think this workout feels really hard but the dawning realization is that you still have a ways to go to get back to the level you were at mid-summer.
Fantasizing about what you’ll eat after
You are finally almost done the workout. Only one more interval and then your cool down. Now you start thinking about what food is waiting for you in the fridge. So many possibilities and you’ve surely earned a tasty reward for making it through that trainer session. Even if it was just one hour.
Ecstatic euphoria upon being finished
The timer hits one hour and you immediately stop pedaling. You’ve done it! That feeling of relieve is overwhelming. You can’t wait to get off the bike. Now only two more months of winter and dozens of indoor workouts until you are as strong as you want to be come spring.