With the seemingly endless streak of unforgiving weather intact, I once again headed to the basement for an indoor training session.
Per my usual routine, I turned on the computer, navigated to Netflix, and picked out a movie available for instant streaming. I turned up the sound, turned on the fan, and got started sweating.
At one point the movie froze. While waiting for it to restart, a no-longer-used boom box sitting in a corner, covered with a layer of dust, caught my eye.
That little piece of nostalgia was the original trainer distraction.
Before the boom box, there was just the whir of the wind trainer or rollers to keep you company. You had to really want to be training. The only thing that kept me at it was imagining being fit or not fit when season started in a few months. I actually remember mentally going through different races while sitting on the trainer.
At some point CD boom boxes became cheap and available. That was the first step down the slippery slope. I had music to distract me while training.
When we got a Newer, Bigger TV the old one was relegated to the basement. Set up with a VCR, I could watch VHS tapes of races — bought from the World Cycling Production catalog, or bootlegged tapes of Paris-Roubaix from someone on the Internet.
At some point — probably just a couple years ago, but seems like forever — the VHS tapes started collecting dust too. They were replaced by a computer with a big monitor, DVD player, and ability to stream music and video on demand. Now there’s a seemingly endless selection of something to watch or listen to.
Sometimes I think we’ve gotten soft. And addicted to the multimedia stream. I would find it difficult to ride the trainer without any kind of distraction. But hey, if it means you now train more, then it’s good, right?
On the other hand, I picture Eddy Merckx riding the rollers in his garage and can’t help but conclude that we’ve gotten soft.