By William Bruning
Price: $29.95 DVD; $24.95 download
Source: Company website; retail
How obtained: Sample from company
Duration: Mt. Lemmon DVD – 70 minutes
RBR advertiser: yes
Tested: several training sessions
We’ve all been on rides we consider to be “epic.” Whether it’s a lengthy mountainous route or simply the most beautiful terrain you can imagine, these epic rides are typically few and far between. But during the off-season, when
we need them most, epicRIDES brings such rides right into your home or training facility.
Instead of traveling to Tucson to tackle Mt. Lemmon or Austin to wrestle the continuous rollers of Texas hill country, you can pop in the DVD (or download the video from the company website) from these or several other amazing ride locations around the
U.S. — and ride your trainer as the gorgeous terrain tracks by. I decided to tackle the climb up Mt. Lemmon.
The video starts with 3 cyclists and one follow vehicle capturing the action. The images are simple and basic, with only you, your 3 companions and the road to share the pain for the next 70 minutes. Thecamera angles switch from bike to car and back
again. Some show the cyclists at work, some just the open road, and others show the ???on the bike??? perspective.
The dashboard display at the bottom of the screen shows an outline of the ride broken down in 20-minute sections by 5-minute blocks. It includes a gradient profile and a recommended heart rate zone for the climb, so you can imitate the effort based on
your own heart rate readout. The dashboard also includes a timer readout so you know where you are in terms of the ride’s duration.
The scenery is most definitely beautiful, and the climb is not for the faint of heart. This particular video, rated ???Hard,??? is great for a muscle tension workout. It features a slow, steady-as-she-goes, long climb that allows you to settle into
a regular cadence and HR zone, without much variance.
Other videos in the epicRIDES series could be tapped for other types of workouts, depending on your training needs and goals. They range from difficulty ratings of Moderate, with low-end durations of 45 minutes, to Very Hard for an ascent of Mt. Baldy,
with a duration of one hour, 35 minutes.
Some DVDs on the market feature a coach-as drill-instructor cajoling captive trainer riders to go harder, stretch their limits, pick up the pace. Yet others replicate the race-day on-the-bike experience and energizing pack riding. If you’re looking for
either of those things, then look elsewhere.
epicRIDE’s videos are designed to provide a scenic route (they really are eye candy!), along with the dashboard display, to allow you to self-pace and rack up those indoor miles. And they serve the purpose well. Other than making the trek to the scenic
locales where these videos are filmed, you’llrarely see more gorgeous terrain (unless, perhaps, from the helicopter shots at the Tour de France or the USA Pro Cycling Challenge).
But there are some drawbacks that could be improved upon. As the literature that comes with the DVD points out, the music is a bit on the poor quality side. it’s that typical ???repetitious driving beat??? you might hear in a spin or dance class. I would
recommend setting up your favorite playlist on your iPod or home stereo — and muting the video — to make the workout a bit more tolerable from that perspective.
The company does offer some extras, though, including downloadable training guides, music mixes, power profiles (for programmable trainers), and route maps.
These videos work well as an addition to your indoor trainer workout training regimen. I personally wouldn’t use these for every single workout, but they certainly can add much-needed variety. Also, these workouts could end up costing you more than
the suggested retail price. I now want to go to Tucson and ride Mt. Lemmon. No doubt you’ll want to check out the real-life locale of whichever epicRIDES videos you plug into your DVD player or download on your tablet.
William Bruning is a Cat 4 racer who lives in Atlanta. An avid recreational roadie, he’s ridden for more than 25 years.