January 11, 2013

The Pain Cave: Cycling inside during winter

The frozen landscape of Michigan
Winter cycling can have its own unique challenges. There are some brave souls who bike year round no matter what the weather is. I'm more of a 3 season cyclist. I don't mind the cold or precipitation, as long as they are mutually exclusive. 

Going nowhere
Winter is traditionally when a cyclist hunkers down into some sort of small space in their basement and grinds out hours of watts seemingly going nowhere and generating little more than sweat, commotion, and heat. This designated area for voluntary suffering is commonly known as "the pain cave". The Sufferfest has taken this motif to its extreme and created an entire video set and culture (cult following?) around it. 

Spinning for hours and not going anywhere can be just as much of a psychological workout as a physical one. Music helps. Sometimes I try to watch a video or movie, but if it's too good then you get distracted and end up with a mediocre workout. 

The anatomy of a pain cave
The required elements of a pain cave are a bike and something that keeps you stationary and from flying into the wall (a trainer or rollers), otherwise you'd have a velodrome and that would be amazingly awesome and I'd want to come over to your house every day. The other items that are commonly found are a fan, some towels, and something to elevate the front wheel. The fan and towels combat the heat and sweat generated during a workout and the wheel elevation helps simulate hills for certain workouts.
Pain Cave

Now with front wheel elevated to simulate a hill

1 comment:

  1. I love the image and symbolism of the "pain cave".