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The Ginger Avenger's one-hour Man vs Machine battle

The Ginger Avenger's one-hour Man vs Machine battle



Planet X track hero Richard Prince is so bored of riding his turbo trainer that he's writing about it rather than doing it. Read on to find out how much you'll have to suffer to beat him next season.

Bike set up in the Power Simulation Unit, water bottles full, fan positioned and turned on full power, towels ready at the side and on the floor under the bike, iPod charged and headphones on, shoes, shorts and vest. Power meter ready and a session plan set out on the stem as a focus for the battle ahead.

You wouldn't be surprised to be at the home of GB cycling but wait – wardrobe door closed, window open as far as it can go and the TV turned up to drown out the noise about to fill the air for the next hour.

The Venue: The Hilton. The Man: Ginger Avenger. The Machine: The Turbo.

A simple five minute warm up stops me getting so bored I don't pull the pin and bail out to a cheap pizza and beer in the bar. Then it begins, a mixture between pleasure and pain. Everyone who has pissed me off that days gets an interval.

First it's three minutes at time trial pace, legs pounding at 390 watts with the constant resistance of the turbo. Where's the tail wind? Is the bike straight. Is my tyre flat? NO! It just sucks.

Then I rest, change the tunes on the iPod and switch to gangster rap! Three minutes later and round two. This time Dr Dre blasting about shooting stuff and b'atches and my lungs are burning, trying to get in enough air. It's warm, no breeze, the fan isn't working well enough and now my saddle's too low. Watts stay good at 390 and I am in – count down from 2 minutes 45 seconds to zero!

Three then four, until finally rep five. By this point I am grabbing the bars in different positions every 20 seconds to distract from the boredom, spitting on the wardrobe, sweat dripping on the floor and the room stinks. My saddle is too high, too low and not straight. The room has no oxygen and on the third floor of the Hilton it feels like training in Colorado at altitude.

Now the session gets interesting. I don't have time to get to the velodrome to race so simulation is all I can do. The National Madison Championship is 10 weeks away and the best outcome is a slow death, the worst a complete humiliation. It's time to sprint and recover. One minute on, one minute off for the next 20 minutes. Full gas, no prisoners, max effort, all out.

Sweat dripping down my face and arms, I'm grunting and moaning like a pair of gorillas having sex in the jungle. The corridors of the Hilton are filled with the noise of the Turbo humming a tune – a tune of pure pain.

The countdown begins. 55 seconds to go: all fine. 45 seconds to go: change grip on the bars. 30 seconds to go: try and visualise the last two laps of a race, move hands to the brake hoods, back to the drops and now in the centre of the bars, grunting and moaning, sweat dripping and pedalling squares. What the hell am I doing – and why?

9 more seconds to go... and for that reason, I'm out! The machine wins.

Richard Prince


9 December 2011

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