Rides: North Carolina

Sage Rountree
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Indoor Cycling

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“Rides: North Carolina” is the third in a series of virtual reality cycling DVDs produced by Endurance Films.

The series uses an on-screen dashboard showing your Critical Power, RPM, Heart Rate Zone, interval timer, and type of interval, for example, standing climb. An interactive menu explains these features. There is also a countdown clock in the top left-hand corner of the screen for the entire workout. The occasional coaching tip also appears on screen; this is handy if you are cycling without the optional coaching track featured on this and the more recent “Rides” DVDs.

From time to time, motivational sayings and facts about the region also pop up on the screen. At first I found this distracting, but as I have become more familiar with the rides, I find they add interest.

On “Rides: North Carolina”, you will be riding with a group of five local and interstate cyclists and triathletes. The DVD uses a combination of shots filmed from the cyclists’ point of view, shots of the group riding straight at the camera and filmed from behind, and the occasional “helmet cam” shot. In this way, the DVD gives you the feeling of riding in a pack. This is great for someone like me who is far too much of a wuss to ever ride on the road.

“Rides: North Carolina” follows the Carrboro Classic Duathlon course, a 23 mile loop through hilly farmland in the Piedmont region, starting from the Maple View Dairy. A pop-up map at the beginning of the ride shows the route. I appreciate this because, while it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever ride North Carolina, I like to visualise where I’m going. The map, showing the distance travelled, also pops several times on the ride, which I always find motivating.

The ride lasts for 59 minutes, including a four-minute cool down. At the end of the ride, the cyclists high-five each other, then head off to the dairy for a home-made ice-cream. But as a virtual cyclist, you’ll have to make do with a virtual ice-cream!

The DVD has a choice of two soundtracks. You can listen to either soft rock instrumental music and coaching from Sage Rountree - a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling Certified Coach and popular yoga instructor - or vocal rock tracks from the “coolest indie bands around” and no coaching.

As you would expect from a yogini, Sage provides constant reminders of form and breathing. She has a pleasant voice and a great sense of humour. At one point on the ride, there is a shot of some cows by the side of the road and Sage says, “The cows are impressed with your continuous hard work. Keep it up!”

Although the coaching is geared towards cyclists using a trainer rather than spinners, I found it very easy to follow. Sage talks about “adding some resistance” rather than chain rings.

This DVD includes a bonus stretching section, as well as a segment in which the riders introduce themselves and talk about their cycling experiences.

You can see clips of the “Rides” DVDs and buy them from http://www.endurancefilms.com.

I would highly recommend “Rides: North Carolina”. A great deal of care and thought has clearly gone into the production, the hilly terrain gives you a good workout, and the alternative soundtracks offer a varied experience. Five stars out of five.

Instructor Comments:
Sage has a pleasant voice and engaging personality. She introduces all the cyclists throughout the ride and her cycling experience shows. Her breathing and form pointers are very helpful.