Rides: Hill Country

Danny Kolker
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Indoor Cycling

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Those who thought the other virtual cycling DVDs in the “Rides” series weren’t long enough will love Volume 5: “Hill Country”. Clocking in at 1 hour 20 minutes, “Hill Country” is a challenging 29-mile ride along the hilly terrain of the Indiana-Kentucky border.

If you want an extra challenge, the DVD includes a bonus “Hill Repeat Workout” which lets you program up to five repeats of a hill climb (nine minutes up and back) in Louisville, Kentucky. The producers say that if you’re a competitive cyclist, the bonus hill section “will help you make any grade”.

Like the rest of the “Rides” series, “Hill Country” uses an on-screen dashboard showing your Critical Power, RPM, Heart Rate Zone, interval timer, and type of interval, for example, standing climb. There is also a countdown clock in the top left-hand corner of the screen for the entire workout. A pop-up map at the beginning of the ride shows the route; it also appears several times during the ride showing the distance travelled. This volume includes some additional features: you can turn the coaching on or off, and also turn off the motivational sayings and facts about the region which pop up on the screen.

On “Rides: Hill Country”, you will be riding with the Calistoga Café Cycling Team in beautiful green countryside. 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 a distance, and the occasional “helmet cam” shot. In this way, the DVD gives you the feeling of riding in a pack. The cinematography in this volume is particularly good and the music, non-intrusive soft rock, suits the pace of the ride.

Fittingly for an endurance ride, narrator Danny Kolker keeps you focused, with no extraneous chit-chat. At the end of the ride, he says, “If you made it this far, you can consider yourself part of our team — and a veteran of hill country.” The ride finishes in New Albany, Indiana as the cyclists head into town.

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

I would highly recommend “Rides: Hill Country” as a realistic virtual cycling experience, and as a challenging endurance ride. Five stars out of five.

Instructor Comments:
Danny Kolker is clearly an experienced cyclist who loves riding. He keeps me focused and motivated throughout the entire ride.