From a boring obligation when the weather was bad to a high-resolution interactive fun experience, indoor cycling has grown with technology to an amazing extent. We can ride the famous climbs of the Tour de France virtually, race against friends, or get the benefits of focused training plans. One of the most advanced applications Wahoo SYSTM presents a varied palette for those spinning indoors and of these the “On Location” series offers a unique approach.
Familiar to many PEZ readers, the excellent Col Collective videos on YouTube, detailing Europe’s great climbs, was the work of Mike Cotty, whom we interviewed here in 2016. He supplied some of the video clips used in The Sufferfest training videos, which have now become part of the Wahoo SYSTM. Finding himself with lots of excellent video material to edit during the pandemic and with his familiarity with some of Europe’s most beautiful cycling regions, he worked with David McQuillen, founder of The Sufferfest, to develop a new project, and the result is the “On Location” series.
each “On Location” video is a unique combination of training program and travelogue. From the comfort of your home trainer, you will accompany Mike as he rides through fantastic scenery in France and Spain. Unlike The Sufferfest training videos, there is no music to allow the viewer to become fully immersed in the experience. Unlike apps that feature racing, this is much more like a ride with friends, the kind of thing we do in real life. Mike not only provides encouragement when we are going up the climbs together but he also talks about what makes the region special. You will learn about geography, history, local cuisine and visit interesting workshops as you catch your breath between efforts. Examples of the last include learning how soap is made in Marseille and how the steel balls used in the popular game of pétanque, invented in Provence and similar to bocce.
The goal of “On Location” is to take advantage of Mike’s personal experiences and present a view of regions where one can aspire to ride, or relive a ride already experienced, or just enjoy a place you might never get to visit. Each video provides structured training and a solid workout to make you a better athlete. Indoor training is not riding outdoors so the key to make it work is to make it enjoyable. Motivation lies at the heart of “On Location” and its immersive approach.
The scenery in the videos is breath-taking and it is impressive that these beautiful videos can be produced by a team of only three people. While Mike is excellent company there is some work required to get through the training elements in “On Location.” And while he makes us hurt a bit while distracted by the cliffs and coastal scenery, on the other side of the globe there is a counterpart doing the same thing for us in Tasmania. Nicole Frain, current Australian national road champion, shows us around the island of Tasmania, home to an impressive group of top Australian cyclists. For those of us who are not familiar with Tassie, the “On Location” series gives a nice overview of the capital, Hobart, the island’s attractions and history and, yes, more climbs. Ms. Frain is a genial guide but it is good that this is a video trip as she could easily drop us as she pedals upwards with not much apparent effort. David McQuillen, who shot the video, told me that he had trouble keeping up with her on an e-bike!
So. where can you ride on “On Location?” At present there are five regions covered: Catalunya, the French Pyrenees, the Mediterranean Coast, Provence and Tasmania. Coming up will be rides in Portugal, Galicia, the Lake Como region, and eventually Slovenia and Croatia. The selection of current videos have a running time ranging from a very relaxed 30 minute ride around Hobart City to a nearly 90 minute ride from Nice to Menton on the Mediterranean shore. There are four different rides for each of the locations, making 20 in all as of this writing.
Wahoo SYSTM recently added the RGT app to its offerings and using this app you can invite your friends to ride the same courses featured in “On Location” in a virtual rendering, hopefully being able to crush them on those climbs after riding with Mike and Nicole!
As noted, Wahoo SYSTM offers a very diverse range of programs. In addition to The Sufferfest training videos and “On Location,” there are videos that put you into the pro peloton or let you spend a week with a noted cycling personality. Add in comprehensive training plans that not only cover riding but also strength, yoga, and mental focus, coupled with the RGT interactive app, and you may never leave the Pain Cave.
“On Location” is only available through the Wahoo SYSTM app. A 14 day free trial is available, so check it out here: wahoofitness.com/systm,and you can get SYSTM and RGT for the price of one via Wahoo X: https://www.wahoofitness.