Just the idea of turbo training can strike fear and trepidation into even the most keen road cyclist. Overcoming boredom and finding motivation to simulate an outdoor ride are two of the bigger obstacles to tackle, which is where the guys from 3LC come in.
Isle of Man based company Three Legs Cycling have produced a range of five DVDs which aim to jump start your winter of indoor training. All aspects of road cycling are covered; road racing (including women's specific racing), sprinting, time trialling and climbing each get their own DVD.
Each session is around an hour in duration and designed to keep things as simple as possible. Think you need heart rate monitors and power meters to make your indoor training effective? As much as they will help, they come at huge expense, so 3LC have tried to cut all that out. All you need is your bike, a turbo and preferably something to measure cadence. This means that while there is only one workout on each DVD, you can work to a different goal each time by adjusting resistance.
Each DVD sees a group of riders from the local Isle of Man cycling scene line up like you would in a spin class. And these aren't just any cyclists - World Champion Mark Cavendish shows up in the road racing and sprinting workouts, offering pointers from the sidelines in the road racing session before breaking out the Lycra and showing who's boss for the sprinting DVD. It was quite reassuring to see the reigning Tour de France green jersey holder suffering as much as the others.
3LC Director Steve Williams, a good friend of Cavendish and keen cyclist himself, told BikeRadar he came up with idea after becoming "bored to tears" with some of his previous indoor training. After getting the initial idea, he roped in his brother David, who had experience in television production, to put the films together. To capture a fly on the wall-type experience, 19 cameras were used for each session.
One of the biggest hurdles they needed to jump was getting a number of elite cyclists, including Peter Kennaugh Jr and Jonny Bellis, into the studio at the same time. They eventually settled on shooting between Christmas and New Year in 2010, which you might think was a wrench for a superstar like Cavendish. That couldn't be further from the truth, says Williams. "He's an absolute gentleman and as soon as he knew all his Manx mates would be involved, he couldn't wait to get involved. We couldn't get rid of him in the end - he was the last man on the studio set! You can't believe the banter and camaraderie that exists on the Isle of Man. Mark is the biggest joker of all but also our biggest ambassador. More importantly he is just one of the lads."
There was little chance of him taking it easy either, even though the Christmas period will be one of his only opportunities to put his feet up. "You can see why he's World Champion - he was like a red rag to a bull once we got started," he added.
3LC are an Isle of Man-based company headed by Peter Kennaugh Snr, father of Kennaugh Jr. Despite having a population of around 80,000, the island has produced its fair share of elite cyclists and is a real hotbed for amateur racing. Apart from Cav, Kennaugh Jnr and Bellis, other Manx professionals popping up in the DVDs include Tim Kennaugh, Mark Christian and Chris Whorral. Milk Race stage winner Rob Holden and former British National Champion Steve Joughlin both acted as session motivators.