Enter the Pain Cave

I hate rain. I hate cold. I hate wind. Say what you want, call me a wuss, I don’t care. Riding in a torrential downpour was novel, when I was 20. Getting blown 5 feet sideways across a bike lane used to be exhilarating, now the wind just makes my ears ache. In grade school, 35 degrees meant it might snow and school could be cancelled – AWESOME!!! Now, it means there is absolutely NO WAY I am getting out on a bike to train. I could leave the house looking like Ralphy’s little brother in A Christmas Story, and still my body would instantly shut down all blood flow to my extremities, stubbornly refusing to restore any sensation besides pain and numbness until I get my lame butt the heck out of the cold. Trainer in the living room? No way. Have you ever tried to catch 10 birds flying amok in the living room? Not gonna happen. You cage the first one or two, but the rest of them quickly catch on to the game. Smart enough to run away, not smart enough to stay off the bike when it is on the trainer – bad combo, nuff said. Train in another room? Nope. One is full of bikes, the other has a room mate, and the bedroom has 4 boring walls – no stereo, no TV – I wouldn’t last an hour. Sit on the couch and get fat? Mistress H. wouldn’t have it. In fact, she has me on the bike way more than I am used to in the winter, and this winter has been a doosy in the weather department – rain, wind, hail and even a bit of snow have blessed us this season. Skiers rejoice, I pout like a 6 year old. So what is a girl to do?

Enter the Pain Cave. It so happens that our roommate of 4 years got an offer he couldn’t refuse – a house to himself down the street, and by January we had an empty room. It was a no brainer, instead of caving in an paying way too much money to belong to a crappy gym, we decided to spend way too much money on a training room. Nasty carpet ripped out, closet shelves torn out, funky broken moldy tile knocked out with a hammer and chisel, and in no time the cave was ready for paint. The cave had to be a place I wanted to be, so a color that lured me in, and kept me smiling was key. We (I) decided on Spring Azalea. Yeah, it is pink. It is a very red pink though. Aggressive and warm without being angry. Lighting was also going to have to change. One ugly incandescent bulb on the wall was not going to cut it. I have always liked rope lights, and we found a ceiling fixture that used LED bulbs – light without the heat -perfect! Next was the fun part. Shopping!!! We decked out the former closet with a 42 inch flat screen and a surround sound receiver. Our best bro Patrick built us custom shelves for the sound system, my computer and knick knacks with pegs for towels, gloves and HR chest straps. Sweat proof flooring was a must. Found some stuff that was made just for our purpose, and it snapped together like a puzzle, no glue necessary – bonus! All that was left was the ride.

We chose the CycleOps Power 300. Three words: smooth, quiet, stable. Did I mention smooth? That was my main gripe with portable trainers. They never felt smooth, I couldn’t stand the jerky, inconsistent resistance which I could never quit fiddle away. The CycleOps eliminates this completely. I also never felt that I could go all out on the portable, I was always afraid I would rip the wheel out of the clamps. The big bonus is not having to swap wheels, or otherwise waste time setting up the portable. And Mistress H is thrilled that I can send her power data so she can more accurately assign my torture.


Spending time in the Pain Cave is easy. It hurts, but I don’t have to be cold. In fact, after long, grueling workouts, I even get to pour sweat out of my shoes. Somehow sprint Intervals just don’t seem as dreary when Metallica is egging you on, and cadence drills are machine-like when your pistons are synced with System of a Down. And those long, active recovery hours? CSI marathon makes ’em fly by! Rain? Cold? Wind? Effing BRING IT! I will be in the Pain Cave. Sound good? There is room for two 🙂

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