“We’re Not Animali”: Written in Blood on the Wall of My Pain Cave

You know what bike hell is?  It’s a perfectly heated room and a rear skewer locked into a trainer.

Bikes hate trainers. I’m telling you.  More than I do. Even your prissy, fancy road bikes that claim they hate to get wet – trust me, they hate trainers more.

Trainers are an affront to the heart of the bike, not to mention the heart of a cyclist.

Here’s a vehicle strapped in place – frantic.  Here’s an engine revving, revving, revving.

I watch Goodfellas projected onto the wall in front of me because the casual violence is a consolation. It’s my favorite movie and I can quote every line, and anticipate every spattering of blood, every viciously executed pistol-whipping.

Karen lets the FBI in with her vacant valium stare. Henry screws Janice. Pauly cuts fresh garlic with a razor. Tommy kills Spider.  Jimmy strangles Morrie with the telephone cord. Bobby Vinton sends a bottle of champagne to the table and a bead of sweat rolls down his forehead.

Heidi spins intervals on the trainer.

One after another.  Empty, mindless pain.  Sweat in a cascade.  A hand-towel on the tops.  Surround-sound.  Darkness.

Pauly sits across from Henry and tells him to go back to his wife.  “What are you going to do?” he asks, “Get a divorce?  We’re not animali…”

But Pauly is wrong.  We are animals.

Which is why, when you strap us to a computer and set us on a hamster-machine, a little part of us goes fucking nuts.

Don’t get me wrong – the trainer stuff is important and worthy.

It’s just not right.

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  1. Good grief woman, get yourself out under bitter cold skies! The solstice comes and long days of sun light will be ahead rather than behind us. Revel in the winter that Ullr and Skadi provide!

  2. I know, I know.
    It was the ice and darkness together that confounded me. Commuting in it ok. Trying to go fast? Hard.
    I’m weak. And soft.
    Ullr and Skadi will forgive me?

  3. Brilliant.

    But might I suggest something a little lighter next time? Triplets of Belleville? You might even convince Sally to tweet a whistle from time to time to keep your cadence up.

  4. Ooh, I disagree.

    Nothing light will do for trainer workouts. Nothing. No light intervals, light movies, or light music. No light, for that matter. Sit in a dark sauna born of your own suffering with dark movies and dark music and suffer.

  5. hm i was just watching the weather channel on my trainer last night.

    Does that count as dark and brooding?

  6. Sell the trainer and buy a set of rollers, seriously.

  7. It’s on the list. Promise.

  8. Trainers…rollers…I’ve always thought they were a time machine to the Devils workshop. Just looking to suck in an unsuspecting cyclist. I do believe there is one lurking about here, but My bikes avoid it like the metal bin at the recycling center. Beware anything that does’nt feet your cycling soul.

  9. Hmmmm, maybe you’re onto something with the dark trainer viewing. I watched a “It’s Me or the Dog” marathon yesterday afternoon. The only time my heart rate really got up was when I was laughing at the stupid people that they let own dogs in England.

  10. I don’t think you should use the phrase ‘pain cave’ at all.

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