Trapped: a Story of Winter

Trapped: a Story of Winter

During the winter of 1995 I got a VHS cassette in the mail. You, our readers, are, generally speaking, old enough not to need explanations of “VHS” or “cassette,” I hope. It was an era now gone, like record stores and retirement plans. The VHS tape was a recorded workout from the nascent Cycleops outfit. It featured a bunch of up-and-comers, like Tyler Hamilton. The workout was, in my distant memory, some 40 or so minutes. It was just a single workout and the camera work cut from aspiring triathlete to aspiring pro cyclist (Hamilton was wearing his Montgomery Bell kit, which remains to this day one of the ugliest kits ever committed to polyester) astride their Cycleops trainers, to shots of the Colorado winter outside the studio.

I dutifully mounted my bike on my trainer, put my headphones on so I could hear the thumping soundtrack over the sound of my wind trainer, and followed what Coach Troy Jacobson was directing us to do during the “Spinervals.”

At the conclusion of a particularly grueling interval, I noticed that the resistance didn’t seem to back off, even after downshifting. I turned around only to observe that the trainer, during my cross-eyed effort, had scooted across the floor (more than two feet) and had come to rest with my rear tire against the living room sofa. I climbed off the bike, pulled the trainer forward and saw that there was a long black streak on the front of a cushion, with a hole burned in the fabric right in the middle of the streak. Through that quarter-sized hole you could see yellow foam.

I ordered a new cushion cover before my wife could get home from shopping. This was in the earliest days of the Internet. There was no Amazon and the manufacturer didn’t have a web site. Somehow I found a phone number for the manufacturer, called them on a Saturday, and managed to order the (correct) new cover. I no longer recall how I did those things. How did I even find out what fabric pattern I needed?

My wife was livid when she saw what I’d done. That it was an accident seemingly made it worse. She never let me live that event down. Today, I wear that event as a badge of honor. I also call my wife by a different name.

I rode a trainer so hard I burned a hole in upholstery. Beat that.

History shows that I entered the 1995 season in the best condition I’d enjoyed so far. I won the Bay State Games 5k Nordic Freestyle race and cracked the top-ten in some early season mountain bike races, which was a first for me.

That couch had it coming.


Image: Lori Stalteri, Flickr Creative Commons


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  1. Pat O'Brien

    That is an event worth remembering. And, yea, I remember VHS and record stores. As far as the snow goes, a certain Mad Dog says to be glad it’s coming down, because you will be drinking it in July.

    1. TomInAlbany

      Not gettin’ any of the white stuff here in Albany, NY. The great lakes’ snowsheds are doing just fine though.

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