At the Beginner's Triathlon I learned that one of the local training facilities was hosting a Vineman CompuTrainer ride. I didn't know what a CompuTrainer was, but thought I should probably give it a try.
The CompuTrainer allows you to ride the course on a spin trainer. They've programmed the entire course - every hill and valley - into the trainer. The computer factors in your weight (ouch!) and your riding style. On the trainer is there's is absolutely no coasting. You can't rest at all on the downhills; you've got to pedal the entire route. The coach leading the session said the CompuTrainer is about 20% harder than a real ride because there's no rest.
You're probably thinking that this must be incredibly boring. You are so right! It was a grind of riding - no scenery, no wind, nothing. Just 6 people pedaling and staring at the computer screen.
In addition to the mind numbing there is butt numbing. The bike is locked in position and you never get to move on the seat. I don't care how much chamois butter you slap on, 4 hours locked on the bike seat hurts.
I started the session with 6 other riders. When we hooked up my bike, I realized there was a problem with the shifting. It would not go into my big ring. Craptastic! I decided to ride anyway; if my shifting didn't work on race day I'd tough it out in my small ring.
About an hour into the ride the computer crashed. You're kidding me, right? Nope, we had to restart and reride the entire first hour. One of the riders bailed right there. I didn't really blame her.
I toughed it out - no big ring, restart, boredom and butt pain. It'll be worth it if I finish Vineman.