"Element Multisport,":http://www.elementmultisport.com/ a triathlon-focused shop just over the hot dog bridge at Damen and Clybourn, joins the team as a new sponsor in 2009 and offers a fantastic and fun service: simulated racing via 6 linked computrainers. Teammates have been sweating it out to see who's going to win, who can crank up the highest speed and wattage, and who can survive the hilly courses and still be able to ride home.
(image: "Dave":http://www.flickr.com/photos/7790682@N06/ )
The workout "race courses" simulate different road, triathlon, and European classic races and range from fairly flat to punishingly hilly. The programs calculate rider speed and wattage based on input from a calibrated stationary trainer and rider weight. It allows the team to have a group ride where each rider regardless of strength gets a great workout and gives us the chance to get to know teammates without having anyone get dropped.
Our team developed some new approaches where anyone who quits automatically becomes the water boy, and anyone who finishes early can ride "neutral" or "anchor" for folks who need a break. It's been fun to watch some of the newer members really destroy the group, to see women really compete head-to-head with some of the guys, and to see what a difference weight makes in how far an effort takes you. (Note to self: lose 10 lb.)
If you're looking for a way to ride more hills, for an indoor workout for the nasty winter weather, or for a chance to see how you measure up against your friends, Element is the place to go!