Best Trainer Movie Ever

I’m trying to minimize the effects of my Ironman training on my family. This means doing my long run midweek (a good idea for anyone in IM training who can swing it, in fact) and, until it gets too long to fit in logistically, my long ride on Friday while the kids are in school. With the sudden return of winter to North Carolina—39 and drizzling today, with a forecast of gloomy weather through the weekend—this meant I put in an epic ride on the bike trainer today.

While I can’t stand four minutes on a treadmill, I can stand four hours on the trainer. Maybe it’s my experience in indoor cycling classes. Riding the trainer is easier than teaching: I don’t have to talk. I get to zone out and watch movies. Today I watched two. The second was Definitely, Maybe, and it wasn’t bad, but it certainly suffered in comparison to the first one, which has got to be the Best Trainer Movie Ever, American Flyers. (Thanks to my friend Hollis for the loan—she loves this movie so much, she owns the DVD.)
What does American Flyers have to offer you? I hopped off the bike to grab a notepad, so I could enumerate its virtues.
  • Racing. Lots of racing. Before the actual racing, there are races with a steamboat, a dog (enjoy the clip below), and cowboys on horses. In each of these race scenes, I’d glance down to see my power and HR numbers had gone up.
  • A sports performance lab with athletes sporting 80s hairstyles and workout clothes
  • A treadmill graded “torture test”
  • Both male and female nudity (including Kevin Costner’s fanny)
  • Jennifer Grey in a funny bit part (they do put Baby in a corner, metaphorically)
  • GOAT Eddie Merckx and references to his nickname in the antagonist rider
  • Cold War drama, including a rider resentful of the boycott of the 1980 Olympics, and a Soviet rider with bulging muscles and a bushy beard
  • Lines like, “Enough of the Sunday stroll. Let’s hurt a little bit!”
  • Rae Dawn Chong (she can change a rear wheel like a master!)
  • Dramatic crashes, including one near-wreck that had me flinching, crying, and screaming at the TV, glad to be safe in my living room
  • Hilarious phallic imagery in an implied-sex scene set to the national anthem
  • Touching family drama

Seriously, the family drama was touching, if overdone. I do tend to cry at both televised sports and schmaltzy movies, so I was a goner. I went through a lot of tissues (and a few during movie number two). Here’s the scene from my saddle by the end of the ride.