I am daydreaming about ergo while at work, as you do. Those little 10 sec/20 sec/30 second intervals of leg deadening burn, with cranks that get heavier, bottom brackets that seize up with each pedal stroke, each tick of the stopwatch in Coach’s hand. Seated start, fly wheel and chain still and anticipating, cranks cocked and ready to churn on the press of a button and a “when you’re ready”.
Each interval is full noise: ergos are noisy, and full noise is as hard as you can go, getting the most noise from the big yellow flywheel behind you. Ergo noise hides no secrets – any change of cadence, rhythm, torque is immediately spoken of by the fly wheel. Coach’s eye monitors your suffering via your body position and stillness (or lack of it), but it’s his ear that knows how well you are coping, how much power you’re putting out, when the cadence drops or you start chopping down on the pedals, using quads and hip flexors instead of glutes, hammies and abs. Full noise is rowdy but also smooth and rhythmic. I don’t hear it as I usually have my eyes screwed tight with effort and concentration, and my hearing tuned in to the little inner coach growling, demanding more from my legs, ignoring pleas from the physiological monitor to stop, imagining the light at the top of the climb only 30 or 40 or 50 metres away, hanging the memory of relief in finally dropping the chain from big ring to small out there, carrot-like, to be had once again when time is up. Full noise ridicules your weaknesses, torments when you lose it, an absolute grind against body and brain, a constant, demanding challenge with no release, an illusive reward, and a complement of achievement and candid, bone-sweating work.