At 3:56 am my alarm goes off. Seriously. F*** the trainer. Again. Ugh. Immediately, a list of absurd excuses race through my head: “It's too early; I can always hop on it after work and my swim tonight; I don’t know where my shoes are; My Ipad battery is dead; My speaker is dead; It's too cold; It's too hot; My water bottle has old water in it; It can wait until tomorrow.” Finally, after much internal bickering, I convince myself to man up and get out of bed and hit the bike. With one foot on the pedal, my son wakes up and cries for me…awesome. Saved.

The bike has never been my favorite part of a triathlon. I find it redundant and boring. Many people enjoy this time to refuel, rehydrate and cruise. I hate it. Joe Friel described a triathlon as "a bike race with a swim warm-up and a jog to the finish." When you think about it I guess he has a point, with more than half the time you have to complete an Ironman spent on this fancy combination of carbon and aluminum.

I hate the trainer. I despise it so much I would go so far as to say I consider it one of my worst enemies. I am pretty sure there is nothing more mind-numbing in this world than bouncing up and down (insert dirty mind visual) at varying speeds staring at the same TV screen for an hour or more. I will find any excuse to skip it, but with the majority of your time during a triathlon spent on the bike, I am sure that there is some value in the thing other than a cheap thrill.

The trainer does have some benefit in my social life--I recently have developed a relationship with the neighborhood squirrel. We have now met on three separate occasions. Now I hate squirrels, I find them to be rats of the suburbs, just mildly cuter…but not much. This particular squirrel knows it and mocks me every chance he gets. He reads my mind and knows I am in my version of Hell while on this thing. This demonic rodent struts by me, then walks up to my porch and steals a gourd (which have yet to see the trash now that we are fully into the winter). He then scurries back across the yard, but not before glancing at me with a smug “ha ha you are on the trainer and I stole another gourd” look on his face. Thief.

That squirrel knows. He knows the only thing that keeps me going on the trainer is the guilty pleasure I find in watching reruns of Orange is the New Black. I can watch that show for hours. My friends recommend watching past Ironman World Championships--I cannot handle that. If I wanted to watch a race I would go. Plus, you already know who wins. I, on the other hand, prefer to watch the soft-core porn Netflix offers.

However you choose to occupy your mind on the dreadful trainer, it does serve its purpose. Riding 112 miles without hitting the trainer is rough--not impossible, but rough. Take it from me, I know. Friel was right. It is a bike race, but, short of moving to a warmer climate, there has got to be a better way to get off on cycling…perhaps looking at pictures of Jesse Thomas and Matt Lieto in the 2015 “Men of Triathlon” calendar will help!