I subbed a 75 minute class last Saturday morning and absolutely loved the extra 25 minutes of the ride. I felt so energized after the class that it got me thinking about longer spin classes. Spinning Master Instructor Josh Taylor does a famous (infamous?) two or three hour Mount Everest ride - details here. As we cooled down after Saturday’s ride, I asked for a show of hands: how many participants would be interested in doing a two hour ride? Five hands went up. Pretty good. (Now, in fairness, I also put the question to my regular Wednesday night class who do 50 minutes and not a single hand went up, but we had a laugh about it.) So it’s not for every class or even every gym, but I think there’ s a place for longer rides.
Here’s the idea: a bunch of local gyms get together and advertise a two hour ride (name it after a local peak or call it the Tour de Your-Home-Town). Schedule it for a Saturday morning about three months away at whatever gym has the most bikes in their spin room. (My town has a gym with 35 bikes.) Riders sign up and pay a fee (say, $50?) and will get a t-shirt to wear on the day of the ride. The rest of the proceeds go to a local charity. Offer the participants training rides for the three Saturdays before the event. The first week, they ride for 60 minutes. The second week, 75 minutes. The third week, 90 minutes. The fourth week is the long ride, taught solo or as a team. Participants can choose to train on their own, but training is a must for a ride this long. I am going to pitch it to my gym for this fall and see how it goes. If it’s a success, we could start doing it annually, or even a few times a year.
This is the playlist I used for the 75 minute ride. It’s my Edge of Glory playlist expanded by six songs to add another 25 minutes of work. Why is it only 66 minutes long if the ride was for 75 minutes? I tend to pause the music between songs to tee up the next drill, so I need about 10% less music than I have class time.
Rolling in the Deep – ADELE (3:48): When reader Chris first touted this song as one of the best of 2010 I took a listen and thought, meh – I wasn’t sure how to spin to it. Since Chris mentioned it, it’s exploded and multiple listenings have made me an Adele convert – this 21 year old Brit is uber-talented. It would work as a seated climb, but here, I’m using its energy for a warm up. Kudos, Chris – you called this one.
S&M – Rihanna (4:03): Okay, I’m aware that chasing a song as complex and delicious as Rolling in the Deep with S&M is like chasing a gourmet meal with a Big Mac, but stay with me, okay? The thing is, the chorus is as catchy as the lyrics are insipid and look-at-me salacious. And I’ve always been a sucker for a good beat. We’re going to take the resistance up to 5/10 and come out of the saddle to climb for the verses. For the choruses, we jack up the tension to 7/10 and do 4 count lifts until Rihanna says, “La la la la la come on,” when we switch to two count lifts.
Born this Way – Lady GaGa (4:20): Wikipedia reports that GaGa wrote this song in ten minutes; critics suggest that perhaps this is because it sounds like a rip-off of Madonna’s Express Yourself. Lady Gaga remains fiercely unapologetic about her hit. “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen.” We’re going to sprint here: 30/30/30 seconds. They’re at 0:58 – 1:28, 2:08 – 2:38, and 3:18 – 3:48. Three options for how to do ‘em: as surges, as seated sprints, or as get-out-of-my-face standing sprints. Riders’ choice.
On the Floor (Mixin Mark & Tony Svejda LA to Ibiza Radio Mix) [feat. Pitbull] – Jennifer Lopez (3:17): This was another song that took a while to grow on me, though I loved the video from the beginning. Time for some jumps, mid-tension 6/10. Random intervals: 8/4/2 counts. Mix it up. The end of this song marks the end of the first set.
More (RedOne Jimmy Joker Remix) – Usher (3:40): Take a drink, give your shoulders a roll, but leave that tension where it is. We’ve got a hill to climb. Come up out of the saddle and find your groove. At 1:05, when we hit the first chorus, the song quickens and so do we. Pick up the pace. When the second verse starts, add tension to get to 7/10 and keep going. Pick up the pace for the second chorus. When it ends, add a wee bit more tension 8/10 and push to the top of the hill – it’s going to feel like a slog, always playing catch-up with the beat.
Trouble – P!nk (3:13): P!nk can always be counted on for a good sprint. Let the song guide you here. When the music is slow, recover. As the beat picks up, move into a surge. The choruses are short, snappy, all-out seated sprints: 15/15/15/30 seconds. They’re at 0:17 – 0:32, 0:45 – 1:00, 1:57 – 2:10, and 2:39 – 3:09.
Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You) [feat. Ludacris & DJ Frank E] – Enrique Iglesias (3:52): The REAL version of this song is raunchy enough to make Rihanna’s S&M seem tame by comparison. Let’s just say Enrique wasn’t “lovin’” in the other version. Please excuse him, he doesn’t mean to be rude. We’re going to finish the second set with some more jumps. Resistance 7/10. Start with 4 count on the verses, move to 2 count for the choruses. Hup!
Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor) [feat. T-Pain] – Pitbull (3:56): Last set starts here, so we’re in for another climb. We’re going to leave the tension where it is at 7/10 and stay seated for this one during the verses. For the choruses, we’ll come out of the saddle and into a standing jog. Thanks to my former student, Legalb for suggesting this tune.
Hit it Again - 3OH!3 (3:04): This Boulder, Colorado duo just can’t stay away from controversial lyrics. Here, we have an F-bomb during the chorus, and no radio edit in sight. But it’s so damn catchy. The sprints are 25/25/25 seconds at 0:40 – 1:05, 1:42 - 2:07, and 2:34 – 3:00. If you don’t dare play it, try substituting with Avril Lavigne’s What the Hell (3:40). If you use that one, the sprints are still 25/25/25 seconds long, at 0:45 – 1:10, 1:55 – 2:20, and 2:53 – 3:30.
Blow – Ke$ha (3:40): Thanks to one of my regular riders, Laurie, for suggesting this tune. Last set of jumps 8/4/2 counts switching at 1:15 and 3:00.
River Flows in You (Eclipse Vocal Version) (Radio Mix) - Jasper Forks (3:26): This is where most spin classes end, but today we’re pushing for another 25 minutes. For now, though, a recovery break and a chance to replenish our water. I had about two dozen riders in my class so I had the back two rows go out for water first, then the front two rows. Reader Ove from Sweden put me on to this gorgeous song.
Lose Control (Radio Mix) – Phunk & Beat Thrillerz (feat. Katy Allen) (3:51): A great. big. hill. Ten minutes to the top. We’re already fatigued but doesn’t a challenge taste good? Let’s go. Start with resistance at 4/10 and alternate between regular and aggressive stances, 30 seconds each. If you’ve got lots of juice left, how about doing the ten minutes without a recovery break? Hmm?
Hypnotico – Jennifer Lopez (3:36): Another tune from J.Lo’s new album with a catchy chorus that will run through your head long after the class is over. Jack up the resistance to 7/10 and stay out of the saddle. When Jennifer gets to the choruses, we’re going to switch to four count jumps. There are three choruses at 0:32 – 1:04, 1:32 – 2:05, and 2:39 – 3:27. Decide: are you going to take a break between this song and the next one?
Sweat (Snoop Dogg v. David Guetta) [Remix] – Snoop Dogg and David Guetta (3:16): An appropriately named song to take us to the top of this mother of a hill. Dial the tension back to 4/10, stay out of the saddle, and follow the music to the top. It’s just you and the bike here. We are over an hour into the ride. Close your eyes and just move with the music.
We Won’t Forget (Original Mix Edit) – Robert Nickson (4:30): I threw this song in as a hat tip to Sandy, the regular instructor for this class, who plays a lot of trance. We’re going to do some surges and sprints. First off, a surge from 0 – 1:20. Recover from 1:20 – 3:00. Then from 3:00 – 4:00 we sprint. If you’ve still got lots of juice, do it standing. If you can get through it with a few choice curse words, do it seated. And if you left your juice on the hill we just climbed, do another surge. We rest again from 4:00 – 4:30.
Niton (The Reason) [Radio Edit] – Eric Prydz (2:45): So close now to the finish line. We’ve got a comfortable lead – as long as we keep a strong, steady pace. This one is a tempo drill. Pick a cadence and tension that you can sustain for no more than three minutes and ride it out.
The Edge of Glory – Lady GaGa (5:21): This is GaGa’s latest single, released just days ago and already burning up the charts. GaGa modestly called it “f-ing beautiful.” That’s Clarence Clemons from Springsteen’s E Street Band on the sax. Ego aside, I’ve got to say I agree with GaGa here. This song kicks ass. We thought we had a comfortable lead, but there are riders closing in and the finish line is at the top of a five minute hill. A combo drill, out-of-the-saddle climb during the verses, all-out standing sprints during the choruses 30/30/60 brutal seconds. They’re at 1:04 – 1:34, 2:28 – 2:58, 4:02 – 5:02. Time to get all that energy out. Can you see it through?
Forget You - Cee Lo Green (3:44): We earned this cool down. Take the tension back to an easy 2/10 and spin it out. I confess, I’d never heard of Cee Lo or this song before reader Chris suggested it as one of the best spinning tunes of 2010. Now, the song is everywhere, there’s a Glee version, and Cee Lo is a judge on the NBC talent show, The Voice. Cee Lo isn’t new to the music scene – he’s half of the duo Gnarls Barkley and I’ve used two of his songs on this blog, Gone Daddy Gone and Run (I’m a Natural Disaster). Chris, thanks – you did it again.
Alone Again [feat. P. Reign] – Alyssa Reid (3:57): More cool down and goodbye music. Reid samples Heart’s 1987 hit, Alone and P. Reign raps around it. 18 year old Reid is Canadian; Alberta born, currently living in the Greater Toronto area. This tune hit #11 on Billboard’s Canadian Hot 100.
So way back in April of 2010, I wrote about a local spin studio that uses Real Ryder bikes (check out the post here). The cool thing about these bikes is that they are supposed to steer, lean, and feel like road bikes. Today, thanks to a pretty excellent Groupon, I got over there for a class on them. My verdict? The jury is still out. They definitely steer and lean. They definitely engage your core, hip muscles, and upper arms in a way that a stationary spinning bike doesn’t. But I’m not sure I like how much the bike shifts back and forth in an out of the saddle climb. And even though the studio is on the third floor and you can ride looking out at the ocean, it is small (12 bikes) and suffers from a very mediocre sound system, which affected the ride for me. The Groupon was for five classes, so I’ve got four to go – I’ll do those over the summer and report back with a final verdict once I’ve used all five classes. Readers, has anyone else tried the Real Ryder bikes? What did you think?