Half Century Cycling Mix (45 minutes)

20 12 2013

50milesA “century ride” (100 miles) is a goal for many outdoor riders, sort of the way that a marathon is a goal for many runners.  As with running, there are multiple shorter options available as well: the quarter century (25 miles), half century (50 miles), metric half and full centuries (50 and 100 km respectively), and longer options: the double metric century (200 km) and double century (200 miles).  Today’s ride is a musical half century – we’ll start in the 1960s and travel, decade by decade, through to the present day.

1960s bike1960s

Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones (3:43):  If this 1968 hit doesn’t get your heart pumping, I don’t know what will.  Plus, Keith Richards turned 70 yesterday.  Take the resistance up until you can feel a flat paved road and get ready to ride.

Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys (2:21):  Released in 1964.  Moving into a surge (fast seated flat, not-quite-sprint, about 80% of maximum effort) for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds at about 60% effort (a comfortable pace, but still work), repeat.

1970s bike1970s (Hill #1)

Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees (4:46):  Leaving the 60′s behind, you know we’re in the 70′s with this one (1977 to be exact).  Jumps on a hill, 8 counts up/down about 80% max effort.

Rock and Roll – Led Zeppelin (3:41): Released in 1972.  Sprints!  Starting at 0:06 15/30/45 seconds on/off (recovery on the off-bits).

1980s bike1980s (Hill #2)

You Shook Me – AC/DC (3:55):  1980.  A standing climb, starting moderate and increasing resistance every 60 seconds.  The last minute should be an uncomfortable challenge.  Stay with the music, don’t fall behind.

Raspberry Beret – Prince (3:33):  1985.  Four count jumps this time, still on a hill, about 70% max effort.

1990s bike1990s (Hill #3)

Fridays I’m in Love – The Cure (3:35):  I could have sworn this was an 80′s song but Wikipedia has the release date as May 11, 1992.  A fast, seated flat.  Pick a resistance and cadence you think you can maintain for 3+ minutes – don’t be too sure – explore your limits here – and go.  I don’t chatter for this one, I let everyone ride with their thoughts.

Gonna Make You Sweat – C+C Music Factory (4:03): This song’s release in 1990 marked a sea change in popular music: the rise of house music, wide popularization of hip hop, and the intersection between club music and workout music.  It’s practically a musical history lesson, but for us today, it’s a seated climb up a big-ass, two-song, 8-minute hill.  Increase resistance each minute, making the last minute uncomfortable.

2000s bike 12000s (still Hill #3)

Viva La Vida – Coldplay (4:04): 2008.  Rising from the saddle, we’re going to finish this hill standing, but thankfully, the resistance backs off to a comfortable level as the hill levels out and rolls (resistance up/up/up a notch, then down/down/down again).  Still my all-time favourite Coldplay song.

It’s My Life – Bon Jovi (3:44): 2000.  Wind ‘er up with some sprints: 30/40/60 seconds (one at each chorus).  They’re at 0:34 – 1:04, 1:40 – 2:20, and 2:38 – 3:38).  Bon Jovi is the only 80s ‘hair metal’ band to break the top 40 post Y2K.  Formed in 1983, the band achieved massive success with 1986′s Slippery When Wet album, which contained both Livin’ on a Prayer and You Give Love a Bad Name.

2000s bike2010s

If you’ve got a 60 minute class, add a couple of songs from 2010-2013 here.  Hill #4?

Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams) – Daft Punk (6:10):  Time to cool down and stretch to one of the biggest songs of 2013 that harks back to disco and funk of the 1970s.

.

MomMo&CindyJuly06This ride would be a good bet if you’re subbing a class and don’t know the ages or musical preferences of your riders.  The profile is simple and the songs are well-known.  It even got my mom’s stamp of approval.  I’m visiting her and as I write, we are sitting at the kitchen table, laptop to laptop, me blogging, her playing Bookworm.  I was running through the playlist on iTunes and she said, “Is that the music you use in your cycling class?”  I nodded, and she replied, “I’d ride to that.” (That’s her, on the left, me in the middle, and my sister on the right.)

I’m making up for lost time on vacation: there are two more posts coming before year-end, another high intensity interval ride and a ride that includes 220 jumps.  Both use my favourite Top 40 tunes.





Get Lucky Extended Cycling Mix (45 or 60 minutes)

16 12 2013

biking_on_sunsetThis ride is a companion to the Mortal Kombat HIIT ride I posted in October. Both are made up entirely of extended mixes: no song under 6:00 minutes for the working part of the class.  Longer working intervals = more challenge.

Get Lucky (Joe Maz Remix) – Daft Punk (5:28): Warm up with a peppy remix of one of THE songs of 2013, and it’s long enough to increase to moderate resistance and move into some work around 4:00: either a standing climb or some 4-count jumps.

Play Hard (feat. Ne-Yo and Akon) [Albert Neve Remix] – David Guetta (6:53): This one’s a combo: climb/jump.  Take it like this: 0 – 2:00 Standing climb, 2:00 – 3:30 8 count jumps on a hill, 3:30 – 4:45 seated climb, 4:45 – 6:15 back to 8 count jumps on a hill, 6:15 – 6:53 recover, grab some water.

Ring the Alarm (Freemason’s Club Mix) – Beyoncé (8:34): I will be forever grateful to Schwinn Master Instructor Keli Roberts and reader Lisa Goldman for putting me on to this song.  (I don’t know Keli – the song came to me through Lisa Goldman’s Sh*tload of Climbing guest post, which was based on one of Keli’s rides.)  It’s exactly the right kind of relentless.  If it is not on your iPod, for goodness’ sake, go download it now.  We’ll wait.

Back?  Okay… the other thing I love about this song is, it’s versatile.  I’ve used it here as a long series of rolling hills, standing the whole way (yes, longer than you would outdoors), with the resistance going up up up a notch at a time, then down down down again.  I’ve alternated between climbing and 4 or 8 count jumps (1 min each interval), or perhaps my favourite: a bike race where each rider gets a turn to attack (sometimes two!)

This last works only in a smallish class (say, under a dozen).  First I give everyone a number: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.  The song is a seated climb up a medium hill.  Whomever’s number is up looks for a good time to attack.  When they find it, they come up out of the saddle and go like stink, with everyone else following.  I usually decide how long the interval will be; when I sit down, everyone else can, too.  If you have a class of regulars, you could let the lead rider decide when to attack and how long the interval will be.  When the interval is done, everyone sits and keeps climbing.  It’s on to the next person (#2) to decide when the next attack should happen.  And so on, until everyone has had a turn (or perhaps two).  I love doing the drill this way because I find that the riders almost always work themselves harder than I would work them.  The song generally ends with some very satisfying sucking of wind.

The Veldt (8 Minute Edit) – Deadmau5 (8:40):  Another combo: jump/climb/flat x2 with a recovery break in between.  Start with 4/8 count jumps (1 min) then on to a standing climb (1 min) and a seated flat (1:30).  Recover from 3:30 – 5:00 then repeat.  I usually fast forward to the next song 40 seconds from the end but you could also take it as recovery.

The Black Pearl (Caribbean Trance Mission) – Scotty (6:39): Combo again: seated flat/standing climb (1 min each interval, 3 sets).

If you want to make this a 60 minute ride, add Palladio here (totally cribbed from the Mortal Kombat ride):

Palladio (Symphony Mix) – Silent Nick (9:44):  Big hill: from 0 – 2:45 a standing climb; 2:45 – 3:10 break; 3:10 – 5:10 seated, heavy climb; 5:00 – 5:25 break; 5:25 – 6:45 standing climb; 6:45 – 7:20 seated climb; 7:20 – 9:20 standing climb; 9:20 – 9:44 recover.

Snakefood – Safri Duo (6:04):  Two seated flats with a long break in between.  This is the last work of the day,  time to get all that energy out, so I coach riders to choose a resistance and a cadence that leaves them wondering if they can complete 2 minutes without pulling back.  At 1:00 they should be worried, at 1:30 galvanized, and at 2:00 they’ve earned a delicious 1:30 recovery interval.  Time to reflect: did they get to that ‘oh crap what have I done?’ place?  Time to adjust and go again: the second interval runs from 3:30 – 5:30 (you could take it right to the last drumbeat at 6:00 if you like.)

Blurred Lines (feat. T.I. and Pharrell) – Robin Thicke (4:23): Oh boy, do I have mixed feelings about this song.  On one side: one of the biggest songs of the year, it’s catchy, it spawned a useful discussion about consent and rape culture.  On the other side: It objectifies women and presumes that they are ready and willing (“you know you want it”) in virtually adolescent fashion (and that’s just the lyrics – do not, under any circumstances, view the uncensored video if the lyrics make you angry).  Plus, I can’t unsee Miley Cyrus twerking against Robin Thicke at this year’s Video Music Awards, which was to sexuality what Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes’s jerking movements were to dancing.  What to do?  After a great deal of thought, I decided to include it as a cool down song IF I could also say a few words about the controversy (I do) and mention the cheeky video parody made by a couple of Halifax women called Ask First (in which they’ve rewritten the chorus: That’s why you need to ask first / No way to know I want it / No way to know I want it / Unless I say I want it / Ask first / Consent is sexy / Shows you respect me) and parade around with sex toys.  Do not, under any circumstances, view the parody video if you are prudish or easily offended.)  Personally, I think it is brilliant.

Anything – Hedley (3:11):  Some additional cool down and goodbye music with inspiring lyrics from these Canadian rockers.  There is something that sounds like an f-bomb in there but I’m hearing it on FM radio here in Canada.  If it’s unintelligible enough to make it past the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC), it’s probably okay to play in class.





Guest Post: Let The Sun Shine In Cycling Mix (60 minutes)

14 12 2013

Sunshine bicycleReader Fern sent me this ride with a note:

  • Hi Cynthia – I have been following your blog for a couple of years. You used to be so great about putting up playlists. [Cynthia: Gaah, the guilt, the guilt!]  I found such great songs and learned a lot about how to coach them. I have been teaching a really awesome ride. I have taught it a few times and for me it is time to retire it. [Cynthia: Nooo! You could easily pull this one out again in a few months.] But I have had amazing feedback from it and I thought I could put it into a format and give something back to you so other people who come to your blog could be helped. I just really wanted to give something back to you. If you don’t want to put it up it is totally cool. But if you want to, [Cynthia: I do!  I do!  It looks like an awesome ride] all you have to do is cut and paste. I see you haven’t put something up in a while and I just wanted to give you something back for all that I have gotten from you. Please feel free to use it if you want. Happy Holidays!

Commit to Change – Finding Inspiration

This ride has 3 climbs. In each climb you will be challenged.

Most of the climb will build to the lactate threshold and we will hold it there building aerobic endurance.  Then you will be challenged to dig deep inside to find more.

Three important things to keep in mind:

1)    Cycling is an aerobic exercise. The more oxygen you inhale, the more you can fuel your working muscles.  Make your breath mindful and breath from your belly.

2)    Mostly we think about putting resistance on.  On this ride we are going to have some challenges where we are forced to decide how much resistance to take off.

3)    Have fun. Make it your journey. Anytime you need to back off or change something it is totally ok.  Each rider must listen to their own bodies.

This is what I use as a reference for Rate of Perceived Effort

[Fern sent me a fancy graphic that I loved and totally wanted to steal, but it did not like being cut and pasted into WordPress.  I am not doing it justice but here's the text:]

100%     Maximum effort

90%        Very hard

80%        Hard

70%        Somewhat hard

60%        Fairly light

50%        Light

40%        Very light

30%

20%

10%

Warm Up

          Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine in (70-90 RPM) 4:52 –Peace People – Seated, Position 1Warm Up – This is the first song to get your legs moving. It’s important to take time to let your muscles warm and your joints loosen.  Pick a cadence between 70 and 90 rpm that works for you.  Add 4 increases of resistance.  Make them small changes, but feel the difference through the pedals.  Increases at 1:00, 1:55, 2:51 and 3:25.  At 3:25 stand in position 2.  What is your inspiration to get on the bike?  What brings you here?  Fitness? Training for a race? Burn some calories?  Fit into a new outfit?  Fun?  Your friend dragged you?  Just think about it.

Hold Resistance through song 2.

2)    Castle of Glass (108 RPM) 3:25 – Linkin Park – Seated, Position 1 – Fast Flat – Start out at 100 RPM – this is the first opportunity to decide about resistance.  Take the first 30 seconds to let your body adapt to the speed.  Then after 30 seconds, decide if you can maintain the speed.  Adjust if you need to.  There are 2 changes. The first change at 1:30 increase cadence to 110.  The second change at 2:15 – Stand up – it is ok to let your cadence decrease but try to keep it as high as you can.  Keep your effort up. Option to increase resistance at 2:40. At 3:25 Have a seat – position 1 and slow your legs.

Building to First Climb


3)    Stay the Night (90 RPM) 3:32 – James Blunt – Seated Position 1 – Seated/Standing Intervals – There are 3 intervals where you stand.  Make 3 increases of resistance along the way. We are building to the first climb.  Increase resistance just before the interval and then stand for the duration of the interval, sit at the end.  Intervals 20/20/30 from 1st (:50-1:10) 2nd (1:50-2:10) 3rd (2:50-3:20)


Climb 1

4)    My Love is Not Blind (Vocal) (65-80 RPM) 6:25- Margaret Grace – Seated Position 1 – Climb – Build resistance to the lactate threshold at 8/10. You know you will be at 8/10 because we are going to increase our speed for 20 seconds.  You will know if you are 8/10 because when we increase our cadence for 20 seconds you will feel mild hyperventilation. You will have taken one foot over the line.  Get to 8/10 by 1:36.  From (1:36-1:54) increase cadence to 80 rpm.   Check in.  Did the increase in cadence cause your breathing to become anaerobic?  If not, add some resistance.  Hold 80 rpm once more for 1:40 from (3:06-4:55).  Focus on breathing – staying in control of your breath.

Hill continues – stand in position 2 at the end 6:25

One Thousand Suns (70 RPM) 8:01 – Chicane – Standing Position 2/3 – Working on aerobic endurance stay at 8/10 for the entire song.  Once you are settled into the beat ride in position 3 as long as you can. This is a great song with a really catchy beat. Don’t need to say much here…let the riders have their own space.  Remind them to breath, to stand or sit as they would like but to hold the effort of 8/10 building aerobic endurance.

Hard change comes at 8:01 at the end of the song.  You are going to stand and increase cadence to 90 rpm.  This will be challenging. 

5)    Torn (90-95RPM) 4:05 – Natalie Imbruglia – Standing Position 2 Run.

Take 30 seconds to let your body settle and then decide how much resistance you should take off.  Stay standing with as much resistance as you can.  at around 2:00 ask – Did you take too much resistance off?  A break is coming in 2 mins, are you working as hard as you want to?  As hard as you can?  Do you think you could work just a little harder?  Earn the break?  If you turn the resistance up, you can always take it down.

Recovery

6)    Brother Down (100 RPM) 4:24 – Sam Roberts – Seated fast flat recovery.   Let your heart rate fall. Don’t drop down more than 7/10, the bottom of your aerobic effort.  Think about your breathing, breath deep.  Think about your position on the bike, soften your upper body, smooth pedal strokes.  As you start to recover, add resistance on.  Make sure you are connected to the road beneath you.  Add 3 turns 1:30, 2:30, 3:45.

Climb 2

7)    Get Lucky (60 RPM) 4:08 – Daft Punk.  Power Burst Jumps – Seated/Standing Position 2.  Cyclists normally stay in the saddle.  They come out of the saddle for a reason.  Usually to get some power to speed up or when they are climbing.  Power Burst Jumps are done as follows.  1) Start with enough resistance on the bike to feel like you are working at 7.5. 2) Stand and accelerate your cadence, as much as you can. 3) Slow your cadence down back to 60 RPM. 4) Gently lower down into the saddle.  You will feel your heart rate increase and your quads start to burn.  Continue doing Power Burst Jumps to the end of the song.  Increasing 3 resistance turns along the way. Cueing – Stand, Burst your legs, get some power, slow the legs, gently slide back to the saddle.  Check in along the way and offer any rider the chance to sit one or two out if it is too much. At the end stay standing.

8)    Feel the Love (feat. John Newman( ( 55-90 RPM) 4:05 – Rudimental – Standing Heavy Position 2 Climb – Stand and increase the cadence [Cynthia: I think Fern means resistance here?] as much as possible to slow the legs down to 55 RPM  from (0-1:04).  From 1:04 to 2:34 increase the cadence to 90 RPM decreasing as much resistance as you need but keeping as heavy as you can.  Match the cadence at 90 RPM and hold.  A good break comes at 2:34 – 3:22.  Sit and slow the cadence down.  Recover  50 seconds  – Big deep breaths.  Don’t touch the resistance.  At 3:30 ask could you turn up the resistance just a bit.  One Power Burst to Finish (3:22 – 3:50) Stand and go as fast as you can.

Recovery

9)    Suddenly I See (80/100 RPM) 3:22 – KT Tunstall – Seated/Standing  Position 2 Intervals – Recovery and then 3 intervals 20/20/45 increasing resistance before each one building back to Climb #3. 1st (0:40-1:00) 2nd (1:35-1:55) 3rd (2:33- 3:12)

Climb 3

10)Zocalo (68 RPM) 8:32 – Armin van Buuren – Seated/Standing Climb – Change positions as desired.  Work to effort.  Building resistance from 0 to 1:53.  By 1:53 you want to be at 8/10 perceived effort.  At 1:53, turn the resistance until pedals start to slow just a little and stand.  Hold 80% (1:53 – 5:13) working on aerobic endurance.  2 ½ mins from the top ask for every bit of effort.  Come back to your inspiration. Why you are riding.  Your body is tired but you want to push through the fatigue and ask yourself for more.  Everything you have.  Don’t leave thinking, I could have worked harder. Know, it’s going to be worth it because you did your best.  Keep your thoughts positive and find your inspiration.  Ask for commitment.  at 5:13 add resistance, add speed, add whatever you can to get to 100%.  Don’t talk too much, just count the time.  Let the music move the riders.

Cool Down

11)Say Something (feat. Christina Aguilera) 3:49 – A Great Big World

12)Stay (feat. Mikky Ekko) 4:01 – Rihanna

       Thank you so much Fern, for sharing this ride.  I love the eclectic music – any ride that veers from cheeky disco to Linkin Park to James Blunt, R&B inspired and Top 40 radio hits gets my vote.  I like your profile of three hills with flats, power burst jumps (they are hard, oh so hard) and I like that you included your coaching notes.  Happy holidays!

       Readers, I have three rides of my own in the hopper.  Should get them all posted within the next week (promise!)  Look for one more post before year-end: my sixth annual Top 25 Indoor Cycling Tunes of 2013.  Want to vote for your favourite tune?  Leave it in a comment.

S





Guest Post: Under Control-ish Cycling Mix (60 minutes)

14 12 2013

spinners in a rowLong time reader and contributor Lisa sent me this ride in November and I am just posting it now (sorry Lisa!)  If you’ve checked out some of her other guest posts to the blog, you’ll know that your iPod will be a hipper place with her music suggestions on it, and every time she posts a ride, there’s at least one “where did she find THAT song?” moment of pure deliciousness.  Plus, this ride includes four contenders for my list of the Top 25 Indoor Cycling Songs of 2013.  Here’s Lisa:

In my September guest blog post I prattled on about how long it can take me to put together a playlist and profile for a 1 hour class. Well, guess what? Sometimes it doesn’t. Occasionally it gels really quickly. In this ride, I started with Chris Spins’ Under Control Cycling Mix (thanks Chris!) There were several songs I liked, but I ended up modifying it quite a bit. Some of my modifications were due to simple music preferences (e.g. I just needed a break from Tabata music), and some of my modifications were profile driven (e.g. Chris used Stompa as a heavy climb, but at 42/84 RPM I prefer it as a flat [Cynthia: I'm leaning toward using it as a climb, around 70 RPM]). I also mixed in some other music I’d been wanting to use. And, so I offer up to you, my version “Under Control-ish.” There are 3 stages, each with a 12-14 minute hill. If you have bikes with computers, it can be fun to compare efforts on each of the hills (tracking mileage, watt average, or calories burned) and set goals (either matching, or escalating targets for each segment). Since the hills get slightly shorter in each segment, even matching efforts from one hill to the next should result in greater challenge.  [Cynthia: I wish we had bike computers at my gym.]

Here is the Spotify link.

[KEY: song time, total run time; BPM &/or RPM, effort level (easy/moderate/hard/very hard/breathless), Terrain (F= Flat, SC= seated climb, StC= Standing Climb, CH= Combo Hill, J= Jumps),  + & - refers to increase or decrease in gear, ^ or v refers to increase or decrease in cadence.]

UNDER CONTROL-ISH

Warm Up


1) Mat Kearney – Hey Mama
 2:57,  80-100 RPM, F warm up, easy to moderate, gradually +

 

2) Au Revoir Simone – Crazy 2:57, 5:54; 87 RPM, F warm up continues. Hold RPM, gradually + (~3x), moving from moderate to hard

 

Stage 1: 13.5 min Climb, 3 min Flat

3) Pitbull – Timber 3:24, 9:18; 65 RPM; Hard, CH, St :38-1:07, 1:37-2:20, 2:50-3:20(end) 30/40/30 (add gear in mid of each, back off when S in between) [Cynthia: I used this song for the first time a couple of weeks ago and have been humming it ever since.  Total earworm.]


4) NONONO – Pumpin Blood 3:29, 12:47; 60 RPM, Hard-Very Hard, CH, 15/15-30/15-30 ^ :57-1:13, 20:01-2:15 or 33, 2:50-3:09 or 23

 

5) MIKA – Relax, Take It Easy 3:44, 16:31; 61 RPM, Hard-Very Hard SC, -1:20, + 1:50, -2:20, +2:54, -3:25

6) Flo Rida – How I Feel 2:50, 19:21, 64 RPM, Hard-V Hard StC [Cynthia: Great new Flo Rida]


7) Serena Ryder – Stompa – Radio Version 3:05, 22:26; 84 RPM, Easy-Mod-Hard Flat, recovery, then into headwind.

 

Stage 2: 13 min Climb, 6.5min Flat 

 

8) Alesso – Under Control 3:05, 22:26, 63 RPM; Hard-Very Hard CH, St :45, +1:02, – S 1:28, +, St 2:10, +2:25, S 2:56


9) Joe Satriani – Crowd Chant 3:15, 28:46, 60 RPM; Mod-Hard Jumps [Cynthia: would never have thought to use this in a cycling class but it's awesome!]

 

10) Goodwill – Take You Higher – Radio Edit 3:10, 31:56; 64 RPM, Hard CH, St :38-1:23,  2:22-end [For me, this was the moment of musical deliciousness for this ride.  According to Wikipedia, this Aussie tune went Top 10 in Belgium and Poland, but didn't chart in Australia or North America.  See?  How did she find it?]

 

11) Paffendorf – Welcome To Africa – Short Cut 3:26, 35:22, 69 RPM with surges, SC (3x 30 sec Very Hard pushes).  Starting at :30 Mod, 1:10 Very Hard, 1:40-1:55 easy, 1:55-2:25 Very Hard, 2:25- 40 easy, 2:40-3:3:20 very hard)

 

12) Vampire Weekend – Unbelievers 3:23, 38:45; 78 RPM, Easy-Mod-Hard Flat, recovery, then into headwind. Riders can start this F at a higher cadence, but must + in the last minute to bring cadence down to 78 (this is important for the drill in the next song to work)

 

13) Jhameel – Feisty 3:01, 41:46, 99 RPM, Very Hard-Hard Flat, 1 min on/off/on, “off” at 1:03- 2:08. Keep gear where it was in last song, but instead of going 78 RPM, ^ up to about 99 RPM (this should shift work into Very Hard territory) for both of the one minute “on” segments. [Cynthia: this one has a cool Michael Jackson vibe.]

 

Stage 3: 12.5 min Climb, 5 min Flat/cool down 

 

14) Avicii – Wake Me Up 4:10, 45:56, 62 RPM, Hard CH St :40-1:10, 1:24-56, 2:27-3, 3:29-end [Cynthia: I could use this song every ride and not get tired of it.]

15) David Guetta – One Love – feat. Estelle 4:01, 49.57; 63 RPM, Hard-Very Hard, SC +1:16-50, 3:26-4/end

16) Britney Spears – Work Work 4:08, 54:05, 64-94 RPM, Hard-Very Hard – Breathless CH, 3 intervals 45/45/30, ^ & then St for last 15  seconds of each interval to take it into breathless.  :45-1:15-1:30, 2-2:30-2:45, 3:35-3:50-4:05/end [Cynthia: this is the clean version.]

Cool Down

17-19) Cool Down Music du jour (in my Spotify playlist I currently have A Beautiful Day by India.Arie, Feelin’ Groovy by Simon & Garfunkel, and Salala by Angelique Kidjo).

[Cynthia: Gentlemen, you may choose to skip this next bit...]

In completely unrelated news, I thought I’d use this platform to get something else off my chest (pun intended). The whole brouhaha with Lululemon’s disdain for customers with touching thighs got me thinking. [Cynthia: Full disclosure: I own Lululemon stock.  I was, and remain, mightily impressed with the company for creating flattering, durable workout gear.  Not so impressed with founder Chip Wilson's "thigh rubbing" and other comments.]

moving-comfort-juno-purple sports braI am getting seriously annoyed at the poor choices out there in athletic gear for well-endowed women (D cup or higher). I teach 4-5 indoor cycle classes a week. I wear a lot of athletic gear. I’ve shopped at all the obvious places (Lululemon, Lucy, Athleta) and many less obvious (Costco has surprisingly nice workout pants). They all completely fail to address the needs of us curvy-up-top gals. I am constantly struggling with two things (ok, those two things, but two other things): sports bras and tank tops.

My specific issues:

(1) Built-in Shelf bras (that are built-in to the majority of cute tanks out there): Are they serious? At best they are useless for even the most sedate activities. A downward dog in a gentle yoga class with only a shelf bra built into my tank top? -> boulder landslide. At worst, they cut across the bust in weird places, rendering the top unwearable, even with a better bra underneath.

(2) Tanks: What is the deal with 99% of the tanks having a T-back, but 99% of the really supportive sports bras being regular (non-T-back) style? I am almost always wearing a tank that shows my bra straps in the back – a look I thought I’d given up at age 19, but am forced to continue to flaunt. This is made worse by the fact that I teach classes with my back to the mirror, so everyone gets a clear view of this fashion. Why, why, why can’t there be more non-T-back tanks???

Also, let’s talk about the scoop neck. Since I teach cycle with my back to the mirror, it took me longer to realize this than I’d like to admit, but one day while taking another teacher’s class (so I was facing the mirror for a change), I realized that my top that had seemed modest whilst upright, became quite revealing when I leaned over my handlebars. Oh my. Talk about your low hanging fruit. You wanna know what’s even harder to find than a non-T-back tank? A tank with a higher cut neckline. And if you’re in the market for a tank that is non-T-back AND has a higher neck line … Good. Freaking. Luck. In 6 years, I’ve found exactly 2. Between wearings I store them in a fireproof safe, along with all my other most highly prized belongings.

(3) Bras: Good grief. The selection for women with D+ cups is pretty sad. We cannot wear those pull over stretchy things. They’re like the shelf bras without the tank on top. Useless for support, fantastic at creating mondo-uniboobs. Memo to manufacturers – just do the world a favor and stop making them in our size. The good news is that, unlike tanks, there have at least been some attempts at creating other styles of sports bras for the D+ population. I’ve tried many. The Enell High Impact Sports Bra is a distant relative of the boa constrictor, I’m pretty sure. Athleta has a better selection than any of its competitors, but they are all cut pretty low, and since I can’t find a tank to cover me up, I’m looking for my bra to help in this area, so I haven’t found the perfect one. Manufacturer Moving Comfort has the best choices. Right now, I rely on the Moving Comfort Women’s Maia Bra because it offers decent support as well as a high neckline (so it looks almost as if I layered an additional tank underneath, rather than seeing “my bra”), however, it does not come in a T-back, so I’m always flashing my straps (super classy & professional – not). [Note: the links are Amazon Affiliate links]

Some cyclists will tell me: just wear a cycling jersey. Thing is, (a) I find most of those unflattering, and (b) they’re overkill for an hour indoor class. I don’t need pockets to hold snacks, or gloves, etc. like I would on an outdoor ride. I’d just like an attractive, professionally appropriate tank, like my lesser endowed sisters get to wear. Is that so much to ask?

Now – who wants to start a business with me?

Cynthia again: Sadly, I am of no help to Lisa in this department and I will leave it at that.  But if you’ve found the sports-bra-of-your-dreams, drop us a comment and tell us about it!





Guest Post: Hallowe’en Cycling Mix (60 minutes)

27 10 2013

halloween pumpkin bikeGot a note from intrepid California instructor Lisa Goldman asking if I would be interesting in sharing her Hallowe’en playlist with you.  My response?  Hell, yeah!  So, just in time for Hallowe’en week, here’s Lisa:

Confession time: I made a Halloween playlist about 7 years ago and I’ve recycled it every year since.  I figured, “Hey, who’s gonna remember what I played a year ago?”  Well, if not them, then me. I pulled out my trusty Halloween mix, and I just couldn’t do it this year. Not entirely anyway. Truthfully, this new playlist is only about 50% new. But once I ditched Monster Mash and Thriller, it felt 100% new. Besides, I used to make a joke about imagining being chased my Michael Jackson’s over-eager plastic surgeon during Thriller, and now that being chased by MJ’s doctor is actually terrifying, the joke doesn’t play that well anymore. Time for something new.

When I decided to make a new Halloween mix, I tried to go the lazy route, and crib off another teacher’s profile. I searched the web and came up with a few, but I couldn’t make them work for me. Turns out, I’m incredibly sensitive to matching the RPMs I cue to the beat of the song.  I know there are strong arguments for letting the training profile dictate the ride, instead of the music. But, asking me to pedal even slightly off the beat makes me crazy – like the reverse of asking someone to pat their head and rub their tummy – I just cannot do it myself, much less cue others to do so. (My compromise is the shift around my music to fit a profile that makes sense.) I did get some music inspiration from other instructors out there, but had to put together my own ride, Lisa-style.  It’s not my most favorite profile ever, but I think the Halloween music is fun for this time of year, and you can certainly play it up asking people to name the movie (several songs in this list come from movies), or asking other Halloween trivia, and passing out prizes, or as I plan to do, passing out Glo-necklaces for my night classes. Hope you enjoy – Happy Halloween!

[KEY: song time, total run time; BPM &/or RPM, effort level (easy/moderate/hard/very hard/breathless), Terrain (F= Flat, SC= seated climb, StC= Standing Climb, CH= Combo Hill, J= Jumps, RH= Rolling Hills),  + & - refers to increase or decrease in gear, ^ or v refers to increase or decrease in cadence.]

Warm Up

1)   Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead – 9:40, 9:40, 75-95 RPM; easy-moderate, F & SC. I use the first half of this song to let folks warm up on a F at whatever cadence they choose, gradually adding gear. By ~ 5 minutes in, I have people find enough gear to get the cadence to match the beat (75 RPM) and find a moderate hill.  [Cynthia: lots of peppier remixes of this one on iTunes, but this one's the spookiest.]

STAGE 1 – 7+ minute hill, followed by ~3 minute F

2)   The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You – 3:12, 12:52; 67 RPM with some cadence pick ups for RH. Moderate – Hard.
Power Music – Tales From The Crypt Theme – 2:02, 14:54; 71 RPM, Hard, CH
Danny Elfman – Beetlejuice (Theme from “Beetlejuice”) – 1:54, 16:48; 75 RPM; very hard StC
Linkin Park – SKIN TO BONE – 2:49. 19:37; 80 RPM, easy-moderate. First recover from hill at easy, then find your way back to a moderate flat, bringing wattage back to where you finished your warm-up or slightly higher, but allow yourself to recover because we have a 17 minute hill next, followed by two short, but very steep hills after that. Lots of climbing today!

STAGE 2 – 16.5 minute hill, followed by ~3 minute F

3)   Deadmau5 – Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff – feat. Rob Swire – 5:29, 25:06, RPM 64, mod-hard, CH. Every time you come out of the saddle add ~2 gears, every time you sit back down, take off 1 gear (or half of what you added). [Cynthia: Love!]

4)   Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party – 6:22, 31:28, RPM 81, RH. St and +v, S and ^-. [Cynthia: Love!]

5)   101 Strings Orchestra – The Exorcist (Theme from Tubular Bells) – 4:23, 35:51; 74 RPM, SC with 4 passes (picking up 20-30 RPM, maxing at 100RPM – if you can go faster than that, you need more gear!) 1-1:15, 2-2:25, 3-3:25, 4-4:15.

6)   Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy – 2:45, 38:36; 90-110 RPM, easy-moderate FF with headwind + at chorus. [Cynthia: Love!  The perfect antidote to all the creepiness.]

STAGE 3 – 4 minute hill, 3 minute F, 5 minute hill with passes

7)   Harajuku – The Phantom of the Opera – 4:11, 42:47; 66 RPM, hard-very hard, CH. [Cynthia: Iron Maiden has a hard-driving song with the same title and it clocks in at 7:21.  Anyone brave enough to pull out Iron Maiden in cycling class?]

8)   Santana – Black Magic Woman – 3:16, 46:03; 80-110, FF, easy-mod

9)   Karl Jenkins, Marat Bisengaliev & West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra – Requiem: Dies Irae – 4:36, 50:39; RPM 61, very hard-breathless, StC with seated passes 20/15/15/35, ^ ~20 RPM and shoot for breathless at 1-1:20, 2-2:18, 3:05-20, and 4-end.  [Cynthia: Love!  See, this is why Lisa is the best.  How does she find this awesome music???]

Recovery & Cool Down

10)                  The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil – 6:18, 56:57

11)                  Mumford & Sons – Ghosts That We Knew 5:40, 1:02:37

Spotify Link: Halloween 2013

Hey folks, Cynthia again.  I was going to pull out MY good ‘ole Hallowe’en playlist that I’ve used every year since 2009 (in journalism these sorts of things are called ‘evergreen’ because they never lose their currency) but Lisa has inspired me to, if not completely rework it, at least play with it.  Hallowe’en playlists are flying thick and fast on Facebook indoor cycling groups, but like Lisa, I can’t simply co-opt someone else’s ride.  I need to make it my own first.  I’m not above shamelessly lifting great tunes, though.  Here are some of the best Hallowe’en cycling tunes I’ve encountered this year:

Cry Little Sister – The Anix (3:32):  Theme from The Lost Boys.  This one’s industrial metal; for a dancier version, check out the Mozart and Friends Remix (4:57).  Thanks to Jen Ward Horenziak for this one.

Maneater – Nelly Furtado (4:19):  This song was EVERYWHERE in 2006-07, plus Furtado is Canadian.  Thanks to Vicki Greenwood for reminding me of it.  (She used the dancier David Garcia and Morgan Page Remix).

Swamp Thing – The Grid (7:15):  I’ve used the 3:59 Radio Mix a few times, but man, was I delighted to see Vicki scared up (ha!) a longer version with the same driving beat.  High intensity intervals anyone?

Shivers (Radio Edit) – Armin van Buuren (3:09): or the full version at 7:33.  A tough connection to Hallowe’en other than the title but if you’re looking to add a little trance to your mix, this is a great bet.  Vicki…

Bleeding Out – Imagine Dragons (3:43):  Sometimes evergreen playlists can feel a little tired; this tune will inject an of-the-moment feel.  Plus it’s catchy.  Clearly, I owe Vicki Greenwood a latte.  This one’s hers, too.

Night Crawler – Judas Priest (5:44):  Not quite ready to rock out to Iron Maiden on the Spin bike?  This head-banger is perfect for high intensity intervals and you never know… you might find you have a few closet metal heads in your class.  This one is from Kathy Schiebe Leggitt.

This is Hallowe’en – Marilyn Manson (3:22):  Not exactly subtle, but that’s why I like it.  Another from Kathy.

Dragula – Rob Zombie (3:43):  Another industrial metal tune from Kathy – she and I are sympatico on this: industrial metal is great for indoor cycling.  (Go ahead, listen to Megalomaniac by KMFDM while cycling and you’ll see what I mean.)

Somebody’s Watching Me (Freakmatique Cut) – DJ Brian Howe (3:23):  An old standby I use for jumps.

Reader Di commented recently with a link to her Hallowe’en playlist here.  (I especially liked Scream, Bodies, and Run with the Wolves but you’ve got to check it out for details.)

And I can’t resist a link to ChrisSpin’s hot-off-the-presses Hallowe’en playlist here.

scooby-dooAs long as we’re on spooky, I am loving that my daughter (age 3.5) is really into Scooby Doo at the moment.  I downloaded the first season (1969) onto our iPad and we also have a Scooby Doo book that has become a go-to favourite for bedtime stories.  They are just the right level of spooky for a kid – it’s comforting that the monster is always captured and unmasked as a plain old person at the end.  I remember enjoying the show when I was little and I love that I can share Scoob and Shaggy and the gang with her.

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!





Mortal Kombat Cycling Mix – High Intensity Intervals (45 min)

22 10 2013

fall_bike_rideI’ve been thinking about high intensity interval training (HIIT) for a long time, but I wasn’t sure how to incorporate this wildly effective training tool into my classes.  Short, Tabata-style, intervals would have the working part of the ride over in 8 minutes… but my shortest class at the gym is 45 minutes long.  So I explored longer intervals, like 60 seconds on/60 off – which I’ve been doing for years – but mulled over the coaching aspect.  HIIT works best when exercisers push hard on their limits.  Seriously hard.  The working interval has been described as “extremely unpleasant”, “feeling like you’re about to puke”, and “feeling like you’re going to die.”  How could I motivate riders to go to such a brutal place in an indoor cycling class?  How could I accommodate riders of all levels in a HIIT class?

I was reading the newspaper on Monday (Toronto’s Globe and Mail) and came across this interesting article on HIIT.  The article relates a Queen’s University Study that had “two groups doing a cycling workout alternating 60 seconds hard with 60 seconds easy for eight to 10 repetitions. One group did the hard intervals at 100 per cent of peak power, while the other group used a more moderate intensity of 70 per cent of peak power. Both groups made gains in muscular and metabolic health, but in the most important health marker of aerobic fitness, the high-intensity group gained 27.7 per cent in three weeks while the moderate-intensity group gained just 11.0 per cent.”

Bingo.  I knew just what I needed to do, and I had a pretty good idea of how I’d coach it.  But crap, I didn’t have a HIIT profile in my book of rides.  I decided to turn one of my previous rides into a HIIT ride and chose the ride below, which I put together in response to a request by one of my most stalwart regulars for a Mortal Kombat ride.  I’d run it a couple of times but hadn’t even put it on the blog because, well, it was sort of meh.  Just okay.

And if I am being totally honest?  A lot of my classes lately have been just okay.  I’m working very long hours these days (1.5 FT jobs) and realized on the bike last week that I wasn’t enjoying the ride – my class was just another thing on my to too-long to-do list.  I’d lost my mojo.  I am a perfectionist.  I am not okay with just okay. 

It occurred to me: maybe it’s time to hang up the cycling shoes.  And then: Whoa.  Where did THAT come from?  I’ve never thought about quitting before.  I continued mulling it over on the way home when it hit me: it’s not just indoor cycling.  I’m not enjoying ANYTHING at the moment, because I am working too damn much.

Fortunately, this too shall pass.  The contract that’s got me squeezed (great work, just too much of it) ends on November 30 and life will return to… normal, or something like it.  (Assuming I don’t stupidly say “sure!” to the next shiny penny interesting project that comes along.)  For some reason, knowing why I’d lost my mojo was oddly comforting.

So today I pulled out this just okay ride and my teeny-weeny mojo and the ideas I had about how I might coach a HIIT ride.  I took the class sign up sheet and scrawled “High intensity intervals today!” across the top and I’m pretty sure I ended up poaching three or four riders from the extremely popular aerobics class that runs in the same time slot.

And you know what?  It worked.  By God, it worked.  It was a GREAT ride.  The best ride I’ve done in months.  And I could tell from the sucking wind and spontaneous whoops that my riders thought so too.

Now, the little ride that could is blog-worthy.  Here it is.

Sexual Healing (Original Mix) – Alibi vs. Rockefeller (6:53):  Warm up for the first four minutes while explaining the basic principles of HIIT.  I told the class we were going to do 5x 60 second high intensity intervals today but that to get the maximum benefit, they had to prepare themselves to take it beyond, to something that would feel “extremely unpleasant,” might make them drop f-bombs, “I think I’m gonna puke” territory.  “I want you to hate me when you finish this,” I told them.  Then I made a joke about my CPR being up to date.

I explained that if riders didn’t feel quite ready for “I’m gonna puke” there were still very good gains to be had even if the maximal effort was at 70% rather than 100% and as always, to ride their own ride.

When not working at high intensity, I asked riders to stay between 55-75% of maximum effort – enough to feel they were working but not so hard that it would be difficult to speak in complete sentences.

From 4:00 – 6:15 we moved into a fast flat, and from 6:15 – 6:53 slugged some water and prepared ourselves to begin.

Palladio (Symphony Mix) – Silent Nick (9:44):  Let’s start with a big hill.  (I didn’t say we’d do the intervals right away).  Hill first.  From 0 – 2:45 a standing climb; 2:45 – 3:10 break; 3:10 – 5:10 seated, heavy climb; 5:00 – 5:25 break; 5:25 – 6:45 standing climb; 6:45 – 7:20 seated climb; 7:20 – 9:20 standing climb; 9:20 – 9:44 recover.  Ha!  I distracted you with intervals and snuck in a 9 minute hill.

Control – Traci Lords of Juno Reactor (6:27):  Our first tune from the Mortal Kombat soundtrack.  A bit more recovery from 0 – 0:27, then let the high intensity intervals begin: 3x 60 second intervals with 60 seconds for recovery in between.  With the explanation I’d given, I could tell that the riders really were digging deeper, pushing harder, looking for that extremely unpleasant place.

At 6:15 we fell back to ride easy and suck wind until 6:27.  I checked in with them.  Did they get to that place?  I saw nodding heads.  I asked them to take as much time as they needed and join me when they felt ready to work again.

Jump (Malinchak Dub Mix) – Flo Rida (7:01): Jumps on a hill: 8 counts from 0 – 2:53, switching to 4 counts from 2:53 – 6:30 and moving to recovery from 6:30 – 7:01.  Remember, nothing over 75% here.  The hero stuff comes later.

Juke Joint Jezebel – KMFDM (5:16):  Another Mortal Kombat tune and a combo-drill: two standing climbs, two seated flats.  Climb from 0:15 – 1:15, seated flat from 1:15 – 2:15, back to climbing from 2:15 – 3:15, and a second flat from 3:15 – 4:15.  From 4:15 – 5:15 you could do a third standing climb, but if you’re heading in to the last two high intensity intervals, I’d take it for recovery and preparation.

Theme from Mortal Kombat – Utah Saints (3:00):  Two more high-intensity intervals: 60 seconds on, followed by 60 seconds off, and a final gruelling 60 seconds on.

Going Wrong – Armin van Buuren (5:36):  Cool down.  I told the class that while HIIT feels AWFUL while you’re doing it, many people say that once they’re done, they feel like a million bucks.  (“Like I just had a big poo!” one of the riders at the front volunteered.)  I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that little tidbit of TMI so I just thanked them for riding with me (I always do) and said I hoped they enjoyed the ride.

I got great feedback – more than half the class made a point of stopping to tell me how much they liked it.  And you know what?  I felt like a million bucks for the rest of the day myself.

Are you using high intensity intervals in your classes?  How often?  How many?  How long are the intervals?  How much recovery in between?  What are your favourite songs to use for these intervals?

I’ll leave you with a bit of virtual archaeology.  A Facebook cycling group I belong to recently unearthed this 1995 Youtube gem: a supremely fit Johnny G, sporting a mullet and expounding on his brand new Spinning program.  The excitement from participants at fitness conferences is palpable.  “This is it,” one of them says.  (Look for a cameo by actor Kristin Davis, who was cast as Charlotte in the Sex and the City series in 1998.)








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,791 other followers

%d bloggers like this: