Where are we Runnin’ Spin Mix (43 minutes)

26 04 2009

I’ve got a ton of new music to sort through for new playlists.  This eclectic mix features virtually all new never-before-used-on-the-blog material.  It leans heavily on electronica, with a bit of rock, hip hop, and folk music thrown in.  I have used other versions of Ride Like The Wind and Black Betty in previous playlists; everything else is new.

rest-on-north-shore-peiGot two outdoor rides in this weekend.  The first was from the Armdale Roundabout out Purcell’s Cove Road to Ferguson’s Cove Road and up to York Redoubt and return.  The ride takes you past two yacht clubs, through a fishing village, and offers stunning views of Halifax harbour.   All you need to know about this one is hills.  Big hills.  I hadn’t done this ride since last summer and I was expecting to be sucking wind, but all that time spent indoors on the bike paid off – I actually found the ride easier than last year.

Sunday, we did an easy 26km ride out the Beechville Lakeside Timberlea (BLT) trail.  This trail is part of the local rails to trails project and passes by several pristine lakes and a waterfall before connecting up with the 36km St. Margaret’s Bay trail.  We decided to do the St. Margaret’s Bay trail later this summer.  It’s a decent 72km return, and rises to a metric century if you start at the beginning of the BLT trail.  I’ve never done a century – it’s definitely on my list of goals, first the metric one, then the Imperial.

Ride Like the Wind (54 Remix Edit) – Fab (4:01): This is one of my favourite warm up songs right now.  The beat takes you effortlessly into the groove.

Magnificent – U2 (5:24): In honour of Ferguson’s Cove Road, we’re going to start off with a 5.5 minute seated hill climb.  A big shout out and thanks to reader Tim for suggesting this song.  Start with the resistance around 6/10 and increase it every 60 seconds.

Where are We Runnin’? – Lenny Kravitz (2:41): I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve heard that when Kravitz’s marriage to Lisa Bonet was unravelling, she accused him during an argument: “You love your guitar more than you love me!”  To which he thought for a moment, and replied, “actually, I do.”  Divorce was inevitable.  Mix it up a bit by doing some lifts here: 4 counts through the verse, 2 at the chorus.

Black Betty – Spiderbait (3:26):  We’re twelve minutes into this ride, it’s time to sprint.  I love the beat in this Aussie band’s version of the song.  Pick up your feet for a surge starting at 0:12 – about 80% of your maximum effort.  At 0:50 when the music really kicks in, go to an all out sprint for 12 seconds, to 1:02.  Recover until 1:48, and when the music kicks in again, go for a second 30 second surge to 2:20.  Recover until 2:58, then head straight into an all-out 15 second sprint to 3:13.

Sugar (feat. Wynter) – Flo Rida (4:13): Darn that Flo Rida.  I didn’t want to like this song that borrows heavily from Blue for the background vocals, but after hearing it on the radio for the nth time, I can’t get it out of my head.  And when I can’t get a song out of my head, it usually ends up on a spin playlist.  We haven’t really been out of the saddle much so far today, so let’s do a standing climb.  Start with medium tension and alternate between regular and aggressive stances.  Throw in a couple of tension increases to keep people on their toes.

Ya Mama – Fatboy Slim (5:38): More speedwork here.  Push the tempo!  The fun starts at 0:17 – 0:47 (30 seconds); rest for 30, then sprint for 30: 1:13 – 1:43, rest for 60, sprint again for 30 seconds from 2:42 – 3:12, recover for 60 seconds.  Around 4:20 come into a standing climb and get ready to push it out.  At 4:51 go!  Standing sprint to the end of the song (about 30 seconds).

Emerge – Fischerspooner (4:48): One more song for lifts.  This NYC duo named their band after their last names: Fischer, and not surprisingly, Spooner.  The challenge here is the fast beat – you’ll need the tension around 4/10.  Start with 16 counts, then move to 8, then 4.  I think the beat is too fast to take it to 2 counts – riders wouldn’t be able to sit down completely.  iTunes gave this song an explicit label, but I haven’t found the curse word(s) in it yet.

Gallows Pole (feat. Hawksley Workman and Eccodek) – Great Big Sea (5:45): Rock fans will recognize this as a Led Zep classic.  Great Big Sea did a gorgeous job covering it for the Canadian Juno awards in 2009 (our version of the Grammys).  As they say on American Idol, “They made it their own.”  We started with a seated climb, let’s finish with one.  Start at 6/10 and increase the tension every 45 seconds.  What’s this at 2:18?  An out of the saddle sprint?  You bet.  Sprint from 2:18 – 3:18.  The crowd will give you a cheer (it’s a live version) but wait it out – there’s more.  Get back into the saddle and keep climbing, with tension increases every 45 seconds.

Here and Now – Great Big Sea (3:40): We made it to the top!  Cool down and stretch with a second song from Newfoundland folk rockers Great Big Sea.  This one’s an original.  Love the inspiring lyrics.

All the Things You Never Wanted – Pierson Ross (3:29): This was the free single of the week on iTunes a few months ago, and I’ve been wanting to use it as a cool down song ever since.  Some extra stretching and goodbye music.


fruit-smoothieI love fruit smoothies, but so many of the commercially available ones amount to a very large portion of ice cream.  Here’s a smoothie recipe I use at home for desserts.  Add a scoop of protein powder and it becomes a meal replacement.  When I’m teaching, I have one for lunch after I teach my noon spin classes and have to get right back to the classroom.  It tides me through until class finishes around 4:00 p.m. and a small snack gets me through to dinner time.  The secret to a great smoothie?  Frozen fruit.

Healthy Fruit Smoothies

Serves 2

1 banana

1 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (go for the one with the fewest additives)

1 cup frozen fruit – berries work well, as do peaches and mangoes

1-2 packets Splenda

1/2 cup juice, milk, or water

2 scoops whey protein powder (if using as a meal replacement)

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend well.  I like my dessert smoothies thick enough to eat with a spoon, so I don’t add a lot of liquid.  If you’d prefer to drink yours, increase the juice, milk, or water to 1 cup.


Revolution 2009 Spin Mix (30 minutes)

23 04 2009

I’m psyched about teaching at the Revolution 2009 fundraiser tomorrow – 8 hours, 80 riders at a time, one hell of a day.  It’s all in support of the charitable foundation of a local hospital.  I’m riding for an hour with another instructor, each of us teaching for 30 minutes.  We have a third instructor on the stage to thank the sponsors as we go.  We were told to expect riders of all ages, experience levels, and abilities (people don’t have to ride the full 8 hours, most are riding for 30-60 minutes).  My primary goal for this ride is to make it fun and energetic.

spinning-bikesJumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones (3:43):  Let’s get our legs warmed up and our bodies moving.

Love Shack – B-52’s (5:25):  When you feel ready, come into a standing climb using a comfortable tension, sufficient to support your weight.  We’re going to do a pyramid here – increasing the tension every 45 seconds until it gets really tough, then decreasing the tension.

Mony Mony – Billy Idol (5:01): Time for some sprints!  Four of them 20/20/20/20 with nice long 40-50 second breaks for recovery in between.  They go like this: 0:40 – 1:00, 1:43 – 2:03, 2:55 – 3:17, 3:58 – 4:18.

Stayin’ Alive – N-Trance (4:05): Okay, let’s do some lifts: alternating between 16, 8, and 4 counts.

Just Dance (RedOne Remix) – Lady GaGa and Kardinal Offishall (4:19): Second hill coming up.  Alternate between regular stance for the verses and aggressive at the chorus.

Mari Mac – Great Big Sea (3:19): Wind it up with some more sprints.  Split the riders into two groups while they recover for 0:45 seconds.  Group 1 goes: 0:45 – 1:15, 1:45 – 2:15.  Group 2 goes 1:15 – 1:45, 2:15 – 2:45, everybody joins in for the last 15 seconds from 2:45 – 3:00.  When you get to the end, I want everyone to give yourselves a big cheer: you did it, and you raised a lot of money for a great cause.

I’m Yours – Jason Mraz (4:03): Cool down and stretch.

I’ll add a post script after the event to let you know how it goes.


Back from Revolution.  The energy was just fantastic, with everyone singing along to Love Shack and really giving ‘er for Mony Mony and Mari Mac.  It was great to be part of the day.  Here’s a pic of me and the two instructors I rode with (Lindsay and Sandy), plus a couple of other pics from the event:




C’mon ‘n Ride It Spin Mix (45 minutes)

19 04 2009

This playlist is a collaboration with my grasshopper, Nancy, who is learning to become an indoor cycling instructor.  She chose the warm up, cool down and songs for the first two drills.  They give the playlist a real R&B feel.  I added Duffy’s remix of Mercy (thanks to reader NT for suggesting it, and to Amy and Denise for their ideas for drills to go with the song).  I also threw in some alt rock from Franz Ferdinand and Linkin Park.  The profile is a simple one: three hills with bumpy terrain between them.

Spring has finally come to Nova Scotia and I got another outdoor ride in today, just a short one of 15kms but lots of time on trails in Hemlock Ravine Park and a nearly vertical hill.  We coasted down the same hill on the way home and I couldn’t believe we’d climbed it – this monster was STEEP.  After the ride, we rewarded ourselves with breakfast at a cafe.

dawn-rest-stopSaturday Night – Whigfield (3:44): It sounds like it should come from the 80s, but this chirpy tune was a hit for Danish singer Whigfield in the summer of 1994.  Warm up your legs and get ready to ride.

C’mon ‘n Ride It (The Train) – Quad City DJs (7:31):  We’re headed into 1996 for this song that peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.  Alternate between a standing climb for 30 seconds, move into an aggressive stance for 30 seconds, then climb in the saddle for 30 seconds.  Increase the resistance and repeat.  There’s time for four sets.

Spiderwebs – No Doubt (4:29): Okay, we’ve got 45 seconds to recover, then it’s time for some sprints.  This song offers three: 15/30/60 seconds at 0:45 – 0:58, 1:29 – 1:55, and 2:36 – 3:44, with a pleasant 30 seconds for recovery at the end.

No You Girls – Franz Ferdinand (3:40): This is the second single from the Glaswegians’ latest album and it’s clever both musically and lyrically.  Don’t blame me if the chorus is still going through your head days later.  We’re going to work on some high tension lifts – 7/10 or 8/10.  Start with 8, moving to 4 as the song heads into the chorus, then 2 counts for the chorus.  Repeat.

Mercy (feat. The Game) [Remix] – Duffy (3:50): 24 year old Welsh wunderkind Duffy rocks this song that evokes the best of Amy Winehouse.  We’ve hit the second hill, so take the resistance to 5/10 and climb out of the saddle with a slight lean to the downstroking leg.  But it’s not just a climb, folks – we’re going to do out of the saddle sprints at each chorus.  Riders who don’t want to sprint can pick up the pace double-time for the choruses, or simply drop the tension a bit and speed up their cadence.  It goes like this:

0:00 – 1:00 climb (resistance at 5/10)

1:00 – 1:21 sprint!

1:21 – 1:50 climb (remember to take the tension back up to 5/10)

1:51 – 2:12 sprint!

2:12 – 3:40 climb (with a tension increase every 30 seconds until we hit the top)

Don’t Trust Me – 3OH!3 (3:13): Disturbing lyrics and the catchiest chorus since Katy Perry kissed a girl and liked it, this Boulder, Colorado band (the name is pronounced three-oh-three, after the area code for Boulder) is opening for Perry in Europe.  We climbed the second hill, now we get to sprint down.  Thirty seconds to take a drink and give your shoulders a roll, then we get back to work.  Take these sprints in the saddle: 30/30/30 seconds at 0:30 – 1:00, 1:29 – 1:58, and 2:35 – 3:05.  The clean version retains a badly disguised f-bomb.

Welcome to the World – Kevin Rudolf and Rick Ross (3:03): More lifts: 8/4/2 counts.  This is Rudolf’s second hit single, currently charting on iTunes.

Palladio (Radio Edit) – Silent Nick (3:39): Third hill.  Take it like this:

0:00 – 0:27 – fast out of the saddle climb tension at 4/10

0:27 – 0:54 – crank the tension to 8/10 and slog

0:54 – 1:48 – back to 5/10 and fly

1:48 – 2:35 – crank the tension to 8/10 again

2:35 – 3:03 – back to 5/10 and fly

3:03 – 3:39 – crank the tension to 10/10 – your maximum effort, and grind to the top.

Faint – Linkin Park (2:42): Last drill before the cool down.  We’re going to sprint to the finish: 15/30/30 seconds at 0:50 – 1:06, 1:30 – 2:00, and 2:09 – 2:39.

Shy Guy – Diana King (4:19): This song from King’s debut album appeared on the soundtrack to the 1995 movie Bad Boys.  It’s got a laid back reggae feel.  It charted in fifteen countries and hit #1 in Finland, Japan, and Sweden.

Rehab – Rihanna (4:55): Some extra cool down and goodbye music.



If you looking for an antidote to the four-day candyfest that accompanies Easter, here are some tips from the May 2009 issue of Women’s Health magazine to help you resist temptation in the future:

1.  Banish out-of-control hunger with smaller, more frequent meals. If you let yourself get ravenous, you’ll eat the easiest thing you can get your hands on, and it’s usually not pretty.

2.  Control distracted eating by using your fork with the opposite hand. It will slow you down and make you focus on your food – not on the TV.  (I’ve used this trick for years by eating with chopsticks at home.)  Note: eating chips with the opposite hand will hardly slow you down at all.  This trick works only with cutlery.

3.  Keep your goal in sight by weighing yourself regularly. Yes, you’ll catch every bump and salty meal (3lbs in 24 hours?  How?  How?) but a University of Minnesota study of more than 1,800 dieters found the more frequently dieters stepped on the scale, the more weight they lost.  Daily weighers lost an average of 12lbs, weekly weighers 6lbs.  Dieters who never weighed themselves ended up gaining an average of 5lbs.  Break your goal down into doable segments.  Nobody can think about losing 40lbs without feeling daunted.  Instead, decide to lose 5lbs.  Anybody can lose 5lbs, right?  That’ll take about a month.  Congratulate yourself and repeat 8 times.

4.  Curb emotional eating by keeping your spirits high. An estimated 75% of over-eating traces back to feeling blue.  Even small doses of pleasant emotions (tea with a friend, the Youtube video of Christian the lion, the Jon Stewart show, or a dash of retail therapy) will revitalize your willpower.

Against All Odds Spin Mix (83 minutes)

1 04 2009

I’m teaching in a cycling fundraiser for a local hospital in April. There will be 80 bikes so the energy is going to be incredible. No ordinary playlist will suffice for this kind of event, so I’m going to try something completely different: a playlist made up entirely of power ballads.

folding-bike-cycling-team1All Out of Love – Air Supply (6:11): VH1 counts this 1980 single among the greatest love songs of all time. Warm up your legs, give your shoulders a roll, and let’s ride!

Against All Odds – Phil Collins (3:25): Collins wrote this #1 hit after his first wife left him. It became the title track to the 1984 movie and won a Grammy in 1985. Jack up your tension to 6/10 for an out of the saddle climb. Feel that energy!

Open Arms – Journey – sprint! (3:18): Time for some sprints. There are three of them here, one at each chorus: 30/30/30 seconds. Race day pace, race day effort.

Lady in Red – Chris de Burgh (4:17): Slow it down for some single-leg training, two sets, 60 seconds each side.

Every Time I See Your Picture I Cry – Lissette (3:58): This one’s a grind of a seated climb at high tension – 8/10.

Fire and Rain – James Taylor (3:24): Steady flat. Find a cadence you can mantain for 3+ minutes and settle in.

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen (4:36): Another climb, this one out of the saddle, alternating between regular and aggressive stance. Gorgeous song.

I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner (5:06): This is Foreigner’s top single – it hit #1 in both the U.S. and U.K. We’re going to use it to contine the out-of-the-saddle climb, but first, give the tension knob a crank to the right.

Everything I Do (I Do it For You) – Bryan Adams (6:34): This ballad was a huge international hit for Adams and appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Let’s get back to some sprints: 30 seconds on/30 seconds recovery. Go!

Same Auld Lang Syne – Dan Fogelberg (5:19): This sweet 1981 hit tells the story of former lovers who have a chance meeting many years later. Do you have enough gas in the tank for another set of sprints? I’ll go easy on you: shorter sprints (20 seconds) with a longer recovery period in between (40 seconds). But no slacking – do ’em standing.

Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler (6:56): Tyler sold 6 million copies of this song, which we’re going to use for some lifts: first 8 counts, then 4, then 2.

Sunshine on my Shoulders – John Denver (5:11): We’re getting close to the end now, and riders will be tired. Split them into two teams, A and B. Alternate surges at 20% increased cadence, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds recovery. Only two more drills to go before the cool down.

How am I Supposed to Live Without You? – Michael Bolton (4:13): Bolton co-wrote this song, but Laura Brannigan recorded it first, in 1983, where it went to #1. Bolton’s 1990 version also went to #1 and became his biggest hit. Last set of sprints, one at each chorus: 30/30/30.

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin (8:02): This classic is the most-requested and most-played song on FM radio in the United States and brutal renditions of it have inspired many a sign in the guitar section of music stores reading, “NO STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN.” I remember a time when this song had to be the last song at a high school dance, the one you saved for the boy or girl you really liked. It will always remind me of a dark gym. We’re going to harness our remaining energy, take the tension to 6/10 and come out of the saddle to climb for the full 8 minutes. Come on, you can do it!

Amazed – Lonestar (4:00): This country song hit #1 in 1999. I first heard it at a wedding. The bride and groom chose it for their first dance. They’re now divorced, but I’m sure it had nothing to do with the song. Take the tension back to 2/10 and spin easy. You worked hard today.

You’re the Inspiration – Chicago (3:49): A little extra stretching time and goodbye music.






april-fool-clownthumbnail1You knew that was a joke, right? Sure, there are some great songs by some uber-talented artists on this playlist, but the real reason I chose them is because I thought they’d be utterly BRUTAL to spin to. Please don’t attempt to use this playlist in an actual spin class. You’ll risk getting water bottles thrown at you, and I can’t be responsible for that. Happy April Fool’s Day.

What other songs would be disastrous choices for a Spin class? Leave a comment.

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