Hyperspace Spin Mix (72 minutes)

22 07 2010

Hi everyone.  It’s Paul from Vermont, some call me Philbie (obvious from my last name, Philbin) and others call me Tiger, because I go get ’em.  Can’t resist going after riders ahead of me.  In addition, I don’t hesitate to mix it up on the ice, as I play hockey in the off season.  This week’s ride is called Hyperspace.  I named it after a song in the playlist around which I built the ride.  View the ride as a ladder.  Warm-up to 60% of maximum (for me that’s around 108 BPM).  Once the ride starts, use four segments of three songs each to build up to a crescendo of 80% of max (for me 144 BPM).  Each segment is comprised of two standing climbs followed by a seated flat.  The first standing climb in each segment is slower than the second one.  The seated flats are 80 rpm or above.  My ladder looks as follows: start at 108, after first three songs I’m at 117, then 126, then 135, and end at 144.  In the end, you build up an intensity level and exhort participants to maintain the intensity as the ride progresses.  Remind riders that each increase of nine heartbeats is the equivalent of a 5% increase in intensity.  Have fun and here we go!

The Warm-up (my warm-ups are always ten minutes and usually ask participants to warm-up at road resistance.  I incorporate upper-body stretching; nevertheless I’m more concerned with warming up those legs).

Your Crack Me Up — Huey Lewis And The News (3:40): seated flat with optional standing flats.  The rpm is above 80 so riders immediately in a good strong tempo.  You can ask them to come up in a running flat on the refrain of “You crack me up …”  Remember, we’re just warming up so keep it loose.

Ta Tienne — Carla Bruni (2:40): seated flat. Compared to the previous song the tempo drops but I used the five increases of energy in the song to ask riders to pick up the pace along with tempo increases and then back off when the tempo slows.  Again, keep remind riders that we are warming up so keep the resistance at road resistance or just slightly less.

No Love Lost (Single) — LCD Soundsystem (3:40): seated flat. This one has a nice strong tempo and riders should have no problem finding their groove and finish the warm-up at 60% of maximum and ready to go.

The Ride (12 songs divided in four segments. Each segment, two standing climbs, the first slower than the second one, followed by a seated flat.  Add nine heart beats by the end of each segment.  Some riders are bound to add their heart beats earlier than others.  I remind them where I’m at and that I’m quite happy to stay at 117 heart beats for five minutes and remind them that the ride will get tougher).

1st segment: by the end of this segment be at 65% of max.

One Little Slip (Original Version) – Barenaked Ladies (2:53): standing climb (@ 68 rpm)

Gel – Collective Soul (3:00): standing climb (@ 72 rpm)

All My Life – Foo Fighters (4:23): seated flat (@> 80 rpm).  Should be no problem adding nine heart beats following the warm-up.  Remember, an increase of nine heart beats is a 5% increase in intensity.

2nd segment: by the end of this segment be at 70% of max.

Bright Future In Sales – Fountains of Wayne (3:06): standing climb (@ 66 rpm)

Cream And Bastards Rise – Harvey Danger (3:17): standing climb (@ 70 rpm)

I Want You To Want Me – Letters to Cleo (3:26): seated flat (@> 80 rpm).  Maintain intensity, now we are at 70% of max.

3rd segment: by the end of this segment be at 75% of max.

Prophecy – Remy Zero (3:24): standing climb (@ 63 rpm)

Hyperspace — Nada Surf (4:35): standing climb (@ 76 rpm)

I’ll Be Your Jonny On The Spot — Ween (2:00): seated flat (@ > 80 rpm). Now we are at 75% intensity.  If you don’t like where you are then back off on the resistance.  Otherwise, keep going, you’re strong.

4th segment: by the end of this segment be at 80% of max.

Who Taught You To Live Like That? – Sloan (3:02) (@ 62 rpm)

Singing In My Sleep – Semisonic (4:30) (@ 68 rpm)

(If You’re Wondering If I Want You to) I Want You To – Weezer (3:28) (@ > 80 rpm).  You’ve arrived at the end of the training session.  Another 40 minutes artfully disguised!

Cool Down: bring yourselves back down to 60% of max; basically, back to your starting point.

Sonata No. 14 In C/M (Moonlight Sonata) (Pcm Stereo) – Depeche Mode (5:36)

Miami – Counting Crows (5:01)

Forgiveness – Collective Soul (5:00)

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen (4:38)

During cool down I like to get rider heart beats back down to double digits.  I’m not about exhausting riders.  I hope they leave energized.

Thanks, Paul!  This is surely the most eclectic spin mix I’ve ever featured on the blog.  From the pop comedy of Huey Lewis, Barenaked Ladies and Fountains of Wayne, through dance-punk with LCD Soundsystem, alt-rockers the Foo Fighters, Sloan, and Weezer, hard rock with Collective Soul, and just when you think you couldn’t be surprised, some classical music by Depeche Mode and Cohen’s Hellelujah to wind it all up.

I’m really glad you threw a tune by Sloan in there.  I’ve been remiss in not including any music from this Canadian alt-rock band, especially since they hail from Nova Scotia and I went to law school with the lead singer’s sister.

What’s up with me?  Kate and I are enjoying some vacation time in Ontario with my mom, brother and  sister and their families.  I’ve got another week here, then it’s back to Nova Scotia for a week, then on to one of my favourite places in the world, Prince Edward Island, recently home to Regis and Kelly.  Life on summer mat leave is pretty rough.  I’m going back to work in September, and looking forward to that, too.

Next up is Amy – she’s posting her ride on August 1.  Hope everyone is having a great summer (or winter, for those of you in the southern hemisphere).


Spinning for “Old Folks and Old Souls”

15 07 2010

When I gladly accepted Cynthia’s request to provide an offering for her blog, I felt I was approaching new heights in energy and creativity for my cycling classes, which—for me—are all about the music.  I was well into my third year and had found a rewarding balance of new themed playlists with the reuse of some personal and class favorites.  So a decision I had made to assess my teaching “career” when I turned sixty later this year—was I feeling fit enough to be a model for my riders, was I still having fun—seemed superfluous.  They would have to pry my cold, dead fingers from the handlebars sometime around the middle of the century.

But one weekend in mid-May changed that.  That was when, as my doctor noted, I got one day older, and my left retina decided to detach itself.  For the first time, I had to miss classes because of a physical ailment.  Only a week’s worth, I planned, with optimistic bravado.  Perhaps just two.  But I have learned that surgical success does not necessarily translate into a speedy return to stereoscopic sight.  I was still one-eyed, but here in Virginia not legally a menace to myself and others on our crowded roads and bikepaths.

So I was back in the saddle by early June, having used my unwelcome hiatus to write this piece, still waiting for the blurriness to clear.  It was a time for retrospection—time at last to organize the many random thoughts I’ve had about what songs were my favorites, and the favorites of my regular riders.   And more importantly, what songs worked best.

I’ve posted some of my playlists in the “Reader’s Playlists,” so you may have some idea of how I structure my classes and stay in touch with my riders.  I post my playlists before class and encourage people to spend their precious workout time in some other way if they decide they would not enjoy themselves.  Many get advance notice of my plans via email.  I announce the title, artist and length of songs, as well as the type of ride the music supports and ask riders to rate the songs after class.  Some instructors eschew notes, but I won’t trust my memory to anticipate choruses or instrumental breaks to avoid what I disliked most about many classes I took over the years: the disconnect between the energy and beat of the music and the directions of the instructor.

What most of the songs listed below share are big beats (made by human beings) that are easy to catch and a big sound that fills the room.  So here are my five top songs for each of several categories, a number that omits some truly wonderful spin tunes, but all of which fit my audience of  “old folks and old souls.”

Best Songs To End A Class (Before Cool down)

Why start with the end?  Because people remember classes for their kickass finales, requiring speed and power, drawing on reserves they weren’t sure they had.

5)        Red River, The BoDeans 3:40

4)        I Go To Extremes, Billy Joel 4:23

3)        Let It Roll, Little Feat 4:33

2)        Roll With The Changes, REO Speedwagon, 5:35

1)        Runnin’ Down The Dream, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers 4:25


The other end of the spectrum.  Moderate cadence, moderate resistance, but a beat  that swings and maybe gives a hint about what is to come.

5)        Let’s Dance, Chris Rea,  4:15

4)        Chain Lightning, Steely Dan, 3:00

3)        Just A Ride, Jem, 3:20

2)        Candy Everybody Wants, 10,000 Maniacs, 3:10

1)        Today I Started Loving You Again, Bobby “Blue” Bland, 3:49

Seated Hill Climbs

I call them “slogs,” slow, heavy beats that keep the core and the gluts engaged the whole way to the top.

5)        Free, Train, 3:58

4)        Fool’s Gold, Graham Parker & The Rumour, 4:16

3)        The Heart Of The Matter, Don Henley, 5:22

2)        No Mistakes, Patty Smyth, 5:24

1)        When You Talk About Love, Patti LaBelle, 5:33

Sprint Songs

More than high cadence, they have three 30 – 45 second surges of ramped-up resistance.

5)        Take Me Down, Phil Collins, 3:29

4)        Devil Inside, INXS, 3:57

3)        The Story In Your Eyes, Moody Blues, 3:06

2)        Speed, Billy Idol, 4:18

1)        Footloose, Kenny Loggins, 3:49

Best Novelty/Change of Pace

Some work only for special days–only every four years. Others are good for some recovery or an invigorating sprint, but who knew that “Hail To The Chief” had a pretty good beat?

5)        Water, Water, Michelle Wilson, 2:31

4)        Sabre Dance, Khatchaturian, 2:31

3)        Can Can, Jacques Offenbach, 1:23

2)        Hail To The Chief, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, 1:39

1)        Happy Labor Day, The Spoiled Chefs, 1:36


My regulars are energized or inspired by these, and never seem to tire of them.

5)        Love Colours, The Pretenders, 4:37

4)        Stand Back, Stevie Nicks, 4:59

3)        One, Mary J. Blige/U2, 4:24

2)        Unchain My Heart, Joe Cocker, 5:10

1)        Reach, Patti Austin, 4:31

If you would like to receive an emails of my weekly playlist, drop me a note at rbleventhal@gmail.com.

—  Bob Leventhal, Vienna, VA

Thanks, Bob!  What a goodie bag of great tunes.  I immediately downloaded Red River, Just a Ride, Free and Speed – those four were my favourites of the songs I didn’t know.  Awesome stuff.

The Tour de France started on July 3, 2010 and winds up on July 25, 2010.  Armstrong was caught in three crashes earlier this week, eliminating any chance of winning his eighth Tour.

A recent New York Times article asked the question: “Is cycling bad for your bones?”  Turns out, it is – at least for young males who race at the elite level.  Multiple studies have shown that these racers generally have lower bone density than active males in a control group.  Researchers have some theories as to why, but they haven’t been able to pinpoint the reason.  Recreational riders needn’t worry much about their own bone status, though.  Bottom line: elite racers should drink calcium-enriched sports drinks, lift weights, and get a bone scan to provide a base line and learn whether they’re affected.  Recreational cyclists can carry on (though lifting weights is good advice for anyone).

Next up is Paul, who blogs over at Tiger Spin.  Look for Paul’s post on July 22, 2010.

Fast and Furious Spin Mix (60 minutes)

6 07 2010

Hello Spinning Music readers, my name is Adrienne Ramsey, and I have been teaching Spinning since 2002.  I teach in Hingham, MA, and most of my students have been with me since 2003 when I started at my current gym.  Needless to say, I am always trying new things and music to keep them not bored.  I teach the early bird class before work so it is important that I wake them up before we all head to work for the day. (My “real” job is the Senior Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission at Babson College. I travel the world to represent a great school.  Very lucky!)

I love Spinning and use it as a complement to another passion- long distance running.  (My blog is www.runninginhingham.blogspot.com.)  This picture is from the Boston Marathon this year.  For most long distance runners, the summer is a time to cut back on the miles and focus on speed.  Attention gets shifted from marathon pace to 5K pace. This playlist and profile keeps that in mind.  We are not climbing hills, but instead using them as repeats to help us get faster and stronger.

Your Love is My Drug – Ke$ha (3:09): Start with a flat road, reminding students that they need a little bit of resistance to make it a flat road.  Take some arm stretches and have your students get into a relaxed upper body to start the ride.

Disturbia – Rihanna (3:59): Add a little bit more resistance.  It is time for some jumps to get your heart rate up.  30 finding the resistance.  1 minute of jumps at a count that is comfortable for the student.  30 second standing run.  30 recover.  1 minute of jumps.  30 recover.

Sandstorm – Darude (3:47): Keep the resistance and recover for 30 more seconds.  Then at 30 seconds in, tempo pace for one minute.  (My motto – you can do anything for one minute!)  Recover for one minute.  Again, tempo pace for 1 minute.  Recover.

OMG – Usher (4:29):  Take back resistance and ride flat for the first minute.  At one minute mark, crank up hill to a moderately uncomfortable hill, and push for one minute and fifteen seconds.  Remind students it is their choice whether or not they wish to climb or stay seated.  Pull back to a flat road. After one minute recovery, have students find an uncomfortable hill and push to the end.

California Gurls – Katy Perry (3:56):  The song of the summer! Starting at 45 seconds in, sprints on a flat road, alternating thirty seconds on, thirty off.

Motivation (Hands Up) – Astro and Glyde (4:52):  Ride it flat and bring it back to aerobic for the first minute.  Then at the one minute mark, one minute of jumps.  Instruct students to get their heart rates up.   Then, only 30 off followed by one minute at tempo pace on a flat road with a little bit of edge.  Time to recover until the 50 second to go mark – instruct them to choose whatever was harder for the final 50 seconds.

Breathe (Chris Cox Penetrating Mix) – Michelle Branch (8:54):  Hill repeats again!  First, one minute off to get aerobic.  Minute one to three, students should pick a hill that challenges them and climb.  Tell them when every thirty seconds passes and ask whether or not they are challenging themselves.  One minute to get back to aerobic, and then instruct students to find the next hill.  This hill is only one minute.  Recover again, and then when there is two minutes to go, have the students crank on the final and hardest hill of the sequence.

Give Me Luv (Cedric Jervais Remix) – Alcatraz (6:55):  We head away from the hills and back to riding fast.  For the first minute and a half, students should get heart rates down and back to aerobic.  Then, alternate 45 seconds at tempo pace followed by 45 seconds recovery.  Have students add TWINGES – small adjustments – of resistance with each interval.

Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon (3:23):  Flat road riding, but have students add resistance and climb out of the saddle during the choruses to sprint.

City of Blinding Lights – U2 (5:48): Full disclosure – I love U2.  I sometimes only listen to them when I am on the treadmill.  Anyways, final set of hill repeats.  Have students take about 30 seconds to find a light hill.  They should use this as their base for this song.  At the one minute mark, pull up to the hill and climb for two.  Take it back to the light hill and get aerobic.  At the mark for 2:30, students should find that hill again and ride it to the end.  Remind them to challenge themselves – it is the last hill of the day.

Four Minutes – Madonna (4:05):  One minute off, and then alternating sprints on a flat road, thirty seconds on and off.

Simplesmente (Tom Middleton Balearic Remix) – Bebel Gilberto (5:55):  cool down.

Thanks, Adrienne! I like the style of doing different drills within a song – it’s one I don’t use enough.  BTW folks, Adrienne’s blog isn’t just about running – she posts her spinning playlists there, too.  Most recently: a Fourth of July playlist and a summertime playlist.  Check it out.

Adrienne used some of my favourite spinning tunes in this playlist.  Disturbia, Four Minutes – oh yeah!  And mixing them up with the newest hits of the summer gives the playlist legs.  Your Love is My Drug has such perky energy, and there are all sorts of great remixes of OMG.

Using popular hits makes sense from a training point of view.  According to a recent Reuters report, cycling is the most beat-driven cardio activity, and the faster the music, the more intense the workout.  We knew that.  But the reported study also concluded that when people recognize the music they’re working to, it has the most impact.  That was news to me.

The article quotes a rep from the Equinox chain of gyms, who indicated that classic rock, hip hop, and R&B are the most popular, while 60s music generated negative feedback.  At my gym, top 40 is the most popular.

Some of you may have been wondering why there was no June 22 post.  Jenn sent me a note last week – she wasn’t able to contribute her playlist and sends her apologies.  Next up is Bob on July 15.  Bob has some great theme rides – I can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve for us.

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