There’s a tang in the morning air, students everywhere, and I am left wondering where the hell the summer went.  Summers notionally offer down-time for me, because my teaching responsibilities are minimal from May through August, but… nature abhors a vacuum.  Between that and my Type A nature, I managed to keep the too-busy party going all summer long.  (Extra teaching work?  Sure!)

Summers are traditionally a time of lighter attendance in cycling classes, as even the staunchest regulars migrate outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather.  Now that fall is approaching and days are growing shorter, I’m looking forward to classes filling up again.

Here is the first of two playlists I’ve been using lately:

Good Time – Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen (3:26):  This peppy pop anthem is the result of a collaboration between American band Owl City and Canadian Jepsen.  We’re going to use it to warm up.  It’s going to be a good ride!

Breakn’ a Sweat (Zedd Remix) – Skillrex & The Doors (5:31):  As soon as I heard this collaboration from dubstep producer Skillrex and the surviving members of The Doors, I knew I had to use it.  (There’s even a sample of Morrison in there!)  It’s a combo drill with three surge intervals and two out of the saddle climbing intervals.  First though, we’re gonna add some resistance and take another 30 seconds to warm up.

The first surge comes from 0:30 – 1:00.  (A surge is a not-quite-sprint, about 80% of your maximum effort.)  From 1:00 – 1:58 we’re going to add some more resistance and come out the saddle to climb (1st one).  From 1:58 – 2:58, it’s back to a seated surge (2nd one).  From 2:58 – 4:10, a climb (2nd one).  From 4:10 – 4:55 we’ll hit the third surge interval.  This is a tough drill, so we’re going to chase it with 35 seconds of glorious, water-guzzling recovery (4:55 – 5:30).

Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen (3:13):  I knew Jepsen was going to have a huge hit on her hands when I heard my friend’s curmudgeonly, pop-music disdaining husband singing the chorus repeatedly at a BBQ.  Sure enough, the song hit #1 on the American Billboard Hot 100 and was a #1 hit in fifteen other countries, too.  (Not too shabby for a second runner-up from Canadian Idol.)  Jump time – 8 counts for the verses and 4 counts for that ear worm of a chorus.  Resistance at about 7/10 feels right, so these are jumps on a hill.

Somebody I Used to Know (Tiesto Remix) – Goyte (4:33):  As much as I like Call Me Maybe, this song has my vote for song-of-the-summer and I was delighted to find a Spinnable remix.  When I first heard it, I watched the video obsessively on YouTube (yep, about 30 of the 311,870,511 hits are from me).  A simple, out-of-the-saddle climb.

Never Close Our Eyes – Adam Lambert (4:08):  I was in another instructor’s class a while ago and noticed that he had a fondness for combo drills – using more than one type of drill in a single song.  It was very effective, so naturally, I stole his idea and have since started looking for songs that allow me to incorporate combo drills into my own classes.  (Breakn’ a Sweat is another example.)  This song is a grueling combo of 8 count jumps during the verses and standing sprints for the choruses.  There’s a little lead-in before each chorus, and I coach my class to stop jumping and remain out of the saddle, then explode into a sprint when Lambert tips into the chorus.

International Love (feat. Chris Brown) – Pitbull (3:47):  I confess, I tire of Pitbull crowing about how beautiful women from all over the world throw themselves at him.  (I wonder if gorgeous men from all over the world are throwing themselves at Carly Rae Jepsen, and if so, will she write a song about it?)  But this song is still on the playlist because it’s a fine, fast, out-of-the-saddle climb.

Fallout – Marianas Trench (4:14):  This is the second single from these Canadian rockers.  It’s perfect for a seated climb.  One resistance increase per minute is about right.

Turn All The Lights On – T-Pain (3:36):  Another combo drill (see what I mean?)  This one is a climb with three sets that alternate between seated and standing.  From 0:00 – 0:45, stay seated.  From 0:45 – 1:15 there’s a 30 second standing climb.  Next set: roughly 30 seconds seated (1:15 – 2:02) followed by 30 seconds standing (2:02 – 2:32).  Third set: seated from 2:32 – 3:02 and standing from 3:02 – 3:32.  That’s a two-song, 8 minute hill behind us.

Levels – Avicii (3:20):  Another of my favourite songs of the summer, this one never fails to make me move.  I used the short radio edit, but iTunes offers several remixes running about 5:30.  We’re fatigued after that climb and we really need the juice to tackle these jumps: 8 counts to 0:53, 4 counts to 2:24 and 2 counts to the end.  There’s a break coming soon, I promise!

Mighty Love (Instrumental) – Eric Prydz & Andreas Postl (5:41):  Why not chase one great instrumental tune with another?  This one is classic Prydz.  We’re going to recover to 1:08 while the music builds (and we’ll need it.)  First set: a 45 second seated surge (1:08 – 1:55) followed by a standing climb (1:55 – 3:40).  Second set: a curse-inducing 1:15 surge (3:40 – 4:55) followed by a 25 second standing climb (4:55 – 5:20).  Ooohhhh…. we need another recovery break.  There’s a 21 second breather built in here.  (Yep, another combo drill.)

Swamp Thing (Radio Mix) – The Grid (3:59):  I found this 1993 U.K. hit while rooting around on iTunes and it’s great for playing with cadence.  I coach the whole four minutes as a surge, alternating between 70% effort and 80% effort with intervals at 0 – 0:45 (70%),  0:45 – 1:12 (80%), 1:12 – 1:55 (70%), 1:55 – 2:20 (80%), 2:20 – 3:00 (70%), 3:00 – 3:59 (80%)  Yee haw!  You could also coach it as a tempo drill – all four minutes at the same cadence.

Gold Guns Girls – Metric (4:05):  I found this song by Canadian rockers Metric the same day as Swamp Thing and love it as a wind up song, especially for the chorus, “Is it ever gonna be enough?”  This whole song is a surge, with three 30 second all-out sprint intervals thrown in.  The first one is at 0:50 – 1:20, next at 2:00 – 2:35, and the third from 3:15 – 3:50.

Drive By – Train (3:16):  I’ve been a Train fan since 2001’s Drops of Jupiter and this first single from their latest release doesn’t disappoint.  Drop the resistance back to a flat, paved road and ride easy.

Pride – Syntax (6:17):  Another gem I found while rooting around through iTunes.  It reminded me of Live’s haunting 1994 hit, Lightning Crashes.  (So much so that I sometimes use this as the first song of the cool down and chase it with Lightning Crashes.)  Syntax only lasted for two years and didn’t enjoy great commercial success but their music has been repeatedly picked up for film and TV.  I’m picking it up as darn good stretching and good-bye music.

So, I have a regular rider who goes too hard.  No matter what I coach, she goes harder.  She scoffs at recovery.  She typically skips the cool down and heads off to do more cardio on one of the machines. 

From a training perspective, having only one speed – flat out – is actually not the best way to do it.  She could get more results with less effort.  Do I say something to her?  Suggest a trainer to maximize her results?  Talk generally to the class about the importance of varying intensity when training?  Leave it alone unless she asks for my advice?  What do you think?