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.


Gonna Make You Sweat Spin Mix (43 minutes)

4 06 2008

Back in the 90s, we watched the latest videos on Much Music (or MTV) instead of YouTube. We bought CD’s at record stores instead of downloading songs from iTunes. At the gym, we listened to music on our Walkmans, with cassette tapes we dubbed at home. Working out was all about staying in the fat-burning zone. People lined up to use the latest, hottest cardio equipment: the StairMaster. Life was a highway, and we wanted to ride it all night long. This Spin mix heads straight back to the 90s. It’s an easier workout designed for beginner classes, and it’s far and away the most popular mix on this blog, with over 1,000 views. Variations on 90s music are also the most popular search terms that bring people to the blog – who knew 90s music was so hot?

Good Vibrations (Workout Remix) – Power Music (4:54): Mark Wahlberg had a #1 Billboard hit with this 1991 single, back when he was Marky Mark and had a Funky Bunch. The video is still on YouTube. In the mood, yet? Three minutes in, jack up the tension to 4/10 and start climbing.

Strike it Up – Black Box (4:32): This dance tune charted in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, the UK and USA. It was everywhere in 1991. Take the tension up to 8/10 and climb with the beat. Every 30 seconds, alternate between standing and seated climbs. Jack the tension up to 9/10 for the last minute.

Gonna Make You Sweat – C+C Music Factory (4:03): Another #1 hit from 1991. The opening bars are still played at sporting events. We’re doing lifts: 8/4/2, tension around 5/10.  Place your hands on the bars for balance only – this is all about the legs. Raise and lower yourself in nice controlled movements.

Laila – Dieter Bohlen and Blue System (3:26): Who? This German musician sold an impressive 125 million units worldwide and had 15 #1 hits in Germany, including Du hast mein Herz gebrochen (“You broke my heart,” according to Babelfish.) So how’d I get onto Dieter? I picked up a cassette tape for my Walkman in a bargain bin in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It was called Euro Dance Hits and featured Laila along with a number of other tunes, like Finally (CeCe Peniston), Show Me (Robin S.), and Rhythm is a Dancer (Snap!) and a few others I’ve never been able to track down anywhere else. I listened to that tape on dozens of runs and eventually lost it in a move. One thing I’ll say for old Dieter, he really knows how to make a girl sprint. There are four sprints here (at each chorus): 15/30/30/30 (give or take) at 0:14 – 29, 0:50 – 1:18, 1:54 – 2:23, and 2:37 – 3:07.

What is Love – Haddaway (4:34): Saturday Night Live’s Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan head-bobbed to this 1993 hit in their hilarious movie about two brothers desperate to get into a hot nightcub, A Night at the Roxbury. No head-bobbing here, just fast climbing. Keep the beat.

Mr. Vain – Culture Beat (4:32): Right away, you know you’re in for some sprints:30/40/40 at 0:30 – 0:60, 1:41 – 2:21, and 3:06 – 3:46 with nice 45 second recovery breaks in between. This song topped the charts in twelve countries in 1993.

Rhythm is a Dancer – Snap! (3:24): Single leg training, 2 sets of 45 seconds for each leg. Keep the tension high enough that you’re really glad when it’s time to switch legs – 8/10 or higher. Don’t listen too closely to the lyrics. One line, “I’m serious as cancer when I say rhythm is a dancer,” comes up regularly in polls of the worst song lyric of all time.

I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred (2:49): This one’s pure fun. Don’t discount Right Said Fred until you’ve listened to the charming Deeply Dippy, from the same album. We’re doing lifts: 2/4/8.

Blinded by the Light (Radio Cut) – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and Michael Mind (2:45): For the love of Pete, the lyric is not “wrapped up like a douche.” How do I know this? Exhibit A: the songwriting credit for this one goes to Bruce Springsteen, and I ask you, would the Boss write that? (Bruce’s version on iTunes is so different from this one that they don’t seem to be the same song.) Exhibit B: lyrics websites report that he’s actually singing: “Blinded by the light/revved up like a deuce/another runner in the night.” We’re sprinting for this one, just two, though: 30/45 at 0:37 – 1:07 and 1:52 – 2:37.  When the music goes, explode forward – race day effort!

Finally – Ce Ce Peniston (2:50): I will always remember this chirpy 1991 hit for the Australian Outback dance scene in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. In fact, you should watch it right now – it’s unforgettable. Here’s the Youtube link. I’ll wait. Okay, ready to climb? Tension at 6/10.

Sleepy Maggie – Ashley MacIsaac (5:28): This Cape Breton fiddler took Canada by storm in 1995 by infusing Celtic fiddle music with hip hop and dance elements. Mary Jane Lamond is on vocals (they’re in Gaelic.) MacIsaac is breathtakingly talented. He plays with such passion that he can wear out a fiddle bow in a single song. Cool down and stretch, then head back to the future.

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