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.]


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!

Glamorous Spin Mix (60 Minutes)

15 06 2010

Hi, I’m Lisa. I happened to be in LA when Johnny G first debuted spinning, so I was an “early adopter,” spinning with just a handful of others & a boom-box in a gym at UCLA where I was in grad school back around 1995. But, it wasn’t until 2007 that I took the plunge and started teaching. I love it and have been teaching indoor cycle classes for 3 years now; I’ve also branched out and teach TRX and Pilates as well. I live in the Silicon Valley, so it’s a busy, type-A crowd around here. My class sizes range from 15-30 – I love ‘em when they’re packed! I like mostly pop/rock music, but mix it up too, with occasional techno, disco, Beatles, even Neil Diamond & Glee. I hope you enjoy this playlist & would love to hear any comments or questions.

[About the photo: I asked a student to snap a photo of me after class last week. Turns out I don’t look nearly as good as I feel after teaching for an hour. I decided to spare you the sweaty overheated portrait, and instead photo-shopped my head onto Lance’s body.]

(Title inspired by my 4 y.o. daughter who  learned how to spell “glamorous” after listening to this playlist with me.)

This ride has 4 hills with 1 interval song after each hill. This is a “no recovery” ride (meaning take your breaks when you need them, I haven’t choreographed them in).

[Tip: I like to play interesting background music for the 5 minutes or so while people are coming in and setting up their bikes. It gets their attention and sets the mood. A good one is Kalandero from Cirque de Soleil.]

Listen to the Music (DJ Malibu Mix) – The Doobie Brothers  (5:01):  I always start with a flat road, just enough gear that you can feel a bit of tension as you round the front of the pedal stroke, gradually adding as you warm up and need to adjust to maintain that flat.


The Gambler (World Cup Final Version) – The R Team (3:13):  This song is very controversial in my house. My husband hates it. But he’s not the one with the keys to the cycle room stereo.  This is the start of hill #1.  Combination hill, start seated, add gear to slow cadence and climb. Stand and add gear  0:55 – 1:15, sit down & hold that gear, stand and add gear again 1:47 – end.

Glamorous (Radio Edit) – Fergie (4:06):  Still climbing, start in saddle, add gear at 0:45 and 1:30, stand 2:30 – 3:10, sit and pick up cadence a bit, add a touch of gear at 3:40 and take cadence back to the beat to the end/top.


California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg) – Katy Perry (3:56):  Take maybe ½ a turn down; you’re off the hill, but on a rocky dirt road. 3 sets of jumps coming. Add a touch of gear at 0:40 and 0:50, jump from 0:50 – 1:25, 1:55 – 2:30, 3:20 – end.


Love Lockdown – Kanye West (4:30):  Add gear, Stand at 0:55, pull hips back and get low 2:00 – 2:15, then sit down (gently!), add a touch of gear, stand at 3:03, hips pull back 3:35 – 4:05, then set it down again.

Holllaback Girl (embarrassingly I resorted to the “Mix Masters” version trying to keep it clean) (3:21):  we’re going to do a little passing on the hill, not full sprints, but cadence “surges.” Starting in the saddle, first surge is 0:22 – 0:38, second surge 1:15 – 1:30, add some gear, Stand at 1:50, third surge is 2:05 – 2:20, add another touch gear to get to top, final surge is 2:58 – 3:15.  (Note from Cynthia: the explicit version is by Gwen Stefani and uses the word sh*t).


Where’s Your Head At – Basement Jaxx (4:44):  Flatten out and pick up cadence, prepare to do “drafting.” I usually split the class up into 2 groups and instruct them to find a cadence they can stick with the whole song, but play with the gear. When their group is in the “back” they are more in their comfortable zone, when it’s their turn to “pull forward” add about ¼ turn without slowing down and feel the wind resistance and drag of your buddies behind you. Starting at 1:35, alternate 30 seconds each.


Butterfly – Crazy Town (3:37):  “Stairstep” up this hill, meaning every time you come out of the saddle add about ½ a turn, and every time you sit down take off about ¼ (or half of whatever you chose to add). Cycle thru that about 4x.

Supermassive Black Hole – Muse (3:29):  I lifted this shamelessly from our fearless leader Cynthia. Same drill, ‘cept on a hill:  Climb/surge C: 0:00 -0:15, S: 0:15 – 0:32, C: 0:32 – 1:02, S: 1:02 – 1:35, C: 1:35 – 2:25, S: 2:25 – 3:12.

Cobrastyle – Teddybears featuring Mad Cobra (3:00):  I’m groovin’ on this song this week. I love it and I hope it earns me back any cool points I may have lost by playing a Kenny Rogers cover earlier. Finish off the longest hill today with a seated climb. We’re holding the cadence, but adding gear 3x “passing thru the crowd with gear instead of speed” add at ~ 0:35, 1:15, 2:00.


Desenchantee (Radio Mix) – Kate Ryan (3:41):  Adjust gear and get on a flat road and increase cadence. Go around 2 turns and hit headwind, add about ½ turn and slow cadence a little for those headwinds at 0:58 – 1:30 and 2:25 – 3:00.


Paper Planes – MIA (3:24):  Standing climb, straight up, just keep adding gear. Do a “seated gear check” at 1:40 – 2:00 (means take a seat and see if people look like they’re really on a hill, adjust gear as nec. and then resume standing climb).

Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas (4:11):  Ok, iTunes did not warn me that this song has explicit language, so poor Gwen got supplanted by the Mix Masters but BEP here says sh*t more times than I can count. Whoops. But once I’ve paid iTunes my $1.29, my classes are gonna hear it.  I don’t get paid enough to buy multiple versions of the same song dangit!  Finish off this last hill strong. Start in the saddle, then stand at 1:00 +, around 1:45 Fergie wails “time to get down ” and that means we need to pull our hips back and get down, then set it in the saddle and pick up cadence a bit 1:55 – 2:30, back to beat, then stand at  2:50, 3:20 pull hips back again, sit and increase cadence a bit  3:50-end.


Self Control (Club Edit) – Paffendorf (3:29):  You are *Not* tired! “It’s all about self control.” Gather your strength. Finishing on a flat into a headwind with 2 passes. You can see the 2 riders you want to pass before you hit that yellow tape. Let’s go. Pass #1 is 40 seconds, start increasing cadence at 1:13, pick it up even more at 1:27, finish it off at 1:55. Pass #2 is 50 second start at 2:40, pick it up even more and give whatever you have left from 2:55 to end.


Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (feat. Freshlyground) – Shakira (3:23):  Easy flat as folks catch their breath and recover. Gradually reduce speed and gear.  (Note from Cynthia: This is the official 2010 FIFA World Cup Song.)

Poker Face (Glee Cast Version) [feat. Idina Menzel] – Glee Cast (3:40):  continue cool down and then quick stretching. Shout out to any fellow Gleeks out there! Woot!

Thanks Lisa!  I love Cobrastyle and downloaded it right away.  Also love Waka Waka and it’s timely with the World Cup.  I’m not a Gleek – haven’t really watched it.  I was a Lostie and I adore The Big Bang Theory.  Speaking of the World Cup, look for a couple of World Cup rides on the Reader Playlist page very soon.  Did you get to spin with Johnny G?  Tell us all about it!

Next up is Jen on June 22.  She blogs over at Leave it on the Bike – check it out.

And folks, I’m officially back on the bike – I will be covering a colleague’s Wednesday 5:30 p.m. 50 minute spin for the rest of the summer, then going back to my old Thursday lunch class… or maybe both?  We’ll see.

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