Friday, June 27, 2008

"Green is the new yellow" - Sprinters take the stage at the Tour de France - a WSJ article

Karen, one of my blog readers from Florida, sent me this article in today's Wall Street Journal about the sprinters in the Tour de France and how this year is their year. It's a very interesting article - make sure to click on the Photo Slideshow for great photos of sprinters and a commentary. It's also interesting to note that this year contains more possibilities for sprint finishes than past Tours.

Though I am personally much more of a sucker for a great climber, I find sprinters a fascinating group. The risks they take are mind-boggling, but it doesn't seem to bother them at all. It's all or none with them, because going for the green jersey is often a matter of millimeters and nano-seconds. There's nothing worse (or more adrenaline producing) than seeing a massive pileup during a mass sprint a few hundred meters from the finish line. You can be sure the yellow jersey contenders will stay back in the pack to avoid potential crashes on the sprint finishes of flat stages. I think because of their incredible courage, daring and speed, sprinters are often brash and vivacious personalities, so proud of their accomplishments they often come across as cocky (more so than other riders, although Michael Rasmussen was about as cocky as they come). Don't hesitate to describe these vibrant personalities to your classes in your rides!

I've occasionally heard comments from instructors who would like to teach a TDF stage but don't feel confident enough to do so. They are so new to the sport and are unsure of themselves when talking about bicycle racing in their classes and tell me, "But I don't know the words to use, and some of my members know more than I do, so I feel silly!" My suggestion is to read as much as you can, especially some of the articles I've provided in the past posts, and to borrow videos or DVDs of past Tour de France races to familiarize yourself. You may even be able to find them in your local library. And don't worry what your members think - you are providing them with a fabulous workout and great entertainment. In many parts of the country, you'll know far more about the Tour than many of your members even if this is your first year - and it might even be you who turns them on to a new passion!

Whenever I read an article like this WSJ article, I am always perusing for verbiage I can "steal" to use in my Tour de France indoor classes. You should be doing the same - get yourself a small notebook, and start keeping some coaching and cueing notes so when you are teaching your class, you'll sound like the expert!

And remember, your ultimate goal with TDF rides is to have even more fun in your Spinning classes!

Enjoy this video of two early stages of the 2007 TDF and their crazy mass sprint finishes, one is even on cobblestones. Pay attention to the colorful verbiage used by Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett. Paul says, "He can't get rid of the Frenchmen, they are like sandbags to him - he wants get rid of them and float to victory!" And then how Phil Liggett says, "They all got beat by the yellow jersey, that will serve them right!" [...ah man, only 8 days before the Tour starts! Can you tell I'm excited??]

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Grateful for where I live in the mountains

I'll take a one-post respite from Spinning to tell you a few things I've experienced the past few days that have made me very grateful for where I live up in the Rocky Mountains. In fact, they help me forget the fact that yesterday, June 11, it snowed in Vail!

Over the weekend, my husband and I took a mountain bike ride. We ducked behind a building to take a shortcut through the parking lot. I almost didn't notice it as I was lost in thought, but Jeff was pointing at something with an amazed look at his face, so I rode over there and stopped in my tracks.

It was a huge red-tailed hawk in the middle of dining on a squirrel (I think it was a red-tailed hawk, he had siena-colored tailfeathers). Now, you may be grossed out by the thought of this squirrel, but this raptor is huge, and it's 10 feet from me, and it's stunningly beautiful and magnificent and scary at the same time. It stood about 18" off the pavement, and it's huge claws were wrapped around the limp grey body below it.  He stopped eating to stare at me, his beak covered with blood, and his eyes staring me down, as if daring me to come closer. I didn't. Satisfied that I wasn't after his lunch, he went back to disemboweling the squirrel.

Though it was fascinating, my mother taught me it's rude to stare at someone while they're eating, so we left it to eat in peace. I've seen many hawks flying overhead, and I've even petted a hawk of this size at a birds of prey show. But it's different when you see them in the wild doing what wild things do. It was truly stunning.

We continued our ride up to Beaver Creek, which consisted of a long climb on pavement, followed by a steep long climb on dirt roads - a wonderful anaerobic burn for much of the last 20 minutes. We arrived at the trailhead which would take us on rolling singletrack back to our house, but a sign greeted us that the trail was closed for elk migration and calving. I had totally forgotten about these springtime closures. Since we had gotten a good workout in, I wasn't bummed; in fact I thought, "How cool is that to live in a place where you have to worry about elk calving?"

Then this morning I was at a personal training client's house to work out with them. In the spring and summer we go outside and do intervals of jogging, skipping, lateral skips and lunges about 200 feet up the steep road in front of their house. (Nothing too strenuous, she's 65 and he's 72, but very fit)!

As we started, we saw two baby foxes run across the road, nipping and playing as they ran, and then duck into a hole amongst some large boulders next to their property. My client said, "Oh, I'm so glad the foxes are back. Last year some marmots stole their den!"

These baby fox watched us the whole time. They were so incredibly cute! Mama fox was about 50 feet away, sitting and watching us as we worked out. Later, as I drove away, all three were sitting in the middle of the street, the kits rolling around and nipping at each other and their mother. 

I've lived here 15 years, and have seen lots of wild animals, but never as close or as cute as the past few days. Next I hope to see a bear (but maybe not that close)!

Friday, June 6, 2008

New updated WSSC music list available

I've gotten many inquiries as to where to find the tracks from my WSSC playlists. I realize some of them may be hard to find, and I apologize for that! I can save you many hours of searching, because I've gone through and listed where to find many of the tracks through the sources I personally use - eMusic, Amazon, iTunes and Beatport.  There are other sources if you want to do the research. I edited my music list and it is now available by clicking here. So even if you downloaded it before, you might want to get this new version with the searching tips.

You can get at least 25 of these through eMusic for free! Click on the icon at the top left of this blog to qualify for the 25 free downloads. If you sign up, you get even more free downloads. The good news is that you can cancel at any time - no obligation.

I actually have created a music store in Amazon with my favorite albums from these playlists (and a few more). They're all in one spot right here.  

If you find other sources for some of these, especially the hard-to-find ones, please let me (and everyone else) know by leaving a comment.

Enjoy all this great music!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My WSSC music playlists

First things first - the Music!!

I have created one document that includes all of my playlists from WSSC.  Click here to download the file. Tip: Many of these (but not all - I'm guessing maybe half) are available on eMusic, so you might want to click on the eMusic icon on the upper left and sign up for your free 25 downloads, and see how many of these you can find there. (BTW, there's no obligation to join, and if you do, you can quit at any time).

You will find the playlists for the following:
1. LT Field Test on a Spinner
2. The Triple Threat (3 types of HIT intervals)
3. The Tour de France and Alpe d'Huez
4. Pedal Stroke Drills
5. Moving Mountains (including the Component of Flow for each song)
6. The Secret Ride

At the end of the document are the amazing lyrics for the song Move Any Mountain, which I used in Moving Mountains (in fact, the song was the inspiration for the title of the session, which I created 4 years ago). This song, from back in the 1980's, was before its time in its insightful and inspirational lyrics. But they sing it so fast you'd never understand what you were hearing. Now you'll know! These lyrics are not only applicable to the concepts we covered in Moving Mountains, but also in The Secret Ride. Here's an example:

I will not fail nor falter I shall succeed
My perception is altered I do believe
Faith is so strong now nothing shall bar my way
Firm conviction is no fiction - This is my day!

Here's to making TODAY your day!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

WSSC Recovery

This morning I had to teach a Spinning class at 6 am. My flight got into Eagle, CO after 10:00 pm last night, and as you can imagine, I am exhausted. I think on average I had 6 hours of sleep the previous 6 nights prior to and at the conference (and after the party I went to on Sunday night in Coral Gables as well).

So here's my story of my return from my fantastic weekend. My flight left Miami around 2 pm yesterday (Monday). I checked my bag, and literally 5 minutes later thought, "SHOOT! I forgot to take my car keys out of my checked bag and put them in my carry on!" Then I immediately replaced that thought with positive thoughts that my bags were going to be fine, that there wasn't going to be any problem, etc. And I put it out of my mind.

About 6 years ago, I left my car keys in my checked bag and was SOL when my bag didn't arrive at my final destination. So I learned a valuable lesson, and I haven't made that mistake since then. And the only reason they were in my checked bag this time is because the roller bag I have for my carry-on is the same bag I used to go to and from my sessions at WSSC (computer, handouts, cycling shoes, etc). I emptied it of "junk" to be less likely to lose anything. As I put my car keys in my checked bag pocket, I made a mental note to put them back in my carry-on when I packed up to leave.  (I am sure you can see where this is going).

Many hours later (my flight was Miami to Charlotte, Charlotte to Denver, Denver to Vail/Eagle, and the latter is a very small airport high in the mountains), I arrive in Eagle. Last plane of the night, small group of people got off the plane. Everything in the airport is closed. The carousel dumps out the bags, and then stops... and mine isn't there.

The first time in 6 years I've put my car keys in my checked bag, and that's the day it doesn't arrive. Here's another coincidence. I had been carrying around a spare key in my purse for a few months. Just last week, I took it out and hung it up on the key rack, thinking a spare key is much more valuable there than in my purse. If needed, my husband could grab the spare! 

Aside from the one airport employee I spoke to to register my lost bag, the airport was empty. And then he left, telling me the fire department would be in soon to close the airport down, but he didn't think they could kick me out! I was virtually alone there! And my husband was still in Miami (stayed a day longer with friends) and I have no one to call (it's late, and my friends either live 45 minutes away or are single moms or other excuses that kept me from wanting to call anyone - I simply HATE to be an imposition). There are no taxis or shuttles outside like at larger airports at all hours. I could call a taxi if I could find the number, but I already know it will be about $75-80.

My phone rang at about 10:20 while I was contemplating my dilemma. It was Allison, the director of fitness at one place I teach Spinning, returning my call from a few hours before seeking another instructor's number to possibly get a last minute sub for my 6 am class the next day (thank God she called at the late hour). But prior to the bag dilemma, I had committed myself to teaching that class. Long story short, she saved the day and came out and rescued me in her pyjamas. The firemen were a little concerned about me, and showed me how to exit the building through the locked doors, but Allison drove up as they were showing me.

Fortunately I only live less than a quarter mile from the club. Needless to say, at 5:15 am this morning, I was in denial that I really did have to get up that early. But I learned that the walk to the club in the early morning is really kind of nice, and that I shouldn't be driving anyway when it's that close (except when it's freezing temps)! I'm just too lazy and relish that extra 5-minutes in bed. That's one of the changes that will come out of this.

I had a small class, two women who I know overtrain all the time. I told them about my baggage fiasco, and about the conference, and about my need, and the general need for recovery. So they were very open to doing a recovery ride, thank goodness! We discussed periodization, the importance of balance in your training week, heart rate training, and more. For the first time, I think I made an impression on one of them, who has promised me she'll go buy a heart rate monitor and start recording her workouts.

And I felt so much better afterwards. Still needed a nap later on, but that little bit of movement at a recovery heart rate was truly what the doctor ordered.

I still need to find someone to drive me to Eagle to pick up my car, but I'm over the frustration of the situation (my bag was delivered this afternoon), and I am now trying to channel it into more positive things. I mean, heck, in the scheme of things, yeah it was a big pain in the butt, but no one is worse for the wear. As someone told me, "Wow! Jennifer, you are a powerful creator! If you can create that, imagine what you can create if you channel it into positive things for your business!" And when something happens, it is what it is, and no amount of frustration is going to change it. 

I guess you have to look on the bright side of everything.

It will take me at least a week or more to organize everything, but I'll be posting my outlines and music lists from my WSSC sessions right here on this blog. Check in often to see what's new, and let me know how your experience was at WSSC if you went.