Wednesday, April 22, 2009

There's something to be said about not getting sore!

As most of you know, I am training for an "epic" ride in italy, the Giretto.

I am chronicling my training program on my cycling in Europe blog (didn't want to overload you all here with that info!) and just wrote a post on how I haven't yet been sore while increasing my training volume. I used to use my soreness as a litmus test for how well I was doing. Kind of silly! But I've never really committed to a training program quite as diligently as I am for this.

It's pretty cool. And it has applications for those of you who might be training for your own event, whether inside or out. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Giretto d'Italia (The Little Giro)

Riding the Giro d'Italia, or any part of it, is a big thing. Daunting. Potentially even cold in the Dolomites in the month of May.

A little over month ago I committed to train for and participate in an event called The Giretto. It's the brainchild of a friend, Gene Nacey, who I know through Indoor Cycling. (He has an indoor cycle DVD company called Global Ride - check out his videos). Gene and I share a similar passion to bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor cycling. That is the premise of my ebook Keep it Real, and it is his idea behind his "cycling fusion manifesto". We want to show the world that indoor cycling could, and should, be used to train for outdoor riding if done properly, and to inspire indoor cyclists to get outside and ride a bike.

What is The Giretto (the "Little Giro")? We plan on riding the first 5 days of the Giro d'Italia prior to the pro racers on each day of the stage. The first stage is a Team Time Trial of only 20km, but after that, the distances range from 125 to 200km. So essentially, we will be doing four centuries in a row, with the last two days going into the Dolomite mountain range with some serious climbs.

Ouch! What the heck was I thinking?? I haven't even done a century in 4 years!

Gene wanted an "epic" event to highlight the fact that you can use Spinning/IDC classes to prepare. But he also wanted to attach it to a cause, so he contacted Livestrong and they happily agreed to have it be an official Livestrong event. So, we are raising money for Lance Armstrong's foundation, Livestrong,  whose goal is to find a cure for cancer and support cancer patients. I've always supported Livestrong and am a passionate Lance supporter, especially with his comeback goal of increasing worldwide awareness of finding a cure for cancer. 

From the website: 8 million people will die from cancer each year!

To combine this amazing once in a lifetime opportunity to ride in Italy and really challenge ourselves, with raising money for one of my favorite causes, well, that is really exciting to me!

Will you support me??

You knew that was coming, didn't you?! You thought, "uh oh, Jennifer's doing another fundraiser on a bike/Spin bike and she's going to ask me to sponsor her. Let me click on that 'X' at the top of this page before she knows I was even here!"

Too late, I know it! We just surpassed 40,000 views, remember?! ;-)

I know that things are tough right now, I know that there are hundreds of worthy causes, I know that you've already given* to your favorite cause. So I'm not asking for much - really! In this case believe in the quantity theory over quality. If just half of my daily visitors (varies from 200-350 people/day) were to donate just $.01 - $0.03 per mile (yes, you read that correctly), then I'd surpass my goal (of raising $2,000) in a very short time!

That's just one or two grande Chai Latt├ęs or Mochacinos!

Yes, that's all I'm asking for - $0.01 - $0.03 per mile (unless of course you want to give more). And you know what? I will relish every dollar donated, and it will empower me to get up those hills in the Dolomites. I am just as grateful for a $5 donation as I am the higher ones, because I know that in these times, it means reaching inside yourself and giving from within. Mother Theresa said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."

At the very least, please go to my donation page just to read why I am doing this event; what is my "WHY" behind doing this crazy ride? This is not a vacation, and it's not a for profit endeavor for my bike tour company, Viva Travels, which is a sponsor. I hesitate to say it will even be fun (but it should be an enjoyable challenge). 

It is going to be very, very challenging.

The fun (well, sort of) part is the training, and I can honestly say, since the very moment I committed to this event, a little switch went off in my head and my priorities reorganized themselves. I'll tell you more about that in a later post, because it's pretty cool when you have a BIG WHY behind your goals.

I am blogging about my training at my Cycling in Europe blog. Mother Nature has not been very cooperative here, so 99% of my training has been indoors, on a Spin bike (so I am taking the Giretto manifesto to the hilt)! I even Spun for 3 1/2 hours last weekend as it snowed outside. Check out my blog, then go to my donation page and send a little sunshine my way if you can - even if it's just the cost of a fancy Starbucks drink! If you have received any help from this blog, from my profiles and coaching tips, if you have felt that you are a better instructor as a result of reading this blog, I am hoping you can see your way to helping me in my goal.

Oh, and by the way, if this sounds at all exciting to you, or you know a cyclist who might be interested in doing The Giretto, this is our inaugural event, and we hope to grow this into a regular yearly event, all the while raising money for Livestrong! So send me an email and I'll put you on my mailing list for future Giretto information.

Tomorrow: my profile and playlist for my pyramid ride I did this morning in my 6 am class. It was one of my more satisfying classes in a while, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

* you have, haven't you? Because we are all blessed, and have so much to give, even if we don't have much. The more you give, the more you will attract into your life. that's the way the Law of Attraction works!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

40,000 views! Wow, I'm honored!

Wow, it blows me away that this blog has been viewed more than 40,000 times - it just broke that barrier sometime yesterday (and I didn't even start that counter until about the 3rd month, but back then I was lucky to get 50 views a week)! I know that 40K is not that big a number in the blogosphere but it's big to me, especially when I never thought this blog would turn into what it has.

The number of followers on the left have also increased a lot this past month - 110 as of today! Thank you to everyone who is "following" me!

I just want you to know I am so grateful for each and every one of you who visit my blog, download my profiles, leave a comments and share this with your friends. I think about it almost daily, what to post next, what fun thing I can share from my class that morning, etc. Lack of income and the need to put my resources (i.e. time) elsewhere for the moment are precluding me from posting as much as I want, but never fear - I'll be back!

And WSSC is only 6 weeks away, so I'll be posting a lot about my sessions and my experience there, and leading up to it.

You can also check out my other blog, where I am posting my weekly training for the Giretto that I'll be participating in in May.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Music list for a 3.5 hour Spin

My training program for the Giretto (which I will tell you more about soon...I promise - but go here for now to learn more) required a 60+ mile ride outdoors last weekend and 80+ this weekend. But darned if Mother Nature decided to rain and sleet and snow both weekends. And I do not do snow on a bike - I draw the line there! Call me a wimp, and I'll agree! I've only had one 45-mile day on my bike outdoors; that's not good...

Due to time constraints, it wasn't an option to drive 2 hours to Denver or Grand Junction to get my ride in the past two weekends, and besides, the weather there sucked too. (I may be doing the drive this coming weekend though).

As a result I've been spending a LOT of time indoors on my Spin bike in my basement, or at the club, staying an hour after or coming an hour prior to my 4 classes/week for extra saddle time. Yesterday, I went to my nearby club to Spin, inviting fellow instructor and someone I'm coaching and training, Samantha, to ride with me for 3 hours. But at the local family club, they were preparing for a Saturday morning Easter party, which included an Easter egg hunt in the entire upstairs of the club (including hiding eggs in the Spin room)! I couldn't very well ride with 50 kids running around with my electronic music blaring...

So we drove to the other club in Vail 20 miles east. After only 20 minutes of riding, a new instructor came to the Spin room with her boyfriend. She had just been hired and was going to teach her first class on Wednesday and wanted to practice. "GREAT!" we said, "that's one hour to keep us occupied, and you can practice on us!" 

Stephanie led us through her first Strength ride, which was really great (being a cyclist, she designed it around a challenging popular ride over 3 local passes). 

It also helped us pass the time. Doing anything indoors for 3+ hours is tough.

Samantha and I continued for another 2:05, for a total of 3 hours and 25 minutes! My HR stayed completely aerobic (as planned) with an average of 128 and a peak of 155 (my LT is 157).

I've been asked how do we stay motivated for 3+ hours of riding? What kind of music do we listen to? I had thrown together a playlist of songs from my Endurance and Tempo files on my iTunes. I wanted longer songs, because when a 13 minute song ends, you are extra excited that 13 minutes has gone by!

Here's my iTunes playlist of over 5 hours of music. Of course, we didn't listen to it all, and skipped some if we weren't in the mood for that one. But generally, this is an energetic playlist of motivating electronic tunes for Spinning. 

I discovered a few new favorites in the process: the long version of Jam and Spoon's Stella (I have many versions of this song) which is 13:34 minutes long by DJ Dave Ralph (Hey! That's my maiden name - maybe that's why I like it); Give Me Luv (That Kid Chris Tribute Mix) by Alcatraz (10:28); Manilla Sunrise by Luzon (9:56);  7th Son (Klangstrahler Projekt mix) by Sub 6 (8:27); Ruhe Humate Remix (Schiller) by Trance Allstars (9:57); Fallen (Gabriel & Dresden Anti-Gravity Remix) by Sarah McLachlan (10:25), and so many more!

Warning: you've gotta like trance/electronic/club to like a lot of this music. If that's the case, you will DIG this playlist!

Our profile? Just ride the bike! And bear with 3.5 hours of Spinning - mostly in the saddle, some flat, some hills. 

Enjoy the music. I'd say about 50% came from eMusic. Some I've had on my iTunes forever and have no idea where I got them. Some were given to me. A few were ripped from cds.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The most fun I've ever had on a Spin bike

On Sunday, March 29, I participated in a Spinathon with the Goodfit club in Montego Bay in Jamaica (yes, I finally got there late on Saturday night, after getting a ticket on the drive to the airport).

It was held outdoors on the top level of the Margaritaville restaurant & bar, overlooking the sea, in downtown Montego Bay. There were only 7 bikes (plus the instructor bike) but you would have thought there were 50 bikes, there was so much excitement and energy.

The Spinathon went from 6am to 6pm, with teams rotating all throughout the day in 1-hr increments. Throughout the day people accumulated, and after their ride, eventually ended hanging around the rest of the day. So by late afternoon, it was a veritable party.

There were awards for most money raised as an individual, as a team, best team spirit, best jerseys, and the questionable most distance covered (they have the Cadence meters). I came away from this event so inspired. I discovered that people from Jamaica love a good party, and everyone loves to have fun! The competition for team spirit was a tough one to decide, as most of the teams were oozing with spirit and energy and motivation for their teammates.

Unfortunately the competition for the most distance only encouraged cadences that were waaaay too fast and sprinting was a little too prevalent in most of the 1-hour sessions. But Natalie has promised me that next year they won't have distance as an award - she was against it, but everyone really wanted to do it. 

I was originally only going to lead two hours, from 8 to 10 a.m. For the first hour, I did my "Progressive Dueling Intervals" profile and the second hour I did the "Run Lola Run" profile. The music was a hit, so different from what they were used to hearing.

In between I hung around the deck because it was so enjoyable and the people were so fun to talk to, but finally went and fell asleep at the nearby beach for a few hours (Hey, I had to get some sun). I came back to lead the final hour at 5:00 at Natalie's request. And let me tell you, it was a phenomenal experience! I challenged them to a 45-minute climb, at cadences of 80 rpm and below. In fact I threatened to disqualify their teams if they went any faster than that. (That threat didn't help...some were still sprinting to gain those distance points, but oh well... To be honest, this was not the venue to spend too much time correcting people. We were there to have fun and to raise money. The ones that got it, got it)!

Above: Natalie Desnoes, the owner of GoodFit Spinning studio and organizer of the Spinathon, leading one of the first sessions in the morning. She and I first met at last year's WSSC, and soon after that she opened her boutique gym, GoodFit, in Montego Bay. It's a licensed Spinning facility dedicated to proper Spinning. 
I think I was telling someone to stop sprinting in the above photo, during the final hour's climb. That's Natalie's husband Andrew on the right, enjoying his post-ride Red Stripe.

The arrival at the summit!

EVERYONE was dancing, clapping, singing, partying!
After the climb ended, I played the "Obama Song" by Michael Franti and Spearhead. It's got a great reggae beat, and heck, here I was the American coming to celebrate with them - I had to play my Obama song. They LOVED it! I even got off the bike and danced with Natalie and Sandy-Lee!

I was so impressed with this event and cannot wait to go back next year to participate again. The money was raised for the Sandals Foundation which is building a school for under-privileged children. They raised $1,700,000! (Jamaican dollars). That's almost $20K USD which is phenomenal! Remember, they only had 7 bikes. That just goes to show you what you can do with perseverance, dedication, willpower and a whole great group of friends, co-workers, clients, & students!

The next day, I led a Spinning Orientation to an eager group of 9 instructors-to-be, most of whom participated in the Spinathon in some way. Now Natalie has some good choices to choose from as she expands her little Spinning club. At the time, she was the only instructor left (her only other instructor, Sandy-Lee, the smiling face on the left in the photo above, was moving to Kingston the next day).

And here's some more great photos by Lisa Lake (who got certified that Monday).

PS: I know I've been AWOL lately. I apologize. This post has been half-written for over 2 weeks! But life has gotten in the way since I got back from Jamaica, things like taxes, and building a house and being somewhat unemployed and wondering where the income will come from, not to mention trying to train a LOT for my big event (which come to think of it...I haven't even told you about. I rode the Spin bike for 3.5 hours yesterday)! Bear with me...I may post a little less often, but I still have LOTS of great teaching & coaching tips, music and profiles to give you all! Make sure to sign up for my mailing list - don't worry - you won't be inundated. That way you won't miss anything.

Blessings to all and Happy Easter and Passover!