Friday, July 31, 2009

New Spinning Playlist and new podcast

This morning I rode my Resistance Reloaded profile, a fairly challenging Strength ride. We got a late start because the person opening the club didn't show up in time (grrr - I'm sure all you early morning instructors or gym-goers have encountered that before), so I had to take out one song in the middle (the "intermission" song, which meant they had to climb the entire time with no break - ah, but my students are used to it)!

I posted that profile almost a year ago (wow, time flies). I didn't have a specific playlist to go with it at the time (read the blog post to find out why). This new playlist worked really well so I thought I'd share it with you.

When you download the profile you'll see that it is 8-minute blocks of climbing, with progressive resistance-loading in the saddle for 5 minutes, followed by 3 minutes in a standing climb, repeated over and over. This time I created a playlist using a 5-minute song followed by a 3-minute song (give or take a few seconds). I've been doing this a lot lately with my music for profiles that are in blocks like this, and it really helps not having to watch the clock much. For the final song however, I used an 8-minute song (5 min seated, 3 standing). It helps to have a LOT of songs in your library so you can narrow down your selection based on time. Those of you with Mix Meister can do this with almost any song, but to be honest, even when I did have MM (before I got a Mac) I didn't like to chop longer songs into much smaller pieces, because you could lose so much of what is good in that song; I just used MM to fade in and out.

The profile calls for 6X8-minute blocks. This is fine for a 60-minute class, but my morning class is actually 55 minutes, so it's hard to fit in. So I did 5 blocks instead of 6, and put in a 3-minute "intermission" flat road in the middle (which as I mentioned above, I had to take out this morning; but next time I'll keep it in, as it does give them a nice break).

Here was my playlist:

Kubala Ma, Karunesh 5:04 - warm-up

Swamp Thing, Juno Reactor, 5:12 - first seated climb. This has a faster cadence - good to ease into your climb.
Cabin Down Below, Tom Petty, 2:51 - standing climb.

Distance, Radar, 5:07 - seated climb
Dreaming Against Me, Seven Mary Three, 3:05 - standing climb

Euphoria, Delerium, 5:03 - seated climb
Freeform, Playmaker, 3:01 - standing

Wildflowers, Tom Petty, 3:11 - "intermission" seated flat

Apparition, Delerium, 5:05 - seated climb
The Mission Soundtrack, Ennio Morricone, 2:53 - standing (these two songs have a similar "in the clouds" feel. I LOVE The Mission for a standing climb.)

Tribal Force, Klangstrahler Projekt, 8:01 - 5 min seated, 3 min standing

Read My Mind, The Killers 4:07 - flat road, gradually reduce HR to cool down
Track 10, Spinning Across the Alpes (from Hanima Hitechwell Italy), 4:32 - cool down/stretch

Exciting new podcast coming very soon!
This morning John Macgowan and I recorded a new podcast and tried an experiment. We're going to help you all with profile creation, so please check out the indoor cycle instructor podcast and let us know what you think. He's got to edit it, so give him a few days, but I think you're going to like what we have in store for you!

Remember, keep spreading the word about Funhogspins and the Indoor Cycle Instructor podcast - don't keep it to yourself! When we raise the level and quality of all instructors, everyone in our industry benefits, especially our students. It's like the old adage, when you raise the level of water in the harbor, all the ships rise!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sugar addicts

I want to pass on an astounding fact. This was posted by Joe Friel on Twitter a few days ago.

We all know that there has been a huge increase over the decades in the consumption of sugar in developed western countries, and it's fast shifting to undeveloped countries too.

But did you know that it was this bad?

  • In 1900, the average American ate 30lbs of sugar and sweeteners (I'm assuming that's in one year)
  • In 1967 that was 114 lbs.
  • In 2003, 142 lbs.
  • A linear increase would be 150 lbs by 2020!

Most of the increase is soda.

Put down that coke can America! No wonder we have an epidemic of obesity!

If only we could get them all into our indoor cycling classes....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm Coming to Can Fit Pro!!

Just a quick update, I'll fill you in with more information soon, but I just found out today that I'm coming to Can Fit Pro in Toronto in 3 weeks! I'll be doing Meg McNeeley's sessions, which is awesome because she's a cyclist and her sessions are very cycling oriented, so it's right up my alley and I won't have to prep that much!!

Meg, bless her heart, needs to put all her energy into healing from some physical issues, so she asked me to come in her place.

Yeah! I loved doing Can Fit Pro last year. If you are going, or thinking of going, please let me know. I look forward to seeing you all there.

More soon!

P.S. I'm going through Tour de France withdrawals....
Tomorrow morning is my first post-TDF class for my morning regulars (I taught one tonight but I only had 2 newbies and one other student, and it was all about proper form and intensity management). I'm planning on doing a very simple endurance ride with some rolling hills. Very little structure except to Just Ride the Bike! ;-)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heart Rate monitor usage study - Please Help!

Now that the Tour de France is over, I hardly know what to do with myself!!

Just kidding...I've got a LOT of things on my to-do list that got pushed to the bottom due to this 3-week bicycle race in France which has been all-consuming for me, if you couldn't tell! ;-)

One of those items is a study that is being done on the psychological importance of heart rate monitoring. Yes, psychological, not physical. I've been intending to tell you all about it for awhile, and now my time is running short as she wants to complete the study and compile the results in the very near future. Can you take a moment and fill out this survey?

Who should take this survey? YOU! Anyone who has used at one time, or considered using, or currently uses a heart rate monitor for your own training and/or teaching. Your students could take it as well; it's not just for instructors. A big sample size and a wide variety of participants will greatly help with the results.

And I believe the results will be very important to each and every one of us as we grow in our instructing and learn more about how, if and why we should utilize heart rate training. Click here to take part in this very short survey.

Who is doing the study? Melissa Marotta is a Star 3 Spinning instructor and 2nd year medical student in Vermont. I am in awe of her for her intelligent, educational, inspiring blog posts, and for her passion for Spinning and love of her students. It would be an honor to be able to take one of her classes in Vermont or NYC, where she taught 20 classes a week for years before going off to medical school. You can feel her passion just by reading her blog, or by listening to her on the Indoor Cycle Instructor podcast talking about her survey.

This is the 4th month of her data collection for this survey, so do it now as it is closing soon!

Here is a little description of her study in her words:
We appreciate the physiological importance of heart rate training for meeting our fitness and performance goals. But are there psychological effects of heart rate training?

The way we think and talk to ourselves is a prime determinant of our physical performance. If we can better understand how to incorporate heart rate training into this construct, just think of the possibilities. As instructors, there is often a disconnect between the presenting and receiving ends of the dialogues we have with our riders about heart rate training. [When the results of this study are released] we will have concrete data about how to more specifically reach people. What are they hearing, and what are they taking away from it?
I strongly encourage you to participate in this study and let your voice be heard!

Thank you so much for your participation, and I also want to let you know how grateful I am for all my readers. I hope you got a lot out of my Tour de France sessions.

Oh, and here's a fun bit of funhogspins blog trivia: my blog has now been viewed in 76 countries! Keep spreading the word!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Great Website for Ventoux information

Check this website out. A hotel I use near the base of Ventoux sent me this great promotional website put together by the Vaucluse to promote their region to cyclists and others coming to the Tour just for this stage. It's a brilliant piece of marketing. Click on History for information on the stages that have gone up Ventoux beginning in the 50's. You also get great pictures that you can conjure up in your stage description - they literally will be riding through fields of lavender through the middle section of the stage.

And here are 11 things to know about Ventoux from a cycling blog called Cyclefit (someone I follow on Twitter).

In 1967 Tom Simpson died about 2km from the top on a very, very hot day (over 100 degrees farenheit). His famous last words were, "Put me back on my bike!" Back then they didn't know much about the effects of drugs and dehydration. He didn't have enough water - Tour rules at the time were such that they could only have 4 bottles! (Those rules were changed after his death). In an autopsy, they found amphetamines in his system. Apparently one of his teammates recently came out and said he definitely drank brandy that morning!

Above is the memorial that was erected to Simpson, a photo I took in 2004, the last time I climbed it. To this day, cyclists leave water bottles and other mementos to honor the fallen cyclist.

This memorial will play into my own Ventoux profile which is coming, I promise! I'm planning on posting it this afternoon, so come back soon!

(On a personal note, I've got to first get my house ready for an open house for realtors - they'll be parading through here in a few hours - cross your fingers a few of them have buyers in mind. I need to sell my house, and a LOT of stress will be lifted!)

BTW, thanks for the comments! It really does help, just like the applause helps riders get to the top. No one likes teaching Spinning to an empty room - it helps to know you're there and appreciating this!

I won't blow today's Tour if you haven't watched it yet, but I will say this:

It was frickin' amazing, exciting as hell, and as I predicted, so far the most exciting stage of this tour. I practically needed CPR afterwards!
(But wait, Ventoux is coming)!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day! French Spinning tunes

I'v been wanting to post some fabulous fun French songs to use in your Tour de France Spinning programs; but I haven't had one second to spare the past two weeks. Finally I get a tiny break between creating tour packages for my clients going on self-guided tours to the Tour de France. Yes, I am sending several small groups to the Tour de France - they are all going for the final week, departing this weekend for a few of the Alpes stages (including the time trial) and then Provence to watch the amazing battle on Mont Ventoux. I am living vicariously through each custom package I create. I give them everything they need - everything - to do it on their own in total confidence!

I'm not going this year; there weren't enough people signed up for my guided tours, but I'm grateful that enough people wanted to go on the self-guided options. I guess this is the year to cut corners - self-guided is much cheaper. Personally though, between you and me - the self-guided is way more fun; that is, if you are the independent sort and don't mind driving and supporting yourself. If not, then it's more fun to come with ME on a guided tour! ;-)

To keep myself from getting bummed that I'm not there, I am really getting into and enjoying my Tour de France Spinning classes. I am using a lot of new (well, new to me) French songs I've found on eMusic. I intersperse a French song or two with my regular music, and it keeps it very interesting. So far they seem to really enjoy the mix.

I've complied a pretty big list of my old and new favorites and have it here for you to download. Most are dance/club style, some are rock, alternative, punk, and a lot of French pop. Oldtime classics I use a lot for pre or post-class music or cool-downs, but I didn't list specific classic songs here, just the artists that you can search on eMusic or iTunes or elsewhere.

The good news: almost all of these suggestions can be found on eMusic (except a few key ones you'll want to get on iTunes unless you can find them elsewhere). So if you haven't signed up yet for your free downloads from eMusic, now's the time to do it - just click on the icon on the left of this blog. If you're already a member, watch out - these tunes will probably take up your whole month's allotment!

Have fun with this music, and let me know how your Tour de France classes are going! Also, if you have found other great French music, please share.

I appreciate any and all comments.

Bon ├ęcoute!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Livestrong! Honoring loved ones in your TDF Spinning classes and fighting LIKE Susan.

On Pedal-On, Fitmama (Jessica) posted a video of the Livestrong manifesto, and said she is using it as the warmup to her TDF rides, asking her class to ride in honor of someone they know whose life has been affected by cancer. This is a BRILLIANT idea! I am going to ask my class to do the same thing this Friday when we ride Stage 7. If we all do that, think about the energy we can put into the universe! Watch this video...

I have promised you some posts with French music and TDF profiles, but I am at the moment overwhelmed with trying to finalize my self-guided tours for my clients leaving soon to go to the Tour de France. I've promised them their tour packets very soon (and for that I get paid, so it trumps my other obligations and hobbies, like blogging and even cycling). I am grateful that I got two more last-minute clients in the past week, two people going solo, mind you, to the Tour de France. (That would be me, in a second, if I didn't already know how to do this stuff)! So even more work is crammed into these same few days leading up to this weekend when we are planning an Open House to try to sell our house in this crazy market - and there's lots more work to do to get it cleaned up and ready.

I'm dying to give you all my Spinning profiles for the Tour de France - I did a fun one this morning for Stage 5 and will do Stage 7 into the Pyrenees on Friday. Plus I have a planned post on some great French music - you'll need that soon if you want to add some new exciting French music to your playlists for this TDF. (In the meantime, sign up for eMusic by clicking on the emusic icon on the left of this blog so you can get the freebie downloads, and do a search for In-Grid, then download all her extended mixes. Many of you have Tu es Foutu already - but her others are also fun, Her regular albums are good too, but the extended mixes rock).

It's all coming...soon. Bear with me.

Oh, and I must add that while doing all the above, I'm trying to watch the Tour as much as possible, because it is truly one of the most exciting Tours I've seen in years (and I'm not there - argh)! The Tour de France, if it wasn't already pretty darned evident, is one of my biggest passions.

As a procrastination tactic, I just read the Fat Cyclist's blog post for today and feel compelled to write about it right now, setting everything else I have to do aside. Please, every single one of you needs to read this and send Susan your healing energy - and Elden needs it to. As the caretaker, he is a true hero. So few of us can even comprehend the pain and sadness of what this family is going through - it makes all my issues and problems seem like absolutely nothing.

This has everything to do with running your Tour de France programs in your Spinning classes. Lance Armstrong has his team from Livestrong parading all over France following the Tour, spreading the word on cancer awareness. It is truly amazing the outreach and effort - how can anyone not admire Lance Armstrong, succeeding both in his efforts to raise awareness that we are far, far from where we need to be in cancer research, as well as in his physical efforts at the Tour de France - he's tied for first place for crying out loud!

Did you know that all sales of Livestrong yellow bands at the Tour are going to the French cancer league to help their cause?

And it's all for people like Susan. Read this and send them your prayers.

Let's all follow Jessica's suggestion in our indoor cycling classes and ride this week for someone who has been affected by cancer! If you are doing so, please leave a comment below so we can see the impact we're having around the world with our Spinning classes!


Friday, July 3, 2009

The Tour de France 2009 at the Homestead Court Club, Edwards, Colorado

The Tour de France begins tomorrow morning!

I have just put together the schedule for my club, the Homestead Court Club. We have four 6 am classes per week that will be participating in the Tour de France program. Todd teaches Monday, Amber on Tuesday and I teach Wednesday and Friday. I've created the weekly schedule, selecting 12 stages. My goal was to offer a variety of types of stages, while also giving each instructor variety, and at least one big mountain stage. (Those are my own personal favorite!)

I want to give you, my readers, the flyers that I've created. They are in a word document so that if you want, you can modify them to meet your needs - or you can just use them as ideas to create your own. I have tried to keep them very simple.

This is the flyer that we are posting around the club announcing our Tour de France program. Last year we did a contest with prizes, but that's not in the budget this year, so it's very simple.

This is the schedule of stages, which will be posted in the Spin room.

Then for each stage, I'll have a separate flyer posted on the Spin room (and sent to the instructor in advance by email). Those I'll give you in the next few days. The first stage we'll do will be on Monday. I've chosen stage 2, from Monaco to Brignoles. Below is the profile, taken from It will be up to Todd, the instructor, to put together his own profile to fit this course.

Amber will do the Team Time Trial on Tuesday morning (a very fun stage to simulate), and my first one will be on Wednesday, which will be a fairly flat stage with a definite sprint finish.

More coming soon! Allez, Allez!

4th of July Spinning Profile - Kareoke Spin! And the Tour de France

So many things happening at once!

First, my profile from this morning. For the first time in my long Spinning career (13 years) I had a sing-along! It was only one song, but we had a taste of Kareoke Spin this morning! My Friday classes usually focus more on climbing, and today was no different. I did three separate hills. Intensity? Whatever they wanted - staying below threshold for much of it, some of the surges and really hard hills will take them higher. Use the downhills to recover heart rate.

Warm up:
Coming to America, Neil Diamond 4:19
American Made, George Thorogood, 4:07.
Begin raising the HR, slightly faster cadence, around minute 6.

Flat: R.O.C.K. in the USA, John Mellancamp. 2:55
Fun, fast song. Standing flat surges of 10-15 seconds, then sit with high cadence (95-100 rpm) for 30 seconds. Alternate.

1st Climb - about 7.5 minutes.
It's the 4th of July, Big Jack Johnson, 2:56. What's more American than Blues? Great start to the climb. Stay seated, adding resistance every minute.
Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen, 4:41. Stay seated another minute, then stand for 2 minutes, on a harder hill. Sit to the top.

Rock'n America, The Catholic Girls, 3:21. "Downhill" for 90-seconds, high cadence 100-110 rpm. When you reach the bottom, take away "gravity" by adding resistance to simulate a gear increase. Continue to work a fairly high cadence on a seated flat, 95-100 rpm.
Living in America, The Sounds, 3:28. 10-15 second surges on the flat, similar to the last flat before the 1st hill. This gets the HR up towards threshold. Cadence slows down slightly (slower song).

2nd Climb (1st song is fast, 2nd is a slow hard climb)
Remix- - If You're Going to San Francisco, Hanima Hightechwell 7:06. VERY cool song, I can't tell you where to get it or if it's available anywhere - I got it at a Spinning conference 3 years ago, it's their "MySpin #4" CD. (Email me if you want it). Great fast climb, concerted cadence of 75-ish rpm. Mostly seated, with a few standing surges on the "If You're Going to San Francisco" refrain.
America, Mike Musick 4:22. Slow hard climb. Cadence 60 rpm. Mostly seated, stand to finish.

Downhill - fast and short.
America, Agent Orange, 1:21. A little punk rock anyone?! I told them this song is mercifully short...and then we'll slam into the next hill hard and fast, and let the steepness slow our legs down.

3rd Climb - this time the first song is slow and hard, then it gets less steep and faster
The Hands That Built America, U2, 4:59. Ugh, this hill is hard!
America, Bigod 20. Standing switchbacks of 30 seconds, every 45-60 seconds. Seated in between.

American Pie, Don McLean 4:09. Starts slow - still climbing until the song picks up at minute 1:30. KAREOKE! Yes, everyone started singing, I mean really singing! No one doesn't know the words to this song. Now, I wouldn't do a Kareoke Spin on purpose, but this was a fun way to end the ride.

So did I pull off my practical joke? (In case you missed it, read the edit at the end of this post). Well, sort of. I couldn't find an empty bottle of Jaegermeister or Rumplemints (another favorite shot liquor in the mountains) - I even went to 4 bars, but this isn't "shot season" (bet you didn't know there was a season for that kind of stuff). So I dug through our limited liquor cabinet and brought a small bottle of Courvoisier (just for show - I didn't open it)! First, as the song started and everyone had a smile on their faces, I asked them, "So, what does this song remind you of?" And sure enough, they started naming the bars in Vail: "Pepi's", "The Red Lion", "The Club"! (Yes, my students no doubt have lifted a shot glass or two at an Apres Ski party in Vail while singing American Pie with the drunk tourists!) I told them I cannot hear this song without thinking of Apres Ski...and then I pulled the Courvoisier from the bag and held it up and said, "Anyone care to have a shot with me?"

A few shocked looks....and then I said, "nah...just kiddin!" Yes, it was a fun morning....

Oh yes, my cool down songs: Down There, Fury and the Slaughterhouse, and America the Beautiful, Ray Charles.

And now, I am really, really excited......


The Tour de France starts tomorrow in Monaco. I am doing a Tour de France program at my club and will share with you my profiles. I've also got some fun new French songs to share with you (I'll post those tomorrow so you can start collecting them - many are available on eMusic, so if you're not a member yet, click on the icon on the left side of this blog to join and get your 50 free downloads). This afternoon, I'll go into the Spinning room and post posters and other TDF paraphernalia on the walls. I've contacted the two other instructors who will be doing this with me and will email them their profiles. I'll also be posting the profiles with a description of the stage on the walls of our Spin room so students know what to expect.

In the meantime, go to the left side of this blog under "Labels" and click on Tour de France. You'll see LOTS of posts from last year's tour. Peruse those for ideas on how to put together profiles based on the different types of stages: flat stages with sprints, rolling hills, big mountain stages, time trials. Read about attacks and breakaways, tour strategy, how to cue switchbacks on climbs and more. Get racing lingo and music ideas. It's all there for you to learn and have fun in your TDF classes. Start here by downloading the TDF handbook I created.

Please post any comments about your programs, music you find, or questions you have about anything to do with the Tour de France. And come back often to see my commentary about this year's tour, which promises to be highly intriguing, exciting and potentially, uh, rife with conflicts! (Let's hope the drug scandals stay away!)

For the stage information, go to To decorate your cycling room, go to a bike shop and purchase a Tour de France calendar if you can find one. Great photos.

Vive Le Tour!