Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My weekend with Cycling Fusion - an "ooops" turns into a good thing!

Last weekend was a whirlwind adventure at the Cycling Fusion headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA. On Friday, I had most of the day to practice and tweak my playlists - but before I knew it, we were less than an hour to "roll-em" time! I've presented at twenty conferences, and a little adrenaline/nerves is good to keep you on your top form, but I have to admit, this was a whole different animal. Yikes!

Before I explain what went on (and my major flub-up), let me give you a little background on the Cycling Fusion concept and what I was there in Pittsburgh to do. Gene Nacey, founder of Cycling Fusion, came up with the idea quite a few years ago after starting his own Spinning studio and finding the education and certification programs available to instructors lacking. I first heard of it when I rode in Italy for the Giretto with Gene back in May of 2009. Since then it has evolved and blossomed into an innovative indoor cycling certification program, as well as a solid 12-week online periodized training program called Winter Training. In addition to those programs, Gene is developing a digital library of classes that will be available to clubs and individuals around the world. The library should be ready to be launched by sometimes next fall.

Gene brought me out to not only lead several classes to be filmed for the digital library, but also to lead the Winter Training program on Saturday. This consisted of a 40-minute lecture on High Intensity Interval Training, two 60-minute rides, followed by a yoga session (which of course, I did not lead)!

To keep the energy high, Gene wants a full class when they do the filming, so on the Friday night, they are offered for free to local riders in the Pittsburgh area. I was so happy that a good number of instructors I know through Spinning, my blog and through Pedal-On forum were able to make it on Friday night.

The Saturday Winter Training class is full of students who have paid for the 12-week series. Winter Training is made available live on the internet for subscribers around the world (which, by the way, is an exceptional deal for the amount of education and excellent training that you get). Gene graciously offered a 25% discount to what he called "Friends of Jennifer" to view the Saturday Winter Training session online. There were a few extra bikes available so Gene made Saturday's ride available to a few instructors who had come the evening before.

10-weeks of minimal issues!
This was the 11th week of their Winter Training program, all of it viewable live on the internet. They have had very few technical issues during the past ten weeks. However, this was not to be the case on this particular weekend, but technology wasn't the only thing that messed up...

Friday night
We started around 5:30pm with a 45-minute ride, followed by a 30-minute ride. Both of them filmed, but not live on the internet. I have to admit, having 3 cameras on you adds another level of, well, reasons to be nervous. Phew, my heart rate was high but not due to my effort! I was glad those two rides were done, next was the LIVE FEED - my 60-minute Triple Bypass ride that I had promoted here, on Facebook and the forums.

Then Mr. Murphy and his "Law book" showed up. After ten weeks of no issues, we had our share of them. First, an important cable broke that provides the feed to the internet (and as Gene explained to me later - it was not one that you could run out and pick up at a Radio Shack), along with a few other camera glitches. The Cycling Fusion technicians were quite amazing in their ability to think on their feet, and pulled a McGiver or two so that we could continue with the broadcast. When all was said and done, we started about 45 minutes late. I hope those of you watching can understand that the delays were totally out of anyone's control....it was just one of those things. (And if you're in the world of technology, "those things" always happen at the worst possible time)!

My Triple Bypass Ride
By now my butt was really sore after over 2 hours on the bike. I have to admit, I was nervous again since I knew that over a hundred people had registered to watch it live. Live? Was I doing this LIVE?? :o Talk about Butterflies...

Finally, all is ready. The cameraman gave me the countdown, I put on my iPod and begin to teach the class. It was going to be three long climbs, with a short warm-up. I told them we'd be continuing on our warm-up on the first climb (just like the Triple Bypass ride in Colorado is in real life). But I noticed that the first song went on a little longer than I remember.....I chalked it up to being nervous.

Then the second song came on and as I coached them onto the hill I noticed that the song was NOT the right song - it was too fast. If you watched it live, you saw me look at my iPod, and then not sure if you could read my mind, but I was thinking, "Oh (expletive)! What did I do? I put the wrong playlist on!"

For a split second I wondered if I could "fake it" through, but I realized the playlist was for the Over/Under Interval ride the next day, with much faster songs. Soooooo, I sat up and, embarrassed as heck, told everyone we had to start over. This was LIVE - not a good thing!

I have to admit that when I did start it over, my introduction to the ride had much more energy, and my nerves were gone so I think I flowed much better. I guess I figured I had made the biggest possible error, nothing else could top that. So in the end it was a good thing!

But I'm still pretty self-critical (aren't we all?) - I watched the video and made some notes to smile more often. Also, I tend to look down a lot when I am focusing - not bad when I'm teaching my own class, but on video I need to look up more. I'll be better next time! ;-)

If you signed up to watch the live feed, I appreciate your patience with our technical glitches. The good news is that Gene is going to make the edited version available a little later this week for everyone to see (for a limited time). I will send an email out to all of you on my mailing list with the reminder, as well as post it here and on Facebook. Keep in mind, once the digital library is launched next fall, this will be one of the classes that you could view either with a class or on your own (for a fee). So Gene is graciously offering it for free to introduce you to the Cycling Fusion live class concept.

In the next day or two, I'll write a post about the Winter Training lecture and the two powerful rides we did, and will post the playlists for all of my rides.

In the meantime, here are some photos from this weekend.

Preparing for the very first ride. How would you like that kind of technology at your fingertips everytime you teach?

Matt getting set-up prior to the session. Since many participants had never ridden the Keiser M3s, Cycling Fusion wanted to make sure everyone was set-up properly.

This is what it looks like in the back room, where they are able to watch all four cameras and do some of the editing as it's being filmed. This is high-tech stuff here folks!

Some of the gang from Pedal-On who showed up. Jeff, me, Kala and Laura.
Thank you all so much for riding with me!


Mishee said...

Great job!!! Looking forward to viewing the ride... Yay!!!

Kala said...

It was a great weekend, that's for sure. And packed full of knowledge... Looking forward to viewing the ride :)

Le said...

Great pics!
Can't wait to watch the complete Triple Bypass ride again.
Just finished watching the first three parts of Sat session. I can zip through the yoga part because I am familiar with it :)
Sat session is an awesome & flawless presentation:
-Your lecture was brief, right to the points with clarity! Hey, loove your new shorter hair cut. Rarely see you with your hair down. You looked great, calm, confident in presenting!
-The HIIT ride went smoothly, full of energy & power compared to the Triple Bypass which had a lot of technical hiccups :) Wish I had a bike at home to join you.
The virtual ride with breathtaking view! Learned a lot from Gene's & your cueing--fun, encouraging, power boosting... I would get the last song of the final climb at any cost:) It is so powerful!
You did it Jennifer! Be proud of your great achievement and many to come.
Awaiting for the playlists.

Jennifer Sage said...

Ah, thanks guys! It was really fun to do. Can't wait to do it again.

Marsha said...

Can't wait to see the Triple Bypass online. I've been on vacation, then sick, so late coming to the party. Great to see the funhog back in action.