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Summer Rush Spin Mix (36 minutes)

Ah, summer. My spouse and I just got back from two weeks vacation at a cottage on Prince Edward Island. We’ve been going to the same cottages for 8 years – they’re right on the back bay in Brackley Beach, a stone’s throw from PEI National Park, and they have no phone, no cell service, and no Internet. (Hence, no blog posts.) I was aggrieved to find out they got cable TV this year. There’s something lovely and priceless about a media-free zone. Took my bike and rode for 2 hours almost every morning – it was heaven.

While we were away, a local radio station put together a kick-ass concert lineup called Summer Rush 2008. I didn’t make the concert, but here’s the next best thing: a playlist of some of the artists who performed there.

Bounce with Me – Kreesha Turner (3:08): I’ve used Kreesha’s stuff before. Her first CD is coming out later this year. Start with a warmup, slowly increasing your cadence.

The Power – Snap! (5:44): ‘member this one from 1990? Crank your tension to 7/10 for a long climb.

Faded – Cascada (2:49): There’s lots of Cascada in my playlists, but this is the first time I’ve used this song. Four sprints 15/30/15/30, with 15 seconds for recovery between each one. The sprints are at 0:30 – 0:45, 1:00 – 1:30, 1:45 – 2:00, and 2:15 – 2:45. As with all sprints – keep the tension at 4/10 or greater to avoid bouncing.

Just Dance – Lady GaGa (featuring Colby O’Donis) (4:02): Back to climbing, 7/10. This is the New Yorker’s first single.

Hot in Herre – Nelly (3:48): This was Nelly’s first #1 single on the US Billboard Hot 100. (Download the clean version.) It’s the last climb of the day, and it’s a slow grind. Crank the tension up to 8/10 but stay seated. Every 30 seconds, increase the tension a couple of clicks. Stand when you have to, but keep climbing. It’s important to start with lots of tension, so that riders will be forced to stand at some point. I find this drill spurs a bit of friendly competition – nobody wants to be the first to stand, or the only one still sitting (a likely indication of slacking on the tension.) For the last 30 seconds of the song, keep the tension where you had it while standing, but sit and grind it out, as long as you can keep your cadence at 60 rpm or higher. If you can’t, decrease the tension to the point where you can do 60 rpm.

Calabria 2008 (featuring Natasha) (Radio Edit) – Enur (3:17): Enough of the complicated stuff – let’s do some simple lifts, 8/4/2 counts. To match the switches to the music, do them at 1:24 ad 2:16.

Now You’re Gone (featuring DJ Mental Theo’s Bazzheads) (Radio Edit) – Basshunter (2:39): I hadn’t heard of this young Swedish artist until he appeared in the Summer Rush lineup, but I liked his stuff so much I included two songs in this playlist. This one hit #1 in the U.K. in 2007. There are two 40 second sprints here at 0:15 – 0:55 and 1:55 – 2:35. Climb during the 60 second recovery period.

DotA (Radio Edit) – Basshunter (3:21): More sprints! 4 x 25 seconds at 0:35 – 1:00, 1:10 – 1:37, 2:10 – 2:37, and 2:48 – 3:15. This is the last drill, so let’s get all that energy out.

Unlove You – Elise Estrada (3:12): Elise is a talented 20 year old Filipino-Canadian who hails from Vancouver, Canada. Cool down and stretch.

Dangerous – Kardinal Offishall (3:53): I don’t actually know if this Toronto hip hop artist appeared at Summer Rush 2008 or not – he was mentioned on some of the lists of artists but not others. Hell, it’s a great song, so let’s use it for some extra cool down time.

I am sometimes approached by riders who experience numbness in their feet during the class. The first thing I do is check that the balls of their feet are sitting on the centre of the pedal.  People with smaller feet may not need to push their foot to the edge of the cage.  The next thing I do is loosen the straps on the cage a bit – the straps should be tight enough to stop the rider’s foot from sliding around, but not snug.

If these changes don’t resolve the problem, I suggest the rider consider changing footwear. Riders don’t need to buy cycling shoes, but stiffer-soled shoes tend to work better – cross-trainers or court shoes, not running shoes, and especially not sneakers (like Skechers) which are too soft-soled for riding.  Some people swear by Merrill’s (a hiking shoe).  I settled on Nike Air Max shoes after trying a number of different brands and they work fine for me. I have a pair of cycling shoes (also Nike) but I’m only so-so on them. If you decide to try cycling shoes, Oxygen magazine (December 2007) recommended the Adidas Cyclone and Specialized Sonoma shoes for spin classes.

I’ll throw out a general question: do you know of any other ways to avoid numb feet while spinning?