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I Like The Way You Spin Mix (60 minutes)

Ah, Valentine’s Day.  I deride it as a commercialized ersatz holiday, but when my better half suggests that we ignore it this year…. I resist.  I am prepared to admit that this is a teensy bit inconsistent.  Whether you’re looking for love, found it, lost it, or are trying to keep it alive, there’s something for you in this playlist.

after-the-race-two-left

I Like the Way (Radio Edit) – The Bodyrockers (3:20): Welcome music.  If this doesn’t get your legs moving… you’re dead.

All Summer Long – The Rock Heroes (4:56): Kid Rock’s song is an anthem to teenage summer love.  Oh, and spliffs.  Warm up and do some dynamic stretching.

Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield (3:14): A longer class needs a longer warmup.  Take the resistance to 3/10 and quicken the pace by 10% at each chorus (0:22 – 0:45,  1:00 – 1:40, and 2:16 – 3:14), falling back for each verse.  According to Wikipedia, Springfield developed a thing for his buddy Gary’s girlfriend (the song was originally “Gary’s Girl.”)  But he never approached her, and to this day, she doesn’t know that she was the inspiration for his #1 hit.

I’m Ready – Wyclef Jean (3:55): Wyclef isn’t as shy about the real name of his crush: it’s Venus Williams.  But his love is just as unrequited as Springfield’s.  We’ve come to the first hill of the day: 8 minutes.  We’re going to take the resistance up to 5/10 for an out of the saddle climb.  Move into an aggressive stance for each chorus.

I Don’t Need a Man – The Pussycat Dolls (3:39):  The PCD remind us that they don’t need a man “to make it happen.”  So let’s make this hill happen: take the resistance to 7/10 and settle in.  Increase it every 60 seconds until we get to the top.

Untouched – The Veronicas (4:14):  Attacks! Starting at 0:10: a 20 second standing sprint, then a 10 second seated sprint, followed by 30 blessed seconds for recovery.  Repeat 4x.

This is How a Heart Breaks – Rob Thomas (3:51):  Recover for 44 seconds, then we’ve got two more quick, out of the saddle sprints 15/20 seconds at 0:44 – 1:00 and 1:32 – 1:52.  Recover for 30 seconds and give me one last push for 1:15 at 80% of your maximum effort.

Lady Killer – Kreesha Turner (3:35):  Take the resistance up to 7/10 for these lifts at 8/4/2 counts.

Seven Day Fool – Jully Black (3:25):  Second hill of the day here: 11.5 minutes.  We’re going to tackle it fast and cocky: out of the saddle with a relatively low resistance of 4/10.  Stair climb at each chorus.

In Love with a Girl – Gavin DeGraw (3:30):  Sit down and take the resistance to 6/10.  At each chorus, stand and go double-time, increasing the tension when you sit down.

Cry Love – John Hiatt (4:21):  Hiatt addresses domestic violence in this wrenching song.  Sit down for a grind to the top of the hill starting at 7/10 and increasing the tension every 60 seconds until you hit your max.

I Don’t Wanna Be in Love – Good Charlotte (4:04):  Chase 11 minutes of climbing with 11 minutes of sprints.  3×30 second sprints, one at each chorus.

Stoned in Love (Radio Edit) – Chicane feat. Tom Jones (3:41):  Keep it going: 3×30 second sprints at each chorus.

Bad Girlfriend – Theory of a Deadman (3:26): Blessed recovery for 60 seconds – take a posture break and a deep swig from your water bottle.  We’ll finish it up with two short, sharp out-of-the-saddle sprints for 20/15 seconds at 0:57 – 1:17 and 1:39 – 1:54, then a final 60 second push from 2:18 – 3:18 at 80% of your maximum effort.

Hey Julie – Fountains of Wayne (2:37):  Stacy’s Mom got more airplay, but this single is sweeter.  We’re almost there: let’s do some lifts on 2/4/8 counts.

Raspberry Beret – Prince (3:33):  Keep the lifts going, 8/4/2 counts.

Finally (Classic Radio Mix) – Love to Infinity (4:09):  Last drill: last chance to get all that energy out.  Standing sprints from 0:20 – 2:35 – 15 seconds on/15 recovery.  Take a minute to recover, then we’ll do one last 50 second seated sprint for the finish line.

If I Were a Boy – Beyonce (4:09):  Beyonce muses on what love would be like as the opposite gender in this gorgeous hit that has topped the charts in Denmark, the Netherlands, Israel, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the U.K.  According to Wikipedia, the inspiration for the song was – wait for it – a hot dog.  Songwriter BC Jean was in Times Square, NYC with co-author Toby Gad.  She was craving a hot dog from one of the vendors and lamented that if she were a boy, she could probably eat one without regrets.  She’d just been through a nasty breakup and wondering what it would be like to be a boy got her thinking she’d be a better man than her boyfriend.  Jean and Gad went to the recording studio and wrote the song in 15 minutes – it just poured out.  Cool down with some easy spinning.

Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s (3:53):  Unlike Rick Springfield, lead singer Tom Higgenson used his crush’s real name for this simple, alt rock hit.  Like Jessie’s Girl, and James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful, it’s spawned a generation of women who wish the song was written about them.  A bit of extra time for stretching.



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Feel Alive Spin Mix (47 minutes)

Here’s my latest crop of fresh Spinnable tunes, none of which have appeared on the blog before.  There are two thematic connections here.  The first is that the playlist features a lot of Australian artists (Xavier Rudd, Rob Dougan, The Veronicas) and Canadian artists (Divine Brown, Kreesha Turner, Karl Wolf).  The second is that a handful of the songs either sample, or riff on a previous hit (Feel Alive, Sunglasses), or remake it (Don’t Call Me Baby, Africa).  I offered bragging rights to the first person in my class who could call out the name of the original artist and song.

This is a tough ride, with lots of intervals, and some long climbs.  If your class includes newer riders, be sure to cue easier options for them and remind them to recover as needed.

The photo is of Uluru, a sacred Aboriginal site in the Australian desert.  I visited with my sister and brother-in-law in 2005 and we hiked around the base, but did not climb it, out of respect for the wishes of Anangu tribe.  We also did a stunning dawn hike through Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and later, through King’s Canyon.

cycling-to-uluruChant – Xavier Rudd (4:10): Rudd is an Aussie environmentalist who learned to play the didgeridoo by blowing into a vacuum cleaner hose as a kid.  It figures prominently in this song (the didgeridoo, not the vacuum cleaner), layered with a strong drum beat.  Warm up your legs and get ready to ride.  We’re going to sweat today!  We’ve got two hills to climb, the first one 10 minutes and the second hill 14 minutes, plus some sprints and attacks.

Feel Alive (Original Extended) – Benassi Brothers feat. Sandy (5:39):  We’re headed to the first hill, a 10 minute, out-of-the-saddle climb.  Take it easy with resistance at 4/10 for the first minute – we’re still warming up.  Around 1:00, find the beat and focus: that’s your cadence for the next 9 minutes.  You’ll hear Eric Clapton’s Layla in the background.  New riders should plan to take several seated recovery periods over this song and the next one.

Sunglasses – Divine Brown (3:55):  This is the latest single from Canadian R&B singer Brown, who is not the same Divine Brown who had an encounter with Hugh Grant back in the 90’s.  Brown riffs on Canadian Corey Hart’s 1983 hit Sunglasses at Night in this catchy update.  She’s up for a Juno award (the Canadian Grammy) in 2009.  Keep the standing climb going, taking an aggressive stance at each chorus, with a slight lean to the downstroking leg.

Faster Kill Pussycat – Oakenfold feat. Brittany Murphy (3:14):  This Oakenfold tune hit #1 on the Billboard Dance Club chart, and #2 on the Dance Airplay chart.  Break the riders into three groups so each group can take a turn setting the pace for 30 seconds, taking 30 seconds for recovery, and then 30 seconds gearing up to go again at a 10-20% increased cadence.  Group A goes from 0:15 – 0:45, Group B from 0:45 – 1:15, and Group C from 1:15 – 1:45.  Repeat for one more set.  I found this complicated to cue – if you think it’s too complicated for your class, you can also go with a simple 30 seconds on/30 seconds recovery for the whole class.

Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon (3:23):  This American group is wickedly popular in Europe and Australia (where they had the #1 selling album in 2008) and they just won a Grammy for this song.  Take 50 seconds for recovery and a drink.  We’re doing 4 all-out sprints here: 15/25/15/25, standing or seated, riders choice.  They’re at 0:50 – 1:03, 1:28 – 1:53, 2:18 – 2:33, and 2:56 – 3:21.

Black Cat – Janet Jackson (4:51):  Blog reader Denise recommended this 1990 hit.  It still rocks.  Time for some lifts.  Take the resistance to 7/10 and start with 8 counts, then 4 counts, and finally 2 counts.

Don’t Call Me Baby (Bimbo Jones Club Mix) – Kreesha Turner (6:25):  Regular readers will know I’m a huge fan of Canadian Turner’s music.  I was delighted to see she’s been nominated for a Juno award in the Best New Artist category.  This remix is particularly well done.  It retains the soul of the original in a new, danceable package.  Take the resistance to 5/10 and get out of the saddle as we start in on the second hill of the day.  It’s bigger than the first one and is going to take us 14 minutes to climb.

Clubbed to Death – Rob Dougan (7:27):  Another Aussie, Dougan’s 1995 breakout single got new life after appearing on The Matrix soundtrack.  Sit down and enjoy 24 seconds of flat ground.  The hill starts again at 0:24, and it’s brutal.  Keep the resistance at 5/10 – we’re still climbing.  Increase it every 30-60 seconds, maintaining a cadence of at least 60 rpm.  You could also do this as a pyramid: increasing every 30 seconds to each rider’s max, then decreasing the resistance every 30 seconds.

Untouched – The Veronicas (4:14):  Twin sisters Jessica and Lisa Origliasso hail from Brisbane, Australia.  This song is charting on iTunes.  We’re going to use it for four attacks: starting at 0:10: 20 seconds of standing sprints, 10 seconds seated, followed by 30 seconds of recovery.  Repeat.

Africa (feat. Culture) [Radio Edit] – Karl Wolf (3:52): Wolf hails from Montreal Canada and he’s totally rocked this 1982 hit from Toto by adding a hip-hop vibe.  I wish I could get my hands on the Club Mix – this song has been on heavy rotation on my iPod since I discovered it.  It feels so good to cool down and stretch.

I’m subbing an hour long class on Saturday morning, so look for a new 60 minute playlist in the next couple of days.



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Out of India Spin Mix (47 minutes)

I liked Slumdog Millionaire, but I was utterly taken with the soundtrack.  Anything I play repeatedly on my iPod finds its way into a spin mix, so I decided to try a playlist made up of songs from Slumdog Millionaire, rounded out with some other Indian-influenced tunes.

bike-in-indiaI really wasn’t sure whether the playlist would fly or not – especially when I told a friend, who responded, “You’re doing an entire class of Indian music?”

Yep.  I did.

I worried about it.  In fact, I almost chickened out and played one of my safer go-to playlists instead.  I’m glad I didn’t.

At the outset, I asked my class to be ruthlessly honest: was a ride through India something fun and different, or was it not exactly one of my better ideas?

Out of a jam-packed class, four riders stayed behind to tell me they liked it, and two gave mixed reviews.  One rider liked the ride overall, but found it hard to get into O Saya, the first song.  The other rider said she found the music too repetitive, it wasn’t her favourite, which I very much appreciated.

If you use a lot of visualization in your classes, I think the ride could work very well, especially for those who’ve seen the film.  It’s also tougher than it looks – my average and maximum heart rates were about 8-10 beats higher than usual during this ride.

You know your class, and whether this is a ride they’d enjoy.

O… Saya – A.R. Rahman & MIA (3:34):  The ride begins with pounding drums and instantly you know you’re going to a different place today.  A.R. Rahman is a huge star in India, and I can see why.  His soundtrack won a Golden Globe and the music is up for three Oscars.  Warm up your legs and do some dynamic stretching.  Use visualization to bring riders into the ride.

Jai Ho – A.R. Rahman et. al. (5:19): Alternate between seated and standing climbs: 15 seconds seated, then 15 seconds standing, repeat for 30, 45, and 60 seconds.  I fast-forward through the last minute of this song (which is quiet) and finish the drill at the beginning of the next song.

Pjanoo (Club Mix) – Eric Prydz (7:31):  Finish the previous drill and take about 30 seconds for recovery and to explain the next drill.  The drill starts when the drums come in at 1:55.  I broke the riders into two groups (A & B) and had them alternate a 60 second surge (not quite a sprint), with 60 seconds of recovery, keeping the resistance around 4 or 5/10.  Advanced riders could choose an out of the saddle climb during the recovery, then sit for the surges.

Ringa Ringa – A.R. Rahman et. al. (4:15): High tension lifts – and I do mean high: resistance at 8/10 or 9/10.  Start with 8 counts, then 4, then 2.

Mausam & Escape – A.R. Rahman (3:53):  We’ve got 45 seconds to recover, then get the tension to 4/10 and climb easy from 0:45 – 0:60 while the music builds.  We’re doing two attacks, starting at 0:60 – 20 seconds for a standing sprint, 10 seconds seated sprint, and 30 seconds for recovery.  Repeat, then fast forward to the next tune.

Beware of the Boys (Mundian to Bach Ke) [Hi-Lectro Remix] – Panjabi MC (5:39):  A wicked, wicked seated climb.  Start with the resistance at 4/10 and find the beat.  We’re going to maintain that cadence for as long as we can.  Increase the resistance every 30 seconds.  When it’s too much to remain seated, stand up and keep going.

Jugni (Kuldip Manak) – Panjabi MC and Kuldip Manak (4:52):  We’ll finish with a long out-of-the-saddle climb that spans two songs.  (The titles are the same, but the songs are different.)  Take the resistance down to 4/10 because the pace is fast.  I found both songs while rooting around on iTunes for some Indian music to fill out the playlist.

Jugni (Remix) – Sneha Khanwalkar et. al. (4:43): Keep climbing!  Get all that energy out, get what you came for.

Dreams on Fire – A.R. Rahman and Suzanne (4:09):  Time for a well-deserved cool down and stretch.  If you prefer a more up-beat cool down song, check out the funky version of Paper Planes (DFA Remix) by M.I.A. on the soundtrack.  At 5:49, it’s a bit longer.  I will confess, the original version of Paper Planes makes me nearly homicidal, though it’s topped the charts for so long that I must be in the minority.

Latika’s Theme – A.R. Rahman and Suzanne (3:09):  An extra cool down song.  If I used Paper Planes, I’d take Dreams on Fire for the extra cool down.

If you try this ride, drop me a comment and tell me how it went for you.


World’s Best Breakfast

When I was a kid, I hated oatmeal.  It was gloopy, gelatinous, bland, and all-round disgusting.  No amount of milk or brown sugar could disguise it, or turn it into something I actually wanted to eat.

These days, I’m a huge fan of oatmeal.  What changed?

steel-cut-oatmealThe first thing that changed is how I make it.  Turns out, I didn’t hate oatmeal, I hated gloopy, runny oatmeal.  Still do.  I make oatmeal from steel cut oats, using a little less water than is called for (4 cups water to 1 cup oats), and boil the oats until they have the consistency of mashed potatoes.  When they’re done, I add a bit of salt, and a quarter cup of wheat germ, which adds a pleasant, nutty flavour and tons of nutrients.

I make enough for a week – it keeps just fine in the fridge.  Portion out a quarter cup, sprinkle two or three teaspoons of water over it, microwave for 2 minutes, and voila! instant breakfast.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp. brown sugar.

It’s the add-ons that really make the oatmeal shine.  I add 1/4 cup blueberries (buy them frozen and cover them with hot water while the oatmeal is in the microwave), or 1/2 banana (sometimes both), plus 1/2 oz nuts – usually raw almonds, but also walnuts, pecans, whatever I have on hand.  Maybe some raisins or chopped dates.

When it’s ready, you have a breakfast of about 350 calories, 9 grams of fibre, 11 grams of protein, tons of nutrients, and minimal sugar.  Plus, every ingredient except the brown sugar is on Dr. Jonny Bowden’s list of the 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.  And it’s delicious.