Canadian cyclist and personal trainer Peter Oyler is headed for the challenge of his life. He’s already completed the Race Across America, a gruelling 4.800 kilometre ride from California to Maryland. It’s 30% longer than the Tour de France and it’s not done in stages. It’s one long grind, completed in a little more than a week. Riders average 2-3 hours of sleep and 8,000 calories per day. Oyler finished 8th in 2007; this year, he’s in to win. The Race starts on June 17, 2009. Go Peter!
Even if you would never consider an endurance event like the RAAM, we all have this race to thank for Spinning – Johnny G. invented the first spin bike while training for the Race Across America. (He finished it on his second try in 1989 in a respectable 10 days.)
This is a new playlist with lots of brand-new-to-the-blog material. Just as the RAAM inspired Spinning, many of the songs on this playlist were inspired by other music (Pump It, Break on Through, Right Round, and Sinnerman) or have in turn inspired cover versions (Ballroom Blitz). Enjoy!
Pump It – Black Eyed Peas (3:33): No prisoners. No mercy. Today, we ride with everything we have. This is the perfect song to start with – if this one can’t get you moving, you’re probably dead. Pump It was everywhere in 2006, but did you know it drew heavily from a Greek folk song called Misirlou that Peas-member Will.i.am purchased by accident while in Brazil? (Thanks, Wikipedia!)
Break on Through (to the other side) [Remix] – BT vs. The Doors (7:07): I’ve been drawn to mash ups recently. A mash up re-combines two or more existing songs to create a derivative work. Some of them are fiendishly clever – one of my faves right now combines Bob Marley and Iron Maiden. This mash up combines American trance musician BT’s music with Jim Morrison’s vocals. (And it’s legal – you can find it on iTunes.) The drill alternates 1:30 minute of fast, strong legs (20% above regular cadence), tension at 3/10, 1:30 of out of the saddle climbing (tension at 4/10), a crank of the tension to 7/10, and 1:30 for a seated climb, then reduce the tension to 3/10 then repeat with a shorter 45 second set for each.
My Life Would Suck Without You – Kelly Clarkson (3:32): Time to get some energy out with a few sprints: 28/28/50 seconds with 30 second breaks in between. Entertainment Weekly called this single “the best song in the history of the universe.” It isn’t, but it’s got a catchy beat and a song with a title like that can’t take itself too seriously. We get 40 seconds for recovery, then sprint at 0:40 – 1:08, 1:35 – 2:02 and a longer sustained effort from 2:32 – 3:22.
Right Round (feat. Kei$sha) – Flo Rida (3:27): This hip hop tune has been floating at #1 on iTunes for weeks. The inspriation is Dead or Alive’s 1985 hit You Spin Me Round (Like a Record), which was also a #1 hit. Random lifts: 4? 8? 2? 4? 4? 8?
Ballroom Blitz – Sweet (4:07): Time for more speed – 20 seconds on, 30 seconds recovery. The fun starts 20 seconds in. Sweet wrote the song after getting bombarded with bottles at a gig in Scotland. It went to #1, which must have felt like sweet revenge.
Granite – Pendulum (4:29): Reader Tim put me on to this cool tune with a relentless beat reminiscent of FatBoy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now (thanks, Tim!) The next two songs go together for 9 minutes of work, alternating between seated flats at 10% and 20% increased cadence, an out-of-the-saddle climb with increased tension, and recovery, with one repeat. Take 48 glorious seconds for recovery before we go again. Have a drink of water and give your shoulders a roll before you settle in to finish the ride. From 0:48 – 2:00 ride steady at 10% above your usual warmup cadence. From 2:00 – 3:00 take it up 20%. From 3:00 – 4:00 turn up the tension and come into standing climb. At 4:00, the drill repeats. Take the rest of the song for recovery.
Sinnerman (Felix da Housecat Heavenly House Mix) – Nina Simone & Felix da Housecat (4:35): For the first 30 seconds we’ll continue with recovery. From 0:30 – 1:30 pick it up to a 10% increase cadence, still in a seated flat. From 1:30 – 2:30 we’ll drive it at 20% increased cadence. At 2:30 we increase the tension and come out of the saddle to climb until 3:30. Do you want to take the last minute at a warmup pace, or do you have some gas left in the tank? If your legs still want to move, keep climbing and ride it out. This is a clever dance version of Nina Simone’s classic American spiritual.
Halo – Beyonce (4:22): It seems fitting to chase a spiritual with this song from Beyonce’s latest release, I am… Sasha Fierce. Slow your legs and take back the tension to 2/10 as we cool down and stretch.
Love Story – Taylor Swift (3:56): Extra cool down and goodbye music.
I love coffee. I sneak a cup before morning workouts, but it leaves me with a vague sense that I’m doing something wrong. Turns out there’s nothing wrong with it at all. The caffeine in a single cup of coffee actually enhances athletic performance by as much as 20-25%, according to a recent article by Gina Kolata of the New York Times. While the 20-25% figure was achieved in the lab, real world performance increases are closer to 5%, a smaller advantage but one that can make the difference between a personal best and more of the same. And caffeine is one of the few proven performance enhancers that is not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Researchers think caffeine works by increasing the power output of muscles by releasing calcium stored in muscle. Athletes can keep going for longer periods or go faster in the same length of time. Caffeine also affects the brain’s sense of exhaustion – the feeling that it’s time to stop.
So if you feel like enjoying a cup of joe an hour before your ride, go ahead.