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Break on Through Spin Mix (39 minutes)

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!

canalside-in-yarra-australiaPump 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.

coffeeI 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.



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Irish is a State of Mind Spin Mix (40 minutes)

I passed my yearly spinning evaluation at my gym and I now have a grasshopper – an instructor-in-training who will complete a mentorship with me before submitting to her final evaluation in 2-3 months.  She’s going to teach the warmup and cooldown portions of this ride and chose the music for her parts.  The ride is heavy on speed work.  The only thematic nod here is to St. Paddy’s Day, which is huge in Nova Scotia.  Thanks to reader Spindarella for passing along the idea for a St. Paddy’s ride.

women-racersI Like the Way (Radio Edit) – Bodyrockers (3:20): Start with some easy spinning to warm up your legs.

Gotta Be Somebody – Nickelback (4:13):  Increase your pace for the first 1:30 – strong and steady.  At 1:30, take the resistance to 5/10 for an out-of-the-saddle climb.  Move into an aggressive stance for the two remaining choruses, and throw in a couple of tension increases.

Jai Ho – A.R. Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls (3:42):  I suspect that people are either going to love or hate this collaboration.  Riders are still asking me about the Slumdog ride – I think I am going to run it again in a few weeks.  I get asked about it more than any of my other playlists.  We’re going to keep climbing, alternating between seated and standing: 15 seconds on/off (tension 6/10), then 30 (tension 7/10), 45 (tension 8/10), and take the last 45 seated with the resistance at 9/10.

Right Here, Right Now – Fatboy Slim (3:56):  This is one of my new favourite spinning songs.  NOW, you can take 0:55 for recovery.  We’re going to do two surges.  For a surge, the resistance is moderate (3-4) and the cadence fast and strong – about 20% faster than a comfortable pace, but not an all out sprint.  The first surge comes from 0:55 – 2:05.  Take 60 seconds for recovery, then head into the second surge from 3:12 – 3:56.

Hook me Up – The Veronicas (2:56):  Standing sprints at each chorus! 0:39 – 1:02 (23 seconds), 1:32 – 2:00 (28 seconds), and 2:16 – 2:52 (36 seconds)

Infinity 2008 – DJ Team (3:13):  Okay, take a drink, give your shoulders a roll.  At 0:35 we’re moving into lifts: 8/4/2.

I’m Shipping Up to Boston – Dropkick Murphys (2:34):  Time for speedwork!  The next three songs are all about sprinting.  We’re going to start with these Boston Celtic-punk rockers.  Recover for 30 seconds (I’m not a monster, okay?) then do 15 seconds on/off.  If you’re Irish, do ’em standing.  (A Dublin cabdriver once told me that Irish is a state of mind – I like that.)

Mari Mac (Live) – Great Big Sea (3:19): Back in 1994, I went on a road trip to Newfoundland with some girlfriends.  While poking around a record shop in St. John’s, we asked the clerk who he thought would be the next big musical thing to come from the Rock.  He answered without hesitation: “Great Big Sea.”  We bought the their first CD, which had just come out.  17 years later, they’ve released 12 albums, five of which have gone gold, and four platinum, including 1995’s Up, which went quadruple platinum and gave the band airplay across Canada.  Time to split the class into two teams.  We’re going to alternate 30 seconds sprinting with 30 seconds of recovery.

Team One sprints from: 0:45 – 1:15, 1:45 – 2:15, and 2:45 – 3:15

Team Two sprints from 1:15 – 1:45, 2:15 – 2:45, and what the hell, 2:45 – 3:15 if they want to show Team One who’s boss.

The Old Black Rum – Great Big Sea (3:31):  Is everyone sucking wind?  It’s not quite time to quit.  Sure, relax, have a blast, take a drink, whatever you like – for 38 seconds.  Last two sprints of the day here: 0:38 – 1:22 (45 seconds), and 2:20 – 3:14 (54 seconds).  If the old black rum’s ever gotten hold of you, sing along.

I’m Yours – Jason Mraz (4:03):  What a sweet way to cool down.  I’ve been wanting to use this song for a while and was so pleased when my grasshopper chose it.

Moving Mountains – Usher (4:58):  Some extra cool down time and goodbye music.



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Summer in the City Spin Mix (43 minutes)

If you live in the Northern hemisphere, you’re probably getting mighty sick of winter right about now.  I know I am.  My spouse and I just returned from a rejuvenating week on Isla Mujeres, in Mexico, but it already feels like it was a long time ago in a galaxy far away.  All the schools in my city were shut down today due to massive amounts of sheeting, freezing rain.  Fun!  Here’s a spin mix that’s as close as I can come to evoking summer while we wait for it to arrive again.

Thanks to reader Christine, who shared her idea of a spin to beat the February blahs and suggested both Surfin’ USA and Margaritaville.  (She describes her February blahs class in the Reader Comments section & it sounds like a blast – check it out.)

fixing-terrys-bikeThe photo is from a ride on Isla.  The fearsome-looking gentleman on the left in this photo helped us fix a flat tire at the far end of the island.  Good thing he had a pump and a patch kit!

Beautiful Day – U2 (4:08):  Warm up with some easy spinning.  There’s heat in the sun again.  It won’t be long before the first crocuses poke through the ground.

Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys (2:21):  Let’s pick up those feet for some surges – not quite sprints, but maintaining a cadence about 20% higher than what’s comfortable.  Resistance around 3/10 or 4/10 to avoid bouncing in the saddle.  30 seconds on/30 seconds recovery.  We’re still warming up, so nothing all out here.

Summer in the City – Bad Boys Inc. (4:06):  This is a dance cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s classic hit.  Take the resistance to 4/10 and find the beat  for an out-of-the-saddle climb.  Increase the tension every 60 seconds, but maintain your cadence.

Panama – Van Halen (3:32):  Time for some attacks.  Split the riders into two teams who will go 30 seconds on followed by 30 seconds for recovery.  Take 20 seconds for standing sprints, sit down, and hammer for 10 seconds more.  The fun starts at 0:13.

Soak up the Sun – Sheryl Crow (4:53):  High.  Tension.  Lifts.  8/4/2 counts with resistance at 8/10.

The Boys of Summer – The Ataris (4:18):  Take a bit of time for recovery, then we’ll do three sprints here, 20/20/20 seconds, one at each chorus.  Do ’em standing with resistance at a 4 or 5/10.  Beginners can do them seated.  There’s lots of time for recovery in between – about 60 seconds each time – so riders should move.

Surfin’ USA – The Beach Boys (2:29):  Steady spinning here.  Set the resistance to 3/10 or 4/10 and find a cadence that works, then increase it by 20% – basically the fastest cadence you can maintain for two and a half minutes.  Go!

Hot in Herre – Nelly (3:48):  This is a seated climb.  Start with tension around 6/10.  We’re going to increase it every 45 seconds.  Stand when you need to.  Remember to keep your cadence at 60 RPM or greater to protect your knees.  (I always keep an eye out and remind the class if it looks like anyone is getting bogged down with too much resistance.)

Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves (4:01):  This song is one great big juicy seated sprint: 15 on/off, then 30, 45, then sprint out the last 60 seconds – whee!  I can’t believe I’ve never used it before – it’s perfect.  Get that energy out.

Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet (4:11):  Cool down and stretch.  Singing along is encouraged.

All Summer Long – The Rock Heroes (4:56): Some extra stretching time.  We’ll be riding outdoors in a month!