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The 70s are That-a-way Cycling Mix (58 minutes)

70s bikesMy Wednesday night riders have been asking for lots of different genres… most recently a 70s ride.  “Disco?” I asked.  “Half disco,” was the response I got.  So I started working on a 70s ride.  The rule: every song had to come out in the 1970s.  I checked each one on Wikipedia (and in fact, gnashed my teeth over losing a bunch of great tunes that inexplicably came out in 1968 or 1969 and in 1980.)

This ride is half disco, half rock ‘n roll.  Each half features 11 minutes of rolling hills, separated by 9 minutes of (mostly) flat road in between.

Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles (4:14): We’ll start by warming up in 1979.  This song will forever remind me of going to the roller arena and skating in circles, hoping the crush du moment would ask you to skate while a disco ball threw sparkles all over the rink.  It cost $2 (most of my allowance) to get in each week but I went anyway.  Pick up the pace by 10% during each chorus.

Mamma Mia – ABBA (3:31):  I’d lose all credibility if I did a disco ride without ABBA.  This one’s from 1975 and it starts us off on 11 minutes of rolling hills.  Come on up out of the saddle and we’ll tweak the tension up/up/up/down/down/down (basically, I coach a resistance change every 15-60 seconds, with the challenge being to ride at a steady cadence over varying resistance.)  Offer the option of a seated climb at any point.

Disco Inferno – The Trampps (3:39):  More rolling hills.  I used this song only grudgingly, as it reminds me of one of my first indoor cycling instructors.  I went to her classes for more than a year.  As far as I could tell, she had three CDs and simply rotated them.  There was not one new song, or new profile, the entire year. (You’d never do that, right?)  This song figured prominently on one of the CDs and I heard it enough for a lifetime back then.

YMCA – The Village People (3:45):  See my comments above about having my street cred revoked if I didn’t work it into a 70s ride somewhere.  This 70s anthem has survived as a wedding reception perennial.

Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees (4:46):  Rolling Stone tapped this 1977 hit as #191 for the Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  (#1?  Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan.  Really?!?)  It’s perfect for 8-count jumps on a hill (resistance at 8/10).. if you’re badass, take it double-time at the choruses.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1qN6gLbUMw&w=560&h=315]

Does Your Mother Know – ABBA (3:17):  I’m breaking all the rules including two songs by the same group and the funny thing is, I wasn’t even a fan of ABBA back in the 70s.  (I was more into Billy Joel, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.)  This one’s a fast, seated flat.  It will feel really good after all that climbing.

We Will Rock You – Queen (2:02):  We transition from disco to rock with another anthem.  This is the seated climb in the middle, to Freddie Mercury’s soaring vocals.

Crocodile Rock – Elton John (3:55):  Back to 1973 for this cheerful ditty that featured in a wedding dance scene in one of my all-time favourite movies, Four Weddings and A Funeral.  This is the other half of the seated flat that we started with ABBA.

Back in the USSR – The Beatles (2:42): This 1976 UK single starts off the second 11 minute segment of rolling hills.  Once again, remind riders that they can choose a seated climb at any point.

You Really Got Me – Van Halen (2:39): Yes, yes, I know the Kinks did it first (1964) but that’s no good to me in a 70s ride, so I used the Van Halen version from 1978.

It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll) – AC/DC (5:02):  Okay, the metal head in me loves that I worked some AC/DC into this ride.  Bonus points for the title.  This tune came out in 1975, only a couple of years after AC/DC formed.  If you’re climbing and minding your own business and you think, “are those BAGPIPES?” yes, yes they are.  According to Wikipedia, the band’s producer encouraged lead singer Bon Scott to take up the pipes for this song even though he’d never played a note on them.  Scott used the pipes during live shows until the following year when he set them down too close to the edge of the stage and they were destroyed by fans.  The band went with a tape recording after that.

Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 – Pink Floyd (3:59):  We leave the 11 minutes of hills behind and move into some more jumps on a hill, back up to 8/10 and 8 counts again for this anthem for disaffected youth.

Gallows Pole – Led Zeppelin (4:56):  This one was for Ray, one of my regular riders.  It offers 60 seconds of recovery, followed by an out of the saddle climb from 0:60 – 4:40 (or you could do a combo climb/surge, switching up every 45 or 60 seconds.  He was beaming when we finished and I think he won some folks over as Led Zep fans.

The Devil Went Down to Georgia – The Charlie Daniels Band (3:44):  Shamelessly cribbed this sprint-to-the-finish from a former colleague, Fabia, for whom it was a signature tune.  Four seated sprints of 20/35/30/30 seconds at 0:56 – 1:17, 1:32 – 2:06, 2:18 – 2:46 and 3:07 – 3:40.  Year? 1979.  (Whew, that was close.)

Dust in the Wind – Kansas (3:26): This cool down song evokes powerful memories of my early years as a DJ for my high school radio station.  The station didn’t have a lot of money (okay, any money) so we had to spin the same 20 albums over… and over… and over.  I played Dust in the Wind dozens, maybe hundreds of times but it’s just as haunting a reminder of our mortality as it ever was.

I’m a Believer – Neil Diamond (2:43): Taking it back to 1971 for the stretching and goodbye music.  I didn’t appreciate Diamond’s genius as a songwriter until I heard other people covering his songs, which are enormously popular even now in the bars of my home town.  This one has a special place in my heart because I was a giant Monkees fan in the 70s and while Diamond did well with this song, The Monkees knocked it out of the park.  It was the #1 hit of 1966 and the biggest-selling record of 1967, one of fewer than 40 singles to have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

70s bikes III had fun with this ride and it was great to hear the biggest hits of the decade in one place.  Honestly, has any decade since produced songs with this kind of longevity? 

I didn’t quite manage a song from each year – you’ll notice 1972 and 1974 are missing.  Why’d I put disco first?  My first draft had the rock first but I really wanted to finish up with The Devil Went Down to Georgia and I didn’t want to mix up disco and rock (though a disco v. rock ride would be fun, too).  My next mission?  Another regular rider asked me for 90s boy bands. (I don’t know if my male regulars would tolerate an entire class of 90s boy bands.  I have no idea what I’d have to do to make amends for that.)  I trolled through iTunes for an hour last week and while there are tons of hits from these bands, few of them work for cycling.  Just gonna have to keep looking.  Got any ideas?



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A Tour de France Primer

If you’ve been wondering about the Tour, here is a great overview in one ten-minute Youtube video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7wPa1Hl5ZA&w=560&h=315]

Thanks to guest-poster Lisa Goldman for this one!



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Guest Post: A ShLOC (Sh*t Load of Climbing) Cycling Mix

cyclinguphill1Long-time reader Lisa Goldman from sunny California e-mailed me after my last post (in which I bemoaned my lack of time for blogging) and offered to contribute a guest post.  Lisa first guest-posted for me when I was on maternity leave back in 2010 (check out her original guest post here).  I love her stuff, plus she’s a really good egg, so I jumped at the chance to feature another guest post from her.

The profile involves, well, a sh*tload of climbing.  The playlist is heavy on American indie and alt-rockers but veers into Spanish dance, British house and African beats.  There are also some lesser-known songs from major artists, such as Coldplay, Beyonce and Calvin Harris.  Some of the songs offer numerous options via remixes, including Plage and Acapella.  And for the classic rockers in the group, there’s even a nod to 1978 with Stuck in the Middle with You.

So without further ado, heeerrrreeee’s Lisa!

Lisa:  This March I attended my first Schwinn Education classes at a local SCW Mania fitness conference. I was thrilled to finally get to sample classes from some instructors I’d heard so much about. Most lived up to the hype. Julz Arney & Jay Blahnik were awesome. Mindy Myrlea was hilarious. Gregg Cook’s musckles are very impressive. Keli Roberts – the woman from all those DVDs!, live and in the flesh! I wandered the halls star struck. I took copious notes, and returned home with all sorts of inspiration.

And then I experimented on my classes. I used similar playlists and cues to those I heard at the conference. And, some went over better than others. Turns out, I’m no Jay Blahnik. Elaborate race day visualizations work great coming from him, but I had a hard time pulling it off with the same urgency & sincerity. And, as much as I adore Julz, I was a poor imitation of her too. Julz did this thing in her classes that made it feel almost like church (or what this Jewish girl imagines church to be like). Without getting explicitly religious, she used cues that prodded riders to be their best both in the class, and beyond. It was utterly awesome when Julz did it, but my classes looked at me quizzically when I tried to emulate it. Mindy’s bawdy humor is totally my speed, but I could get fired for that sh$%^! And, well, my muscles will never match Gregg’s. But Keli Roberts class – that I think I pulled off pretty decently!

KeliRobertsKeli taught a class called ShLOC (Sh*t Load of Climbing). She used some great visualization, and taught a high energy, fun, tough class. But her visualizations didn’t go into quite as much detail and drama as Jay Blahnik’s. This allowed me to replicate it and stay authentic to my (enthusiastic, but less dramatic) voice/personality. I found my classes enjoyed my version of Keli’s ShLOC class the best of all the SCW Mania classes I’ve tried to replicate so far. I contacted Keli (www.keliroberts.com) and she generously gave me permission to share with you my slightly modified version of her ShLOC ride here. Thanks Keli!!! Hope you all enjoy!

ShLOC

Warm up:

  1. Plage – Crystal Fighters (3:51)
  2. Lonely Boy – The Black Keys (3:13)

Seated flat, 75-90 RPM, gradually adding gear, moving from easy to moderate work. You’re going to do a lot of climbing today; it’s going to be a challenging ride. Check out who your competition is. Think of someone you’re incredibly competitive with (on the bike, or just in life). Today I am that person.

By the end of the warm up you should be at a challenging but comfortable intensity. It should feel more natural to breathe though mouth. You’re in the comfort zone, but it shouldn’t feel easy (it’s tempting to confuse comfortable with easy, so pay attention, there’s a difference!).

Stage 1: Short hill followed by a False Flat

3.  Lonely Lonely – The Belle Brigade (2:40):  Combo Hill, Hard, 70-80 RPM

On this first short hill the pack always surges. People fight for position. Build wattage by adding gear, enough so that you need to stand about halfway up, finishing this hill with your highest wattage (or hardest effort if you don’t have a computer tracking wattage).

4.  Hurts Like Heaven – Coldplay (4:03): Seated Flat, Moderate-Hard, 80-95 RPM

Fast section. I am your nemesis and I’m going to surge. Should feel a little uncomfortable by now (if not -> add gear). Ask yourself: Do I feel uncomfortable? Close to breathless? Picture us as a pack, heading up a false flat. We’re about to turn onto steepest part. At the end of the song the pack slows, grab water.

Stage 2: Long hill followed by a Flat with a Paceline

5.  Ring the Alarm (Freemasons Club Mix) – Beyonce (8:34): Combo Hill, Hard, 60-70 RPM

This is a winding climb, with a hard steady pace. Come out of the saddle periodically for “switch backs” when it gets a little steeper. The upper section (~last 2 minutes) is the steepest part. The front of the pack has pulled away a little bit. You and I are in the middle. Is that good enough? No! My goal is to get to the top first. Your goal is not to let me.

Add and Stand to attack. Look at wattage. Each time Attack -> Add & Stand. Each time you see me do it, you have to stay with me.

There’s gonna be a regroup. Recovery in a minute – hang on! [Insert a mini recovery at the end of this song and/or beginning of the next]

6.  The Brazilian – Dirty Vegas (3:54) Combo Hill continues, Hard-Anaerobic, 60-70 RPM

I think you came close to beating me on that last hill section, but I don’t think you did. Not quite. So go ahead and surprise me. Attack right now. 3.5 minutes super steep. Your chance for pay back. I got you on the last one. Zone 3, not breathless, but ALMOST.

I’m hanging on your wheel pretty nicely. You’re going to have to do more, something exceptional to drop me. Stand up!

In the last 30-45 seconds of the hill, take it back in the saddle and accelerate! Drop me off your wheel! Come on go! Done, you’re at the top.

7.  Into Action – Tim Armstrong (3:42): Seated Flat, Mod-Hard, 70-85 RPM

Take a break, and then shift “into action” with a paceline down the hill. Do some drafting & pulling. When drafting, watts drop ~30.  Do about 3 rounds of 30 seconds on/off, don’t drop wattage too much and lose me. [recover at end of song]

Stage 3: Long set of Rolling Hills & Climbing

8.  Thinking About You – Calvin Harris, Ayah Marmar (4:08): Rolling Hills, Hard, 60-75 RPM

Steep climbing and rolling descents. Pack attacks on the descents. I’m right in front of you, you’re pacing off me.

On 1st roller I beat you. See if you can beat me on the 2nd.

9.  Stuck In the Middle With You – Stealers Wheel (3:24): Rolling Hills cont., Hard, 60-75 RPM

Two more summits on this section.  You’re “stuck in the middle.” Try to break away! First summit, you got me.  Second, I got you. Even again.

10. Rumor Has It – Adele (3:42): Last set of Rolling Hills, Hard 60-75 RPM

Roll/accelerate on the chorus when the music picks up. A little less aggressive here. Save a little extra for the last song (& summit) on this climb, coming next.

11. Acapella – Kelis (4:08): Combo Hill, Hard-Anaerobic, 60-75

One more summit. Get back on hill. 1 minute away from top, add and St & GO. Get me to the top of this hill. You did it. We’re even, Steven.

Stage 4: Flat with some Passing, Finishing with one last quick Hill

12. Gang of Rhythm – Walk Off the Earth (3:35): Seated Flat, Hard-Very Hard

Paceline. Add enough gear and accelerate enough to take you into very hard work.  Accelerations “c’mon everbody” at :48-16, 1:44-2:11, 2:33 & 2:46-3:22. On recoveries, take care not to drop too much and lose my wheel. Also careful not to get breathless when you pull. Are your watts close to last paceline? That’s what we want, nice strong push. Strong wattage, not breathless.  Recover at end of song and into next song.

13. Shosholoza – Overtone & Yollandi Nortjie (3:30): (but ends at 3:00) Seated Flat with one 30 second acceleration/sprint/pass.

You know you have one more short hill up ahead. It’s very narrow, and you must get yourself in position in front of me on this flat before you get on that hill. You have one chance to pass me, and it’s a 30 second interval at: 1:23-55. Get enough gear on that when you accelerate for those 30 seconds, you get breathless.  *Note: the version I have for this song is from the live version, and it erupts into applause at 3:00, so be prepared just to advance to the next song.

14. Cups – Anna Kendrick (2:07): Combo Hill, very hard, 60-70 RPM

Add gear. Stand :30-1:00, add one more time and Stand ‘til the finish 1:35-53.

Side note: I really like this Cups song (Anna’s version in the Pitch Perfect movie is so cool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C463W4sHBg), but it might lack the punch you want to end your class with. Two other short climbing songs I’ve used here, that might work better for you are: Bang it Out – Baby Bee (2:37) & Before the Light Takes Us (Original Mix) – Darkness Falls (2:34).

Cool Down:

15. Ruin – Cat Power (4:33)

16. Love Love Love – Tristan Prettyman (3:26)

Thank the riders for their hard work!

Thank you Lisa, for contributing this ride!  I am going to use it on Thursday with my lunch class.  (I teach most of the same folks on Tuesday at lunch so I told them about your ride today and they’re primed to climb.)  If you’d like to read Keli’s original notes for this class, just Google ‘Sh*tload of Climbing’ and they’ll pop up in PDF form as the second link.

I was fascinated by Lisa’s observations on adopting successful strategies of master instructors.  The bottom line? No matter how awesome the strategy or presenter is, you’ve got to be you.  It only works if you’re being 100% yourself.