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Guest Post: Beautiful Day III Cycling Mix (60 minutes)

CYCLING-FRA-TDF2013Lisa Goldman has saved my bacon again with this brand-new playlist of kick-your-ass songs.  The profile is oh so simple: three hills and two flats, but then you look a bit closer and discover that hill #1 is more than 15 minutes long, hill #2 is 10 minutes long, and so is hill #3.  Urg.

I am loving this eclectic playlist that veers from rock (Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That) to blues (Black Sheep), from classic (Beautiful Day, The Joker (with a twist)) to brand new on the charts (Safe and Sound, Roar, Applause).  There’s something for everyone here, yet nothing in this ride plays it safe.

I get a lot of questions about how to construct profiles from newer instructors and Lisa has appended the first two versions of this playlist at the end of her post so you can see how it evolved.  As with any artistic endeavour, some of the songs are great for cycling but just didn’t fit with the others on the list (300 Violin Orchestra – check it out); others are good songs, but not as good a fit for cycling as Lisa first hoped.  Notice how the songs move around, how the basic feel of the playlist remains the same even as the songs change.  I also do variations on a theme playlists, but I treat them as one (in other words, I won’t usually pull out the same playlist or any of its variations more than once in a month.)

Massive props to Lisa for sharing this ride.  I’ve got a couple new rides in the can as well – look for those in the next few weeks.

Here’s Lisa:

Over my years teaching cycle I’ve put together many playlists. I used to have a system: each time I came across a song I was sure I wanted to use, I’d purchase it on iTunes and shift it over to a “new playlist in the making” file. It would take me approximately a month of surfing, sifting and listening in order to unearth enough gems to assemble an hour playlist. [Cynthia: this is how I do it, too.]  Although this system wasn’t ideal, it worked well enough and I had a groove, recycling past playlists while building and then integrating a new one every month or so. … And then came Spotify!  [Cynthia: Curse you, Spotify. When are you coming to Canada?]

Spotify has rocked my world. I’ve been using it for about one year now. I really love it. It’s allowed me to discover and experiment with more music, and vary my playlists more often. But, it’s like drinking from a fire hose for me.  The last few months I’ve gotten overwhelmed, drowning in hundreds of new songs I want to try and dozens of playlists “followed.”  I’ve lost my groove. There’s just not time to be so selective and love every single track I play. I feel a little like I have to relearn how to put together a playlist. I’m now taking more risks, playing music I’m not sure about, testing waters, gathering feedback, and then adjusting playlists as I go.

So, today, I’m sharing a playlist that I actually started putting together way back in the Spring. One of my regulars requested I use “Beautiful Day,” so that was the only non-negotiable in the playlist. I started collecting songs to work with it, but struggled to make it gel. I share this with you, just so other instructors know, sometimes it doesn’t come together that easily or quickly! (I suppose I’m a counter-point to the amazingly prolific and awesome Chris Spins, if you will.) Beautiful Day III, as the title implies, is my third and favorite iteration of this playlist, but versions I & II worked too. (I will post those at the bottom, in case you’re curious to see the evolution, or perhaps prefer some of the earlier versions).

[KEY: song time, total run time; BPM &/or RPM, effort level (easy/moderate/hard/very hard/breathless), Terrain (F= Flat, SC= seated climb, StC= Standing Climb, CH= Combo Hill, J= Jumps),  + & – refers to increase or decrease in gear, ^ or v refers to increase or decrease in cadence.]

Warm Up

1) Janelle Monáe – Dance Apocalyptic 3:26, 3:26; BPM 103/RPM 75-103, Easy-Moderate Flat, gradually increasing intensity until it’s more comfortable to breathe out of your mouth. Cue: strive for smooth, symmetrical pedal stroke. Side note: I first heard this song while listening to NPR. This artist is apparently a favorite of Michelle Obama’s and she’s played at the White House several times, including into the wee hours at the last inaugural ball.
2) Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That 3:31, 6:57; RPM 80-90, Fast Flat, moderate – hard, “drafting” and then pulling forward adding a bit of gear (+) and increasing cadence (^) ~10 RPM at :41-10, 1:20-42, 2:05-40. [Cynthia: I think this is my favourite song of the playlist.]

Hill 1

3) U2 – Beautiful Day 4:08, 11:05; 67 RPM -> ^~20RPMs into the 80s. SC hard with v. hard surges, + & ^ at: :56-1:13, 1:40-2:07, 2:50-3:45.
4) Ne-Yo – Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself) 4:14, 15:19; RPM 64, steady hard CH, + :40, :55, St 1:10, +1:25, -S 1:40, +2:05, + 2:20, + 2:30, + 2:50, St to end.
5) Capital Cities – Safe and Sound 3:13, 18:32, ~60RPM, CH mod-hard
6) Gavin DeGraw – Best I Ever Had 3:46, 22:18, RPM 65, CH very hard-breathless, + & St at 0-:36, 1:05-2:09, 2:44-3:26 (30/60/45 with 30sec S in between)

7) Train – Bruises 3:52, 26:10, BPM 103/RPM 80-103, easy-moderate Flat, recover, then surge with a little + or ^ (or a little of both) at :52-1:20, 2-2:30, 3:05-3:40
8) The Goo Goo Dolls – Rebel Beat 3:35, 29:45; RPM 89, mod-very hard Flat. 3 ~25sec “passes” increasing in intensity. +1 & ^10 at :47-1:09, +2 & ^ 1:49-2:16, +3 2:53-3:21. Cue: Remember: your RPMs only show me how fast your legs are moving, not how hard you are working – use your gear, not just your speed to increase intensity (see how that increases as you ratchet up the gear over these 3 intervals.)

Hill 2

9) Gin Wigmore – Black Sheep 3:04, 32:49; RPM 60 mod-hard. + every 30-60, should need to St by end.  [Cynthia: Folks who’ve been wanting more Amy Winehouse or Duffy should check out this New Zealander’s work.]
10) Stromae – Papaoutai 3:52, 36:41; RPM 58+, CH, hard-v. hard, St :48-1:23, 1:55-2:27, 3-3:35. Get to your steepest so far today. Cue: As this gets steeper, the pedal stroke should still look smooth, but it will feel stronger as it comes over the top. Side note: My French speaking students tell me that the lyrics are kind of depressing, but if you don’t know that, it has a great climbing beat!
11) OneRepublic – What You Wanted 4:01, 40:42; RPM 60, v. hard CH. Dig deep and keep adding. I like to give a goal here, visualize a sunset you’re trying to get to the top to see, or something else motivating. Last minute, were you really at your steepest? Add a little more – try!


12) Katy Perry – Roar 3:43, 44:25, RPM 92, easy-hard F. Get “fire” & + at :48-1:20, 1:55-2:38, 2:56-3:39.
Hill 3

13) Duck Sauce – It’s You 3:00, 47:25, RPM 65, Hard, Jumps on Hill  [Cynthia: I had a request for this song last week.]
14) Walk Off the Earth – REVO 3:51, 51:16, RPM 65 with accelerations, CH hard-v. hard. St, then S and “Go!”  :46-1:15, 1:50-2:20, 3:04-3:34
15) Lady Gaga – Applause 3:33, 54:49, RPM 70, Hard-v. hard-breathless, three 40sec “dial in” intervals, where you hold cadence for the first ~15sec, but + enough to get to very hard, then ^ to breathless for the remaining ~25.  :42-:56-1:15, 1:50-2:04-2:31, and 2:45-2:58-3:26.  Cue: This is the last push of the day, give me 3 really good ones. It’s tough, but it’ll be over very soon, so make the most of it and then enjoy the cool down you earned!

Cool Down

Fatboy Slim – The Joker – Edit 3:31, 58:20 [Cynthia: I had no idea that FBS had covered this Steve Miller tune.]
Michael Franti & Spearhead – Life Is Better With You 3:17, 1:01:37
Face – Looking For a Place to Land 4:47
Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles
Fun. – Carry On

Previous Iterations:

Beautiful Day II

Train – Bruises
Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That
U2 – Beautiful Day
Ne-Yo – Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)
The Police – King Of Pain – 2003 Stereo Remastered Version
Jorge Quintero – 300 Violin Orchestra
Lorde – Royals
The Goo Goo Dolls – Rebel Beat
Gin Wigmore – Black Sheep
Stromae – papaoutai
OneRepublic – What You Wanted
Artists Against feat. Hedley, Simple Plan, Kardinal Offishall, Lights, Alyssa Reid, Fefe Dobson & Walk Off the Earth – True Colors (Note: I love this one, but as the teacher, you really have to up to coach them through this. It’s what Julz Arney would call a “Feeler.” When I used it, I allowed the class to recover, then talked a bit about the meaning of the song. It was a fundraiser for an anti-bullying campaign and it encourages us to honor our “true colors.” I asked people to give themselves 30 seconds to think about what their own “true colors” are, what excites them, and to take that energy into the last segment of class, and beyond, into the rest of their day. I had them add gear, as they found that energy.)
Duck Sauce – It’s You
Walk Off the Earth – REVO
Lady Gaga – Applause
Fatboy Slim – The Joker – Edit
Michael Franti & Spearhead – Life Is Better With You
Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles
Fun. – Carry On

Beautiful Day I

Bonde do Rolê feat. Rizzle Kicks – Danзa Especial
Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That
Say Hi – Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh
Ne-Yo – Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)
The Police – King Of Pain – 2003 Stereo Remastered Version
Jorge Quintero – 300 Violin Orchestra
Vampire Weekend – Taxi Cab
The Goo Goo Dolls – Rebel Beat
Gin Wigmore – Black Sheep
Django Django – Default
OneRepublic – What You Wanted
Artists Against feat. Hedley, Simple Plan, Kardinal Offishall, Lights, Alyssa Reid, Fefe Dobson & Walk Off the Earth – True Colors
Pentatonix – Starships
Fun. – Out on the Town – Bonus Track
U2 – Beautiful Day
Fatboy Slim – The Joker – Edit
Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles
Fun. – Carry On


15 Comments On “Guest Post: Beautiful Day III Cycling Mix (60 minutes)

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  3. xpressorun Reply

    Thank you!! My class loved the music just complained about all the hills – ha ha

  4. Reply

    Thank you for your fabulous music selections!!

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Thanks Caultb! I appreciate you posting. C’mon back with some of your favourites for us.

  5. Taryn Jones Reply

    Thanks for sharing. I have always appreciated Cynthia’s playlists and can’t wait to try your songs. I have been teaching for 10 years and love fast songs! Taryn from Pennslyvania.

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Hey Taryn, I love the fast ones too. Thanks for posting!

  6. lorindnzu Reply

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the “Key”!! So helpful!

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Agreed, Lorindnzu. Appreciate the post.

  7. chris Reply

    Great post Lisa! I love to see how it all comes together for everyone! I suppose I should write such a post one day, huh? I should say that I spend a LOT of time on making my playlists, but it is something I LOVE to do. I love music and I’m constantly listening to it and thinking about how my next playlist is going to come together. It drives my husband crazy that sometimes I have to stop everything I’m doing and run to my laptop to add or change something when inspiration strikes.

    Spotify and Shazam have made my life so much easier over the past year! I don’t know how I ever did it without them. (Cynthia-I hope Spotify comes to Canada soon! I’ve been posting to Deezer, which is available to you and is similar to Spotify in many ways, so you should check that out if you haven’t already!)

    Thanks again for the great post and playlist Lisa! :)

    1. Cynthia Reply

      Thanks Chris! I have to check out Deezer. One of the big impediments in my gym is that it’s in the basement of a mall so there is no cell service or wifi. (Though I think Spotify does offer off-line use as well?) BUT… the gym is moving to a bright new location above ground in a few weeks (bigger cycling room! more bikes!) and I am excited to see what new options the move presents.

  8. steve:spin:list Reply

    Another Spotify testimonial! And another great playlist / post!

    1. Lisa Reply

      Thanks Steve!

    2. Cynthia Reply

      Thanks Steve – you’re such a stalwart commenter here at SpinningMusic. Would you like to contribute a guest post sometime?

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