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Important News about Regular Contributor Lisa Goldman

Folks, I have important news to share.  Longtime Spinning Music contributor and guest-blogger Lisa Goldman has just been handed the fight of her life.  In January 2014, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.

Lisa GoldmanLisa first guest-blogged at Spinning Music way back in 2010 when I took a mat leave from indoor cycling after having my daughter, but was a regular commenter long before that.  You can find her very first guest post here.  Lisa also guest-posted one my all-time favourite rides, the Sh*tload of Climbing Ride, here.  Over the years, we’ve been in touch via e-mail and Facebook and discovered we have a lot more in common than our love of indoor cycling.  We’re both 40-something moms of young kids, lawyers who’ve found a path outside the traditional practice of law, both with interests in nutrition, photography, reading, and a keen love of handmade ceramic mugs.  If we lived closer than 6,000 km apart (that’s 3,700 miles for American readers), I know she and her husband Eric would be regulars on the back deck, and no doubt my husband Terry would do his level best to convert them from vegetarianism to his love of barbeque.

Lisa has decided to blog about her experience over at Every Breath I Take: A Blog About My Journey With Lung Cancer. She gave her permission for me to tell you about her diagnosis and link to her blog.  Lisa has chosen to blog about this very personal subject for two important reasons: first, to spread awareness of the early symptoms of lung cancer (hers wasn’t caught until nearly three months after she first experienced symptoms) and second, to advocate for more attention, research and funding for this stigmatized disease and to remove the stigma.  Nobody deserves to get cancer.

Early lung cancer can masquerade as a bad cold involving chest congestion, coughing and body aches.  It might look like a lingering dry cough you can’t shake, or be misdiagnosed as pneumonia.

Lung cancer is the second leading cause of death in the USA yet it is the least-funded of the major cancers in terms of research dollars per death, in part because of the notion that it is self-inflicted. (In Canada, only 7% of cancer research-funding and fewer than 1% of cancer donations are directed to fighting Canada’s deadliest and most common cancer.  That’s not a typo.)

Did you know that 80% of lung cancer patients are non-smokers, just like Lisa?  In North America, 15-20%, like her, have never smoked?  In Asia, 30-40% of lung cancer patients have never smoked.  In Lisa’s words, “Lung cancer can strike anyone with lungs.”  Did you know that women are 1.5 times more likely to develop lung cancer than men, and that lung cancer – not breast cancer – is the deadliest cancer for women?  Did you know that an estimated 15% of all lung cancers are caused by exposure to radon gas, in our homes, schools and workplaces?  Other causes include exposure to second-hand smoke, asbestos and other substances, as well as genetics.  (All stats are from the Lung Cancer Canada website.)

What can you do?  Lots, actually.

First, you can support Lisa by sending prayers and good vibes to her and Eric and their kids and by following her journey via her blog.  Lisa’s blog is not set up to accept comments but you can send well-wishes to her by commenting on this post.  I will forward a link to her when I post it, and she can sign up to receive notification of comments on the post.  She is using all of her energy to fight this cancer, so she will not be able to respond to you personally, but if you ever wonder whether your support makes a difference, Lisa explains what this support means to her here.

Second, learn and memorize the early symptoms of lung cancer.  Chest CT scans are the latest tool for early detection and it was a chest CT that caught Lisa’s cancer.

Third, if you or anyone you love still smokes, do whatever you can to support them in quitting.  (Full disclosure: I started smoking in high school in a misguided attempt to appear cool.  I quit nearly 20 years ago, but I still remember exactly how hard it is to quit.  Honestly?  Giving birth was easier.  A lot easier.  So was completing law school.)

Fourth, do what you can to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.  Most North Americans now live in communities where all indoor smoking is banned in public places but if you live in another country, or with a smoker, it may still be an issue.

Fifth, find out if radon gas is a problem in your area.  (It is idiosyncratic and levels can vary widely among houses on the same street.)  If radon is present in your neighbourhood, get your home tested for radon gas and ask if your workplace or school has been tested.  If your home, school or workplace is high in radon, effective remediation options exist.

Sixth, reach into your pocket today and make a donation to lung cancer research in your country – in Canada, you can donate online here: http://www.lungcancercanada.ca/ and in the USA, here: http://www.lungcancerfoundation.org/contribute/.

Last, talk about lung cancer.  Tell the riders in your classes.  Share this post.  Help erase the stigma.  Ask your riders to consider making a donation if they can.  This blog had more than 400,000 visitors last year.  If each visitor told one class of 20 riders about lung cancer and shared Lisa’s story, we would reach more than 8 million people in 189 countries.  And folks, that’s a movement.

Big hugs and props to you Lisa, my dear, witty, intelligent, passionate, brave, all-round fabulous friend.  F*ck cancer.



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Guest Post: Hallowe’en Cycling Mix (60 minutes)

halloween pumpkin bikeGot a note from intrepid California instructor Lisa Goldman asking if I would be interesting in sharing her Hallowe’en playlist with you.  My response?  Hell, yeah!  So, just in time for Hallowe’en week, here’s Lisa:

Confession time: I made a Halloween playlist about 7 years ago and I’ve recycled it every year since.  I figured, “Hey, who’s gonna remember what I played a year ago?”  Well, if not them, then me. I pulled out my trusty Halloween mix, and I just couldn’t do it this year. Not entirely anyway. Truthfully, this new playlist is only about 50% new. But once I ditched Monster Mash and Thriller, it felt 100% new. Besides, I used to make a joke about imagining being chased my Michael Jackson’s over-eager plastic surgeon during Thriller, and now that being chased by MJ’s doctor is actually terrifying, the joke doesn’t play that well anymore. Time for something new.

When I decided to make a new Halloween mix, I tried to go the lazy route, and crib off another teacher’s profile. I searched the web and came up with a few, but I couldn’t make them work for me. Turns out, I’m incredibly sensitive to matching the RPMs I cue to the beat of the song.  I know there are strong arguments for letting the training profile dictate the ride, instead of the music. But, asking me to pedal even slightly off the beat makes me crazy – like the reverse of asking someone to pat their head and rub their tummy – I just cannot do it myself, much less cue others to do so. (My compromise is the shift around my music to fit a profile that makes sense.) I did get some music inspiration from other instructors out there, but had to put together my own ride, Lisa-style.  It’s not my most favorite profile ever, but I think the Halloween music is fun for this time of year, and you can certainly play it up asking people to name the movie (several songs in this list come from movies), or asking other Halloween trivia, and passing out prizes, or as I plan to do, passing out Glo-necklaces for my night classes. Hope you enjoy – Happy Halloween!

[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, RH= Rolling Hills),  + & – refers to increase or decrease in gear, ^ or v refers to increase or decrease in cadence.]

Warm Up

1)   Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead – 9:40, 9:40, 75-95 RPM; easy-moderate, F & SC. I use the first half of this song to let folks warm up on a F at whatever cadence they choose, gradually adding gear. By ~ 5 minutes in, I have people find enough gear to get the cadence to match the beat (75 RPM) and find a moderate hill.  [Cynthia: lots of peppier remixes of this one on iTunes, but this one’s the spookiest.]

STAGE 1 – 7+ minute hill, followed by ~3 minute F

2)   The Black Keys – Howlin’ For You – 3:12, 12:52; 67 RPM with some cadence pick ups for RH. Moderate – Hard.
Power Music – Tales From The Crypt Theme – 2:02, 14:54; 71 RPM, Hard, CH
Danny Elfman – Beetlejuice (Theme from “Beetlejuice”) – 1:54, 16:48; 75 RPM; very hard StC
Linkin Park – SKIN TO BONE – 2:49. 19:37; 80 RPM, easy-moderate. First recover from hill at easy, then find your way back to a moderate flat, bringing wattage back to where you finished your warm-up or slightly higher, but allow yourself to recover because we have a 17 minute hill next, followed by two short, but very steep hills after that. Lots of climbing today!

STAGE 2 – 16.5 minute hill, followed by ~3 minute F

3)   Deadmau5 – Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff – feat. Rob Swire – 5:29, 25:06, RPM 64, mod-hard, CH. Every time you come out of the saddle add ~2 gears, every time you sit back down, take off 1 gear (or half of what you added). [Cynthia: Love!]

4)   Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party – 6:22, 31:28, RPM 81, RH. St and +v, S and ^-. [Cynthia: Love!]

5)   101 Strings Orchestra – The Exorcist (Theme from Tubular Bells) – 4:23, 35:51; 74 RPM, SC with 4 passes (picking up 20-30 RPM, maxing at 100RPM – if you can go faster than that, you need more gear!) 1-1:15, 2-2:25, 3-3:25, 4-4:15.

6)   Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy – 2:45, 38:36; 90-110 RPM, easy-moderate FF with headwind + at chorus. [Cynthia: Love!  The perfect antidote to all the creepiness.]

STAGE 3 – 4 minute hill, 3 minute F, 5 minute hill with passes

7)   Harajuku – The Phantom of the Opera – 4:11, 42:47; 66 RPM, hard-very hard, CH. [Cynthia: Iron Maiden has a hard-driving song with the same title and it clocks in at 7:21.  Anyone brave enough to pull out Iron Maiden in cycling class?]

8)   Santana – Black Magic Woman – 3:16, 46:03; 80-110, FF, easy-mod

9)   Karl Jenkins, Marat Bisengaliev & West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra – Requiem: Dies Irae – 4:36, 50:39; RPM 61, very hard-breathless, StC with seated passes 20/15/15/35, ^ ~20 RPM and shoot for breathless at 1-1:20, 2-2:18, 3:05-20, and 4-end.  [Cynthia: Love!  See, this is why Lisa is the best.  How does she find this awesome music???]

Recovery & Cool Down

10)                  The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil – 6:18, 56:57

11)                  Mumford & Sons – Ghosts That We Knew 5:40, 1:02:37

Spotify Link: Halloween 2013

Hey folks, Cynthia again.  I was going to pull out MY good ‘ole Hallowe’en playlist that I’ve used every year since 2009 (in journalism these sorts of things are called ‘evergreen’ because they never lose their currency) but Lisa has inspired me to, if not completely rework it, at least play with it.  Hallowe’en playlists are flying thick and fast on Facebook indoor cycling groups, but like Lisa, I can’t simply co-opt someone else’s ride.  I need to make it my own first.  I’m not above shamelessly lifting great tunes, though.  Here are some of the best Hallowe’en cycling tunes I’ve encountered this year:

Cry Little Sister – The Anix (3:32):  Theme from The Lost Boys.  This one’s industrial metal; for a dancier version, check out the Mozart and Friends Remix (4:57).  Thanks to Jen Ward Horenziak for this one.

Maneater – Nelly Furtado (4:19):  This song was EVERYWHERE in 2006-07, plus Furtado is Canadian.  Thanks to Vicki Greenwood for reminding me of it.  (She used the dancier David Garcia and Morgan Page Remix).

Swamp Thing – The Grid (7:15):  I’ve used the 3:59 Radio Mix a few times, but man, was I delighted to see Vicki scared up (ha!) a longer version with the same driving beat.  High intensity intervals anyone?

Shivers (Radio Edit) – Armin van Buuren (3:09): or the full version at 7:33.  A tough connection to Hallowe’en other than the title but if you’re looking to add a little trance to your mix, this is a great bet.  Vicki…

Bleeding Out – Imagine Dragons (3:43):  Sometimes evergreen playlists can feel a little tired; this tune will inject an of-the-moment feel.  Plus it’s catchy.  Clearly, I owe Vicki Greenwood a latte.  This one’s hers, too.

Night Crawler – Judas Priest (5:44):  Not quite ready to rock out to Iron Maiden on the Spin bike?  This head-banger is perfect for high intensity intervals and you never know… you might find you have a few closet metal heads in your class.  This one is from Kathy Schiebe Leggitt.

This is Hallowe’en – Marilyn Manson (3:22):  Not exactly subtle, but that’s why I like it.  Another from Kathy.

Dragula – Rob Zombie (3:43):  Another industrial metal tune from Kathy – she and I are sympatico on this: industrial metal is great for indoor cycling.  (Go ahead, listen to Megalomaniac by KMFDM while cycling and you’ll see what I mean.)

Somebody’s Watching Me (Freakmatique Cut) – DJ Brian Howe (3:23):  An old standby I use for jumps.

Reader Di commented recently with a link to her Hallowe’en playlist here.  (I especially liked Scream, Bodies, and Run with the Wolves but you’ve got to check it out for details.)

And I can’t resist a link to ChrisSpin’s hot-off-the-presses Hallowe’en playlist here.

scooby-dooAs long as we’re on spooky, I am loving that my daughter (age 3.5) is really into Scooby Doo at the moment.  I downloaded the first season (1969) onto our iPad and we also have a Scooby Doo book that has become a go-to favourite for bedtime stories.  They are just the right level of spooky for a kid – it’s comforting that the monster is always captured and unmasked as a plain old person at the end.  I remember enjoying the show when I was little and I love that I can share Scoob and Shaggy and the gang with her.

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!



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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.