Every year it's the same. We all have high aspirations that the weather will be nice enough to ride what's called the Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride. Not a true Ironman (no swimming or running thank God), this Ironman is the first large, organised/supported ride of the season. It gets its name from the notoriously crappy weather we normally have here in Minnesota the last Sunday in April and the foolish people who enjoy riding in it.
Twenty years ago freezing temps and a little rain wouldn't have stopped me from attending. Not having anything more to prove, I'm one of the first to politely decline any invitations – unless the forecast calls for a reasonably decent day. Rain is a non-starter, which was exactly what we experienced this morning. Add to that 37° F + 22 mph cross winds and a bunch of us found ourselves inside the warm and dry studio at Life Time Fitness 🙂
I like to ride with my class during long endurance rides. As this wasn't a regularly scheduled class, I have the freedom to sit in and enjoy the class with my friends and get the same workout as everyone else.
But I'm still “The Instructor” and everyone still expects a proper class. I start with an intro about how, as endurance athletes, we're all pretty self directed – so I'm going to be giving everyone a minimum amount of cuing and they will do the work they need to do.
My classes always include power and the first 15 minutes typically follow the same general format.
Warm Up – 10 minutes. 5 minutes of gradual increases in wattage. During the second 5 mins. we’re finding the wattage where everyone is first noticing a change in breathing; VT1 / Aerobic Threshold = the top of the Recover Zone. This establishes a rough understanding of a Base Level Wattage that we use throughout the rest of class.
3 x 30 sec. Hard / 30 sec. Easy – Openers to AT/LT. I cue these by first having everyone find the amount of load @ 70 RPM that has them feeling they should (not just could) come out of the saddle. The 30 sec. Hard is then simply accelerating to 90+ RPM which results in some pretty impressive power numbers. The 30 sec. Easy is back to 70 RPM – many will stand during the Easy portion.
1-3 minutes rest – I encourage riders to focus on their recovery. Once they feel calm in their breathing, bring back the Base Level Wattage.
3-5 min. Hard Effort – Here’s a “Best Effort” to establish a benchmark PTP Personal Threshold Power (top of the Perform Zone) or ride at 110% of FTP if known. It’s very helpful to riders to have that understanding of their personal upper wattage number. The “Best Effort” Threshold # + the Base Threshold # we found earlier form the three Power working zones I use in class. This “Best Effort also helps everyone understand where they are today… on this bike. Despite the efforts of our maintenance people, there are differences in the displayed wattage between bikes. My power meter was indicating that superman must have been riding it because I was seeing 320 watts, when I normally push ~240 watts at threshold.
With an Epic Planet DVD providing the entertainment, and me perched front & center between two regulars, we were off to virtually ride this year's Ironman indoors.
My cuing was very simple; depending on the song, we would ride at Base Level Wattage, Best Effort or something in between. Two hours is a long time to keep anyone's attention – so don't feel you need to. They're self-directed after all. Stand when you feel you need to and then give them a hard push at the end. You needn't make it any more difficult than that.
Here's my playlist.
Originally posted 2014-04-27 17:00:56.
John is a member on the AFS (Association of Fitness Studios) Advisory Council.
Holding certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness, John's held regularly scheduled cycling classes between 1998 and 2015 when he moved to Florida.
When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.
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