Have you every had someone come to your class, all kitted out in their cycling team's matching outfit (all the way down to gloves and sox), not follow anything you say the entire class then approach you after class and want to discuss their "training program"?

This conversation usually starts with this, color coordinated, rider "apologizing" for not following along during class and is usually followed by a BIG condescending "BUT, I ride outside!"  As if to say whatever you and the other riders are doing in this studio is worthless to me because "I ride outside".  So I usually say, "That's great, happy to have you in class today, what Category rider are you?"  This question is usually followed by a confused look.  To which I ask "What Category do you race in?"  The response to this question is almost always "I don't race, I just ride outside".  So then I ask this rider if he/she is training for any specific event like a century or multi-day touring ride?  I sometimes get a "Yes" but most often I hear "No, I RIDE OUTSIDE!" as if this is supposed to mean something special to me.  At this point the outside rider likes to tell me that they are only using my class for "base building" to prepare them for riding outside and that the intervals I do in most of my indoor cycling classes are too intense for base building.  When this statement is made I agree and let this low intensity junkie know that I coach multiple endurance athletes who are training for events like Ironman, marathon, multi-day bike touring events, mountain bike enduro races and that I have completed 8 Ironman events myself.  I let this "base builder" know that I'm a firm believer in the power of building a strong base for the higher intensity work that is to follow in a periodized training program.  The word "periodized" usually gets me a confused look from this outside, base building, rider.  So I explain that if you are using the winter months to build base, in order to reach your full potential it's necessary to add some higher intensity interval based training after the base building period.  The answer to this statement is usually "I don't follow a specific training program I just ride outside".  I'll then ask "How are your outside rides organized?", to which I'll get an response telling me how the ride leader will send out an e-mail telling the group what matching outfit to wear for the ride tomorrow, what time and coffee shop the ride will start at, what coffee shop the ride will rest at and what coffee shop the ride will finish at and approximately how long the ride will be.  Then I'll ask "how far and how long are these rides?"  And I'll get an answer like 40 miles in 4 hours.  My response is usually, "So you are actually on a 12 month long base building program".  I explain that if you are riding at a low intensity now, in class, AND riding at a low intensity throughout the summer on your organized group rides you are never really taxing your cardiovascular system and you will actually get slower and slower over time.  I'll usually get a frustrated "BUT I RIDE OUTSIDE" response and I'll calmly respond that your body doesn't care weather you're inside or out, low intensity is low intensity and a 4 hour ride with multiple coffee breaks is by definition a low intensity ride which by definition is a base building ride.

As the logic of my argument starts to sink in, this long slow distance loving, 12 month a year base building, kit wearing, condescending outdoor rider asks me in a huff  "So, what would you recommend?"  I respond by explaining that if you are not following a periodized training program developed by a reputable coach and if you are not training for any specific event, but only to enjoy your rides outside I would recommend that during the winter months doing some high intensity training.  I explain, due to the weather and lack of daylight during the winter months many riders are forced to train at a much lower volume.  I recommend, due to this lower volume, increasing fitness through higher intensity shorter training sessions.  I'll justify that this training method is gaining popularity with many of the worlds top coaches.  Since this, espresso drinking, outdoor rider probably doesn't respect my knowledge because I ride inside I'll ask for his/her e-mail address so I can forward some articles on this training method (articles like The Myth of Winter Base Training for Cyclists).  My final recommendation and probably the hardest for this outdoor rider to stomach is, when coming to indoor cycling classes, to follow along with the class profile.  Many indoor cycling instructors also ride outside and actually know what they are doing and what they are taking about.  Many have college degrees in the field, years of experience and are certified to teach indoor cycling through reputable organizations.  WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING!!!!!!!  If you follow our programs you will get more fit.

If you can win this rider over and they start to see fitness gains he/she will be a become a lifelong fan of you and indoor cycling.

Dennis Mellon

Add Your Thoughts...