Saturday, January 26, 2013

Welcome to Race Day! (Spinning Playlist & Profile)

Welcome Racers!

Coaching Spinning® at one of the "Big Box" gym's you have a massive variation in the health and fitness levels of your class participants.  This is one of the reasons I've always shied away from coaching the RDEZ profile.

I've only participated in one full RDEZ ride and all the participants were Spinning® instructors except one.  That one was a Group X instructor in several other formats and wanted to know what this "Race Day" was all about.

Another neat aspect about that particular ride was we had the opportunity to test drive the Polar Cardio GX System.  The Polar system allowed the entire class to display on the big screen our heart rates.  Being an instructor, I always have my heart rate monitor on anyway, but this provided several new caveats.  The coach leading our ride was able to monitor each participant and provide additional motivation/instruction.  It also showed how you were fairing compared to the other participants; competition can be a fantastic motivator.  Don't worry, only you have to know which heart rate was yours.

What I learned from participating in that RDEZ ride was how strenuous this format is, which is why I had never lead a class at my studio on it.  I really never want to need my CPR training, and therefore because of all the "newbie's" that come to my class had scared me away from it.

Fast Forward to Today

Having picked up a new class time slot (Friday evenings) I made an assumption that IF you're going to the gym on a Friday night instead of relaxing after a long work week, then you're probably dedicated to your fitness.  Training ~ versus ~ Working Out.
So I lead my Friday evening troop on a 6 week routine that started with 3 weeks of Endurance rides (if that doesn't scare you away then you're serious), and Strength rides, all to culminate in last nights Race Day Energy Zone ride.

Aside from two technical issues with my iPod(s) the class was Awesome! Participation was fantastic.  The energy in the room was electric, and as someone after class said to me, "I think I'm on an endorphin high."  The consensus was that they would like this format to continue on a monthly basis so that they can gauge their progress.

Download Race-Day # 1

The Race-Day consisted of a Warm up / Training section and then the actual Race.  Warm up is just like any other class; start out slowly bringing the heart rate up to 65%, getting the quads and calves warm.  I used the next 10 minutes of "training" to make sure the entire class was informed on how to conduct the ride safely (how to stop the bike, etc...).  Reality is everyone should know that by the time they participate in a RDEZ, but it never hurts to remind everyone.   I included parameters for the minimum (80RPM) and maximum (110RPM) cadence.  We did a couple of resistance building exercises and cadence drills using a metronome to make sure everyone had an idea of how much resistance they could push during the ride and still stay at the proper cadence.  And then finally, I made sure everyone understood how I simulated a pace line on a Spinner.

Pace line - Simulate the "drafting" experience that cyclists have closely following another rider.  Typically the lead person pulls along a fellow cyclist forming a wind break.  Team cyclists will share this burden by swapping positions so as to not exhaust any single rider.  On a Spinner, add additional resistance (wind) without slowing down.  Pull the other cyclist for 20-30 seconds and then swap by lowering your resistance while the other cyclist is pulling you.  Cadence should be constant.
The very beginning of the race is done with a sprint to experience the surge that all the racers would have at the sound of the starter's pistol.  After breaking away into the lead group, the first segment is a flat leading to the first of 3 hills and the rest of the race.

~ Spin hard!