For Instructors Spinning

Train for a Criterium - sort of

As Instructors, we?re always happy to have a way to spike our classes with something a little different. This past weekend our small town in Central Vermont held a three-day bike and fitness festival that included everything from unicycles to professional racers from a multi-state area. The culminating event was a Criterium race that ran (with various groups) throughout the day on Sunday ? the professionals getting the most attention, of course. This was a huge risk and effort for this community but paid off with a weekend of surprisingly dry weather and larger participation than expected. I took advantage of the pre-race excitement by sending out emails to my class participants to inform them of the event and then including scraps of information in a few of my subsequent classes. This stuff is great for connecting the Spinning and cycling communities in any area. Being new to cycling, I was relatively stupid about a ?Crit? and had to look it up online to find out what the heck it was. What fun! In this case it was .85 mile course with four harrowing turns. These guys (and gals in separate races) rode as fast as skill and strategy would permit for lap after lap until the final sprint to the finish line. A ?Prime? offered further enticement for the rider who crossed the finish line first on a given lap. Then I pulled out my favorite Cyclist?s Training Bible by Joe Friel to see what he had to say. As usual, it was plenty and it was interesting but I extracted one small blip of training that gave us a lot of fun in an Interval Energy Zone class. Friel suggests that to replicate the training needed for a Criterium, intervals of 10/20 seconds would be appropriate. In other words, riding hard and fast in the saddle, the cyclist would train 10 seconds accelerating out of the turn, 20 seconds balanced into the straightaway and then repeating the sequence over and over again. For my Spinning IEZ class, I modified this to blocks of 10/20s followed by recovery. For example, 20 of these would take us through a 10 minute song and then we?d recover for 3-4 minutes (65-70%mhr) and then go again. The class FLEW by! It was fun, informative, and put us in a festive mood. Not only did we enjoy a good training session, but those of us who were able to actually join spectators for the race felt a connection with the riders. My suggestion? Look for events in your area and ways to integrate them into your classes. You will help promote something within your own community while, at the same time, bringing a new experience to your students and giving them an extra helping of fun. Blog posted by Linda Freeman for www.spinning.com 5/23/2011.
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