1) This week’s playlist is all about the holidays.  It’s a three-song medley: one rock holiday song, one rap holiday song and a wildcard song.  Please bring your holiday spirit … we don’t get to ride to DMX singing “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” often!

2) I’m trying to be neater with the profile notes.  I’ll get there.  I didn’t think anyone actually clicked on the link.  I heard from a fellow instructor in Michigan who inspired a little but more structure this time.  Un piquito.

3) I used holiday songs from maestro pianist Dave Brubeck to separate each block of songs. Brubeck’s seminal 1959 album, Time Out is noted for its experimental use of time.  Most of us think of music in a 4/4 time - 1, 2, 3 , 4 parts to each beat.  Each song on the album has a different tempo and time signature.  It’s kinda extraordinary.  Almost every popular song is in 4/4, but Brubeck challenged the audience’s ability to adapt and won.  “Take Five” remains the number 1 selling jazz single of all time.

4) 1959, the Year that Changed Jazz is a fantastic documentary discussing the 4 seminal jazz albums released in 1959.  Definitely worth checking out.  Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, and Ornette Coleman join Brubeck in forever changing the course of jazz history. 

5) These medley (or circuit) profiles aim to bring diversity to your pedal stroke.  Your body won’t grow, if you do the same thing every class…all the time.  I mean, have you REALLY gotten better at sprinting, or do you simply enjoy the breathless feeling you’ve associated with spin class success?  The ability to change conditions (resistance, cadence or duration) and find success in different ways is essential.  Think of a sniper who can only shoot in sunlight.  What happens when it rains?  When there’s fog?  At dusk or dawn?  Pedal diversity is important.

6) Speaking of diversity, this week we channel our inner Christian Bale.  The Welshman is known for his ability (and willingness) to change his appearance for challenging roles.  He’s played the muscular Batman, an overweight businessman (American Hustle), an insomniac in The Machinist, neighborhood crackhead in The Fighter) and is currently playing former VP Dick Cheney in a soon to be released biopic.  When we go from sprint, to surge to time trial, be like Christian Bale . . . show different types of effort!

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A few suggestions for ‘different’: low cadence cycling, effective breathing and adding yoga to your cycling regimen

7) I know, I know, we aren’t getting paid like Christian Bale.  But, improving your health is an investment worth making.  I recently came across a fantastic article in the New Yorker, “Love Is Not a Permanent State of Enthusiasm: An Interview with Esther Perel.”  I won’t give away the fine details, but replace ‘love’ with ‘exercise’ and that’s what this week’s profile is getting at.  Sometimes you gotta embrace discomfort.  Don’t be afraid. 

8) Re: “Not being afraid” – Pittsburgh Steeler’s coach Mike Tomlin has an interesting way of getting his players to face adversity head on.  He advises them “Not to blink” when facing a challenge.  To tackle it head on.  He’s even threated to cut off a player’s eyelids!  We don’t play football, but blinking is akin the losing your form while pedaling (a sure sign of fatigue) or reaching for your phone/towel as a way out of a hard effort.  Unlike Mike Tomlin, I promise not to cut off your eyelids☺)

9) Lastly, our cover art comes from expressionist artist Gabrielle Münther.  Born into an affluent family in 1877, she used this privilege to pursue her passion in art.  At a time when few women had access to the art world, Münther was an early forerunner for women in the arts.