1.  This week’s profile correlates with the start of the Vuelta Espana, the third, and last, grand tour.  Along with the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, these 3 week races are a true test of endurance.

2.  The jerseys of each grand tour differ.  The leader of the Vuelta wears the red jersey -- recently switched to match the colors of their main sponsor.

Red is the overall leader.  Polka dot, best climber, green is the points classification (best sprinter.. kinda), and white is the best rider under 25.

Red is the overall leader.  Polka dot, best climber, green is the points classification (best sprinter.. kinda), and white is the best rider under 25.

3.  This week, we ride stage 20 from the 2013 edition of the race.  This is the queen stage, the hardest day of the race and typically the one that determines the winner.  The profile (see image below -- EverNote link for my instructor friends) says it all.  Oh yeah, here's the playlist.

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4. Lots of hills. And hills aren’t 40 seconds and run out of breath.  In an article “Is Riding a Spin Bike the Same As Riding a Bike Outdoors?”, the author advises that engaging more muscles means getting more of a total-body workout than on an indoor bike.  Climbs are about consistent effort (watts) over prolonged durations.   Having the discipline to maintain effort over time means staying in an aerobic zone and effectively recruiting muscle.  

5.  We’ve spent much of this year working on mind/body connection and the ability to maintain your effort over progressively longer durations.   One of the missing ingredients in spin class is the inability to determine a cruising speed -- cyclists call it your functional threshold.  In layman’s terms, its the ideal speed/watts/effort where you are working hard but not over-exerting yourself. 

6.  Last week, our profile contained a couple of 5 and 10 minute long efforts.  We’ve committed to varying the energy zones we work on in class-- not just staying in anaerobic space.  Finding that 'sweet spot' is something all endurance athletes crave for.  Sweet spot training is essentially our second half of 2018 goal.  I try my best simplify it when I coach class.  Read more on sweet spot training here or here Google it.

7.  Serious cyclists typically do a 20 minute FTP test to find this zone, but that’s a hard ask in a 45 minute spin class. A ramp test is new protocol to find your best sustainable effort.You’ll often hear me say” Sweat is not a metric” or "Performance doesn’t have to be expensive."  Too often, indoor cyclists will pedal really fast for a short period and run out of breath. This doesn’t really impact the body. The ability to recruit muscle and allow the body to adapt to the change is what you’re looking for.

8.  We end the year (I press the reset button in mid-October) with introducing ramp tests. It's a new, shorter way to find your functional threshold.  I'll explain more in class as we're going to modify it a bit.  I like to introduce things slowly to yall.  So this will be a multi-week phase in.  By next year, I'm hopeful of getting to the 20 minute FTP test in a 90 minute class.  

9. Last Saturday, I took a class with Matt Wilpers of Peloton (formerly of Equinox).  It was an hour endurance ride with 2 sets of eight and ten-minute intervals.  WHOA!!!!  He is among the few instructors who rides outside and it shows in his class profiles.