1) Each President’s Day, I do a “Denomination’s Ride.”  There are intervals of one, two, five, ten and twenty minutes in the 60-minute class.   It’s a little harder to pull off in a 50 minute class. Research shows it takes five to twenty minutes to warm-up while cycling . . . leaving about 30 minutes.  So I created a new profile called Dead Presidents, with the ten-minute interval repeated twice.  Here’s the playlist and profile notes via EverNote.

2) In my experience, most indoor cyclists can’t consistently pedal for two minutes. Time to Exhaustion, how long it takes you to lose your breath, is an emerging metric that is important in endurance sports.  Taken with Recovery Rate, how long it takes to stabilize your heart rate, paints a good picture of your ability to push then be ready to surge again. I wrote an article on efficient breathing for Echelon bikes.  We all know how to lose our breath, the important thing is to learn how to maintain it.

3) I’ve been infatuated with climbing documentaries in the last few months.  “Free Solo” recently won the academy Award for best documentary. It’s about a dude who climbs a 3000 foot mountain with no ropes.  

4) In the movie, the climber (Alex Hannold) mentions: “It’s not like I am just pushing pushing pushing until something bad happens.”  That’s what 90% of indoor cyclists do. Just pedal fast until they can’t breathe . . or the song stops. UGGGGHHHH???

5) Instructors who ride outdoors understand the need for consistent effort.  They also realize the ability to coast is absent on the indoor bike. So they don’t make everything a sprint or a surge, there are times you are pedaling downhilling or flat-roadding.   If you can’t train your body to work efficiently and not just overheat, you’ll never make it beyond two minutes of pedaling.

6) I’m working on my indoor cycling coach empathy skills.  So let me also offer some ways to improve your breathing:

  • Buy a fitness tracker or heart rate monitor.  Metrics are the future.

  • Practice mindfulness while you pedal -- focus on form, breathing technique and your willingness to ask your legs new questions (think resistance/cadence)

  • Lose your cycling wubby.  Stop doing what you’re good at.  Or at least save it til the end. Be willing to explore different cadences and bike positions.  

7) So what’s the cycling equivalent to “Free Solo?”  I guess there are two answers. One is the crazy bike handling videos cyclists create.  One false move and they are toast.

8) But bike tricks is not really a competitive thing. Near death experiences can be had on any bike ride.  Try descending a mountain at 40+ MPH. Now cycling’s hour record, how far one can pedal in 60 minutes is probably the the closest activity to Free Soloing.  It takes a tremendous amount of preparation and training and you only have one chance. Actually, Vittoria Bussi, who broke the women's record last year, faced unfriendly winds during her first attempt and stopped 40 minutes in.  She amazingly broke the record two days later.

9 Something I’ve admired in people who accomplish such big feats is there willingness to fail.  I was listening to Tim Tebow being interviewed and he was asked about why he switched from football to baseball.   The interviewee said he was hurting his marketability if he were to fail. Tebow’s response was GOLDEN:

"If we go after something and we fall short ... who said that's a bad thing? Sometimes we don't make it," Tebow said. "Not everyone is going to be the best in the world. At least I don't have to live with regret. I didn't want my life to be defined by hypotheticals. I wanted to go after my dreams. My dreams were more valuable than other people's opinions."

Listen to the full interview here . .  courtesy of WFAN