One of the many benefits of coaching at Talisman Center is the ability to train with wonderful athletes as you coach them through cycling sessions. Starting yesterday, my 3 hour Saturday rides resumed for another year. These rides have become a key factor in many athlete preparation, including my own for the summer races. Typically, I do a 90-120min long run before the spin, but yesterday I was relegated to a 90min water run.
I entered the ride with lots of energy and excitement at the new faces as well as the old friends I have been coaching and training with for years. Some of the new athletes thought the class was 2 hours, which made my day to see their eyes get big when I told them the actual duration of the class. It’s kind of sadistic, but seeing this look of horror on others and then running them through a great workout, brings me a lot of pleasure. In my opinion, the class went great. This was the longest ride in 3 weeks with my achilles and it held up beautifully. A little athletic tape for some support, keep the cadence and watts stable and minimal standing and 3 hours passed with no pain…YES!
The dynamics of a 3 hour ride indoors are fascinating and over the years I studied them with great interest. When the class starts at 9am, the coach has to pump a lot of energy into the group to get people awake. Then, conversations need to be generated during warm up to keep people spinning and keep their energy exertion in check. This also helps the initial 30-45mins pass by in a blink of an eye. Once I’ve pumped energy in for about 45mins, the athletes start giving it back 10 fold. As they start to sweat, work hard and enjoy the experience of the music, friends and exercise, this is now my time to recharge. I take in the energy they are giving and keep the class at a stable hum. Once you pass that 2 hour, barrier, the athletes start to fade. Fatigue, hunger, boredom and saddles sores set in, which challenge peoples desire to continues. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are bonking, but I need to feed energy back to them. This means good music, encouragement as well as keeping my energy and pep high. This is the only way that most athletes will push themselves for the full 3 hours. When all the work is done and the minutes have sweated themselves away, everyone is in a state of fatigue, hunger, varying levels of pain, but has a sense of accomplishment. “Today, I did something that will make me better tomorrow”.
Welcome back Saturdays!