For about three years now I have attended spinning classes as an alternative to riding my bike outside through all eight months of Cleveland, Ohio’s winter. I go to spin class for the music, the sweat and the motivation from the instructor. This past January my fitness center invested in Spinner® Blade ION™ bikes which have turned spinning into a real training tool for Ride The Rockies.
The new bikes have computers which display cadence, power in watts and kilocalories. At first I was reluctant to embrace the computer. I am not a technology enthusiast and I wasn’t interested in measuring my performance, or so I thought.
In the first class on the new bikes the feedback numbers fueled competition between my husband Doug and me. Before the computers, we occasionally noted that one or the other seemed to be working harder in class. Now we had proof of who was riding faster and stronger.
Doug threw up higher numbers than me in the first couple of classes. I persuaded him to attend a special promotional two-hour spin class with me. We knew it would be tough. After the first hour Doug was beating me in calories. I developed a strategy which I put into place during the second hour. I continuously slyly peaked over at how much power he was putting out and made sure that I put out more. When the class ended I beat him in kilocalories and made sure that he knew it. I had my first taste of victory.
Every class is not a calorie race with Doug. In most classes I am solely competing with myself. Over a period of four months I have increased my kilocalories burned to move the bike in one hour by 150. Monitoring my power has changed the way I ride. Now instead of taking off all of the resistance during recovery periods and letting the watts drop down below 20, I maintain watts close to or above 100. In active recovery I shoot for over 130 watts. Earlier this week I took a personal spinning threshold test which identified the highest level of exertion I can maintain before entering anaerobic metabolism. I can use that number to set targets during my workouts and retest later to monitor changes in my fitness level.
As soon as Spring shows up and decides to stay we will ride outside and see how training in class will translate to the real thing.