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2013-10-09 5:08 PM

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Subject: Spin class as legit training?
With shortening days and work getting in the way, I'm finding it hard to find weekdays to bike. I will not bike in the dark - trying to keep low on the risk profile as I broke my shoulder last year in multiple places and not doing that again.

What are anyone's thoughts on spinning classes?

Anyone who knows me well would swear they'd never see me in one, but I went yesterday and it was quite a 1 hour workout. Would triathletes here who have done them say they are a good legit alternative or am I fooling myself?


2013-10-09 8:36 PM
in reply to: FranzZemen

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
Spin class really depends on the instructor. I used to go pretty regularly during the winter (I've dropped my gym membership since though), and there was one instructor who was great, one that was okay, and one that I skipped.

Is it close? Sure. Is it the same as being on your bike, outdoors or on the trainer - nope.

However, with the right instructor, spin class can be a lot of fun, and the workout you do and enjoy is better than the one you skip or cut short because you're dreading another trainer session.
2013-10-09 8:42 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
I personally have never gone to a spin class in my life so take this for what it's worth: A buddy of mine went to spin to train for a sprint race series we do locally and attempted to get me to go several times. He swore it would make me faster. Long story short we made a bet his bike splits wouldn't improve over the series and I won. FWIW he did spin only 3 days a week and did no other bike workouts. Oddly enough his run times did get faster (truthfully they couldn't get much slower) which leads me to believe they're a good cardo workout but I don't think anything can substitute for riding outside

Edited by rjrankin83 2013-10-09 8:43 PM
2013-10-09 8:49 PM
in reply to: #4874076

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
It depends on the instructor and you. You will only get out of it what you put into it.
I used a spin class for my weekly interval session.
I placed in my AG in sprint races.
2013-10-09 8:54 PM
in reply to: FranzZemen

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
It's legit, use it as a one hour hard interval session/sufferfest. I try to show up early enough to adjust the bike close to my outdoor riding position. There should be a pool of sweat under your bike or a soaked towel, otherwise you didn't work hard enough . Some spin instructors have a lot of up/down stuff, so I sit in the back row and do my own thing if the up/down stuff gets to be too much. I do a few bricks in the winter, a 2-3 mile run afterwards or a swim before.
2013-10-09 9:08 PM
in reply to: FranzZemen


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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
SPIN class... meh. Won't catch me on that bike. Fast forward 2 years and I can say honestly I was wrong. I actually got certified and teach classes now. The key is not to view it as a ride but more of a cardio session-NOS. It is great for intensity but that being said does not replace time in the saddle. I ride 4 days a week and teach two 45 minute classes per week. Instructor definitely makes or breaks the class . Give it a shot and then decide. Itreally shouldn't hurt during the off season and actually may strengthen other disciplines; it did for me.

Dave


2013-10-09 9:13 PM
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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
Originally posted by rjrankin83

I personally have never gone to a spin class in my life so take this for what it's worth: A buddy of mine went to spin to train for a sprint race series we do locally and attempted to get me to go several times. He swore it would make me faster. Long story short we made a bet his bike splits wouldn't improve over the series and I won. FWIW he did spin only 3 days a week and did no other bike workouts. Oddly enough his run times did get faster (truthfully they couldn't get much slower) which leads me to believe they're a good cardo workout but I don't think anything can substitute for riding outside


Go to a spin class and you'd likely change your tune. Once of the nicest things about spin class is that you can REALLY hammer it, and still be with the group (they aren't going anywhere!) Makes for more motivation to bury yourself, compared to in a typical situation where you might be off the front so fast that you have to wait for everyone if you still intend to ride sort of with people.

You'd love it - go try one out, and ignore any weird jumps or hand motions, and just hammer it when the instructor says hammer. It's very much like doing a Sufferfest video in real life.

I've also found that the instructor quality doesn't matter hugely to me - I bring my own motivation. I just try and find out beforehand what the bulk of the intervals are going to be, and try and max myself out by 60 minutes. Wow hard.

Edited by yazmaster 2013-10-09 9:14 PM
2013-10-09 9:41 PM
in reply to: rjrankin83

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?

i think its amazing how many people on here post about how you to have to train in aero on a TT bike to build the right muscles for triathlon, yes even on your indoor trainer, and how a road bike isn't as good, but now the consensus seems to be that spin classes are an acceptable alternative.

just ride a bike. if you wouldn't ride unless you did spin class then do the spin class. if its a toss up between that and riding a real bike then go ride a real bike.  doing some circular motion with your legs will benefit you over doing none at all.

2013-10-09 9:53 PM
in reply to: yazmaster

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
Originally posted by yazmaster

Originally posted by rjrankin83

I personally have never gone to a spin class in my life so take this for what it's worth: A buddy of mine went to spin to train for a sprint race series we do locally and attempted to get me to go several times. He swore it would make me faster. Long story short we made a bet his bike splits wouldn't improve over the series and I won. FWIW he did spin only 3 days a week and did no other bike workouts. Oddly enough his run times did get faster (truthfully they couldn't get much slower) which leads me to believe they're a good cardo workout but I don't think anything can substitute for riding outside


Go to a spin class and you'd likely change your tune. Once of the nicest things about spin class is that you can REALLY hammer it, and still be with the group (they aren't going anywhere!) Makes for more motivation to bury yourself, compared to in a typical situation where you might be off the front so fast that you have to wait for everyone if you still intend to ride sort of with people.

You'd love it - go try one out, and ignore any weird jumps or hand motions, and just hammer it when the instructor says hammer. It's very much like doing a Sufferfest video in real life.

I've also found that the instructor quality doesn't matter hugely to me - I bring my own motivation. I just try and find out beforehand what the bulk of the intervals are going to be, and try and max myself out by 60 minutes. Wow hard.


Yes but why pay to go to a spin class and neglect my baby? Plus an hour is a short ride right now (even for interval training). I just don't see why I'd pay to sit in a room and ride a stationary when I have my bike and trainer at home (which I also dislike riding and only ride as a last resort). I'll stick to riding outside but will say what I said in the Galloway thread; whatever gets you going do it
2013-10-10 1:19 AM
in reply to: #4874076

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
I do most of my bike training october-march in spin classes. Not enough space for an indoor trainer, and I don't feel comfortable leaving out biking as it is my weak spot. I have a nice gym with a pretty new spinningbikes close to school/home, and I try to get in 2-3 sessions/week. I only go to a couple of instructors classed, mainly instructors who do road biking/triathlons. My ocal tri club also arranges our winter spinning classes at the same gym. Gives me the option of doing longer riders including multiple classes. Atm trying to get in one 3+ hour session a week (trying to get to 4+ during the winter) and a few shorter high intensity sessions. A couple of fellow triathletes train the same way, so I usually have someone to talk to.

The gym is ok with us starting our trainig before the class starts, so I get to pick the saddle and bike for optimal comfort. Another good thing is the option of going for a tradmill run after biking. Usually train in a tri suit, which makes the switch easy.

I know this isn't the best way of training, and I feel it improves running more than biking. Remains to be seen how the longer sets will affect endurance on the road. Knowing that I can step down from the bike and in to the sauna allows me to push myself a lot harder than I dare to on the road, conserning both interval and endurance training.
2013-10-10 2:54 AM
in reply to: #4874224


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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
i had to train with the spinning bike for the first part of the year, and last week i
bought a bike trainer to use at home. the last one is way way better and similates much more riding on tge road. spinning is good if the alternative is not rudiriding at all, it keeps your muscle tone and is a good cardio workout but i think it doesn't help in building or improving. imho


2013-10-10 5:21 AM
in reply to: FranzZemen

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
It's all in how you approach it. If you keep low resistance on the flywheel and do the silly things some instructors do to entertain the participants, such as jumps and pushups on the bars, you'd probably be better off finding the time for your own bike. If you approach it with the mindset that you're there to do a hard interval cycling session, keep the resistance up and modify the session from the instructor's direction where necessary to keep the session focused on being a cycling session, then it's definitely legit training. Set up the bike to approximate your own bike as closely as possible, whether you ride a road bike or tri bike. Try to choose a spin bike under a ceiling fan if possible to help you stay cool. Don't do super fast spinning with minimal resistance. Ride hard!
2013-10-10 7:40 AM
in reply to: Clempson

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
Originally posted by Clempson

i think its amazing how many people on here post about how you to have to train in aero on a TT bike to build the right muscles for triathlon, yes even on your indoor trainer, and how a road bike isn't as good, but now the consensus seems to be that spin classes are an acceptable alternative.

just ride a bike. if you wouldn't ride unless you did spin class then do the spin class. if its a toss up between that and riding a real bike then go ride a real bike.  doing some circular motion with your legs will benefit you over doing none at all.

 

perfect response.  I push myself on the indoor trainer or spin bike to sit in the aero position not for training of my legs but for training of my sholders, arms, and neck....

2013-10-10 7:49 AM
in reply to: FranzZemen

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?

In college I worked at a bike shop. Every few weeks people would come into the shop to pick up clothes, shoes, or cleats. When I would ask where they were riding, I would get a "I'm training for _____ at my gym's spin class." Then, I would invite them to go on one of our weekly rides. It would take a few attempts to get them to ride. But they eventually showed up.

On road rides, they would get dropped. On MTB rides they were hurting and far behind. We weren't elitists and always waited at the end of sprints or trail forks, it just turns out that they weren't training properly. But deep inside we were all laughing our butts off and would scoff at the idea of spin classes.

Now that I'm old and conformant, I finally gave in and started going to spin classes. They don't replace riding for real, but they make for a good workout on rainy days and on my Friday light workout.

Here are my observations on why it doesn't work and how it can help you if you really want to improve. You get what you put into the class. The exercises are the same regardless of your instructor. Some sprints, some climbs, "jumps," and a few combinations of the three in intervals. All of these exercises can help you ride faster and stronger. Some instructors ride at low resistances and that's what the students follow. You've got to realize that those numbers aren't set in stone. If sprinting at a "10" resistance has you spinning 200 RPMs at 120 BPM, you're not pushing yourself. You can easily increase the resistance to meet your goals. When you're climbing at 40 RPMs, you're not pushing hard enough or the resistance is too high. I see a lot of people spinning too fast or climbing too slowly. Since the bikes aren't moving, they aren't aware that in reality they got dropped during the warm up. The students also have the option to get off their bike and quit at any time. That's not gonna fly on the road.

The second problem is actual riding ability. When we would take people out on road rides it wasn't as obvious as on MTB rides, but the signs were still there. The first problem is when it comes to track stands, slowing down (to intersections or obstacles), and all around technique. You don't need balance on a stationary bike. That's a given. But the worst part is that spinning, you don't learn to open your turns, keep your inside pedal up when taking a corner, and how to drink while maintaining a constant pace. Finally, the one skill that can't be emulated at a class (unless your class uses Kinetic Rock n Roll Trainers - I want to go to your class). Spin classes don't teach you how to properly sprint. You see it right away when the first breakaway begins and riders begin to bob up and down like Kevin Costner in American Flyers. Swaying is largely important and doing it correctly will help you ride faster and safer. On the other hand, riding a real bike doesn't prepare you for spinning. On my first class, I managed to almost tip my stationary bike when the instructor told us to do a 3 minute standing sprint. Oops.

2013-10-10 8:04 AM
in reply to: TriGuy05

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
Originally posted by TriGuy05

Originally posted by Clempson

i think its amazing how many people on here post about how you to have to train in aero on a TT bike to build the right muscles for triathlon, yes even on your indoor trainer, and how a road bike isn't as good, but now the consensus seems to be that spin classes are an acceptable alternative.

just ride a bike. if you wouldn't ride unless you did spin class then do the spin class. if its a toss up between that and riding a real bike then go ride a real bike.  doing some circular motion with your legs will benefit you over doing none at all.

 

perfect response.  I push myself on the indoor trainer or spin bike to sit in the aero position not for training of my legs but for training of my sholders, arms, and neck....




+2

Some of you are over thinking things. Work is work. Cycling is a blue collar sport and there is no trick to getting fast. I also don't think most triathletes know how to suffer properly on the bike and spin class might help some with that if they get an instructor who is 'encouraging'. Especially for those who don't have the fortune to ride with fast groups and who are on their own all the time.
2013-10-10 10:49 AM
in reply to: acumenjay

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
I'd say its beneficial in doses. Local spin class instructor at Lifetime Fitness in Cary, NC, named Deshon (David) Davis. He leads a 90-minute spin class every Wednesday morning to a packed house, a 60-minute spin on Tuesday morning, and rides long on the weekend outdoors.

He qualified for Kona '13 at Lake Placid '12, won his AG at IM70.3 Augusta and will be racing IMMT twice next year (70.3 and 140.6). He races Saturday in Kona, and I'll be tracking his day for sure!

So yeah, I think spin class can be a legitimate training tool.


2013-10-10 11:04 AM
in reply to: TriMyBest

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?

Originally posted by TriMyBest It's all in how you approach it. If you keep low resistance on the flywheel and do the silly things some instructors do to entertain the participants, such as jumps and pushups on the bars, you'd probably be better off finding the time for your own bike. If you approach it with the mindset that you're there to do a hard interval cycling session, keep the resistance up and modify the session from the instructor's direction where necessary to keep the session focused on being a cycling session, then it's definitely legit training. Set up the bike to approximate your own bike as closely as possible, whether you ride a road bike or tri bike. Try to choose a spin bike under a ceiling fan if possible to help you stay cool. Don't do super fast spinning with minimal resistance. Ride hard!

This.

Ride hard.

Don't do anything you wouldn't do on a road bike outside.

Formerly the Spinning(R) instructor at the Spinning(R) World Headquarters ...

2013-10-10 11:56 AM
in reply to: vertseven


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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
Originally posted by vertseven

In college I worked at a bike shop. Every few weeks people would come into the shop to pick up clothes, shoes, or cleats. When I would ask where they were riding, I would get a "I'm training for _____ at my gym's spin class." Then, I would invite them to go on one of our weekly rides. It would take a few attempts to get them to ride. But they eventually showed up.

On road rides, they would get dropped. On MTB rides they were hurting and far behind. We weren't elitists and always waited at the end of sprints or trail forks, it just turns out that they weren't training properly. But deep inside we were all laughing our butts off and would scoff at the idea of spin classes.

Now that I'm old and conformant, I finally gave in and started going to spin classes. They don't replace riding for real, but they make for a good workout on rainy days and on my Friday light workout.

Here are my observations on why it doesn't work and how it can help you if you really want to improve. You get what you put into the class. The exercises are the same regardless of your instructor. Some sprints, some climbs, "jumps," and a few combinations of the three in intervals. All of these exercises can help you ride faster and stronger. Some instructors ride at low resistances and that's what the students follow. You've got to realize that those numbers aren't set in stone. If sprinting at a "10" resistance has you spinning 200 RPMs at 120 BPM, you're not pushing yourself. You can easily increase the resistance to meet your goals. When you're climbing at 40 RPMs, you're not pushing hard enough or the resistance is too high. I see a lot of people spinning too fast or climbing too slowly. Since the bikes aren't moving, they aren't aware that in reality they got dropped during the warm up. The students also have the option to get off their bike and quit at any time. That's not gonna fly on the road.

The second problem is actual riding ability. When we would take people out on road rides it wasn't as obvious as on MTB rides, but the signs were still there. The first problem is when it comes to track stands, slowing down (to intersections or obstacles), and all around technique. You don't need balance on a stationary bike. That's a given. But the worst part is that spinning, you don't learn to open your turns, keep your inside pedal up when taking a corner, and how to drink while maintaining a constant pace. Finally, the one skill that can't be emulated at a class (unless your class uses Kinetic Rock n Roll Trainers - I want to go to your class). Spin classes don't teach you how to properly sprint. You see it right away when the first breakaway begins and riders begin to bob up and down like Kevin Costner in American Flyers. Swaying is largely important and doing it correctly will help you ride faster and safer. On the other hand, riding a real bike doesn't prepare you for spinning. On my first class, I managed to almost tip my stationary bike when the instructor told us to do a 3 minute standing sprint. Oops.




I think you're incorrectly generalizing from noob cyclists to experienced cyclists. In general, yes, spin class attendees are typically NOT experienced road or mtn cyclists, so you're dealing with some of the greenest of the green. Not unexpected that you'll drop them in a heartbeat if you take them outdoors on the roads, but that's less a function of spin class being dysfunctional than those riders just being new and not being able to train hard or regularly.

You put an experienced cyclist like me in nothing but spin classes for 4 weeks (I've done that on a trip to DC where I had no bike) and I'll come back put the hammer down on the Cat2-5 local hammerfest group ride no problemo the first day I'm back. as if I've never left hard training.

The bike handling is obviously an issue that you're not going to learn from spin class, but again, it comes back very quickly as long as you've learned it before. As long as you're not taking months off outdoor cycling, you'll be fine within minutes with outdoor handling unless you never were good at it originally.
2013-10-10 12:20 PM
in reply to: FranzZemen

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?

As a long time spin instructor and participant, I'll chime in.

As mentioned before, the spin class does not help me at all with what I call "handling".  There's no navigation of terrain/environment, balance, agility or multi-tasking (like drinking or eating while you ride) involved.

While that's an obvious shortcoming, I also find it to be an advantage.  I can focus 100% of my mental and physical effort on efficiently moving load because I can get into a zone and don't have to think about anything else, not even traffic.

It obviously does not take the place of real riding, nor does it even take the place of riding your own bike on a trainer, especially when working on aero position; however, many people find a class full of people with music and an inspiring leader to be 100 times more motivating than sitting at home alone in the basement, garage, etc. because it's winter here half the year (that's a little dramatic, but you get the picture).  I personally will never ride as hard alone at home in my dungeon on my real bike as I will in group fitness format on the fake-o bike.

Ideally, when I can't ride outside I give time to both the spin bike and the trainer at home.

2013-10-10 12:34 PM
in reply to: yazmaster

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?

Originally posted by yazmaster I think you're incorrectly generalizing from noob cyclists to experienced cyclists. In general, yes, spin class attendees are typically NOT experienced road or mtn cyclists, so you're dealing with some of the greenest of the green. Not unexpected that you'll drop them in a heartbeat if you take them outdoors on the roads, but that's less a function of spin class being dysfunctional than those riders just being new and not being able to train hard or regularly. You put an experienced cyclist like me in nothing but spin classes for 4 weeks (I've done that on a trip to DC where I had no bike) and I'll come back put the hammer down on the Cat2-5 local hammerfest group ride no problemo the first day I'm back. as if I've never left hard training. The bike handling is obviously an issue that you're not going to learn from spin class, but again, it comes back very quickly as long as you've learned it before. As long as you're not taking months off outdoor cycling, you'll be fine within minutes with outdoor handling unless you never were good at it originally.

I agree. My point was entirely about what I've experienced and what I've seen at my class. Keep in mind that as much as I dumped on spin classes, I'm now doing it every week. Which is why I say that it can be beneficial. As long as the student can, in fact, use the class as a training tool opposed as an excuse to hang out and watch some music videos.

2013-10-10 12:42 PM
in reply to: vertseven

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
I like it for all the reasons stated above....but....it's that DANG music that drives me bat-shi# crazy. 


2013-10-10 12:55 PM
in reply to: vertseven

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?

Some of the spin classes at our local ride have a number of road cyclist that attend in the winter months when daylight is limited.  I ride with these cyclist on group rides every now and then.

As stated in some of the above, it depends on the instructor.  I know the cyclist avoid two of the instructors, they were the up down crank it down scream into the mic type.  There are two other instructors that are cyclist and have a totally different class.

Our Y has simple resistance bikes with no feedback, when I would do a few spin classes I would never crank down the resistance where I was pedaling very slow. I haven't done a spin class since I got my trainer over 4 years ago.

2013-10-10 1:07 PM
in reply to: FranzZemen

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
I train in the mornings and my living situation doesn't facilitate a trainer, so I'm in the spin room at the gym 2x/week, usually 2 hours each time. I get there an hour before the class, then ride through the end of the class. I'm lucky in that the bikes have HRMs and power. You don't have to follow the instructor, I'm often just doing my own workout, just to their music. You get out what you put in, and I'd much prefer riding a real bike outdoors, but I don't see why it's not a completely valid way to train.
2013-10-10 3:31 PM
in reply to: NormaJean

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
After years of training, I kind of felt the need to do things a little differently this year...

There's a cycling studio nearby run by a guy who's done RAAM a bunch of times, plus tris of every distance, and he also coaches roadies/triathletes. IOW, a highly knowledgable professional. The facilities are dark and musty, the bikes are not new. It's been the perfect environment to get off of a plateau.

Since I've never done a spin class anywhere else, I don't have much to base comparisons on. But at any given class I'm surrounded by P/1/2 riders so I figure the folks who do know the difference between legit training and not are voting with their presence. I think the takeaway of my post is that, as many other people have already said, you're gonna get out of it what you put in. If there isn't a puddle of sweat on the floor at the end of the hour, I must not have done the workout right..

I am sure about one thing: the group setting + the coach who checks everyone's HRM during the sets and will call out anyone who's not working = workouts that are much, much harder than I would be doing on my own. I go twice a week and these are usually the toughest two hours of the week.

No substitute for being on the bike you're going to race on but you can build up a whole bunch of fitness and speed in a well run spin setting...
2013-10-10 9:13 PM
in reply to: alltom1

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Subject: RE: Spin class as legit training?
Spinning isn't my favorite thing. Indoor cycling (there is a difference) has been greatly beneficial for me

I'm not a fan of cycling like a hamster on crack. And nothing irks me more than to see a spinning instructor bouncing all over the place because s/he is pedalling 100+ RPM

Last winter I belonged to an indoor cycling studio that focused on simulating outdoor cycling. Basically, if you didn't do it outdoors, you didn't do it at the studio. I participated in their Winter Training Program and gained a lot of power, speed, and management of my heart rate. I was in better shape at the beginning of the tri season than I was at the end of the season the year before.

Programs such as Cycling Fusion will help you. Non-focused cycling - like any other discipline - doesn't really have much return on your time investment

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author : Michael
comments : 0
I’m a C-L-Y-D-E-S-D-A-L-E! Many people in the sport know the division is there, but many of them think that it's a 'fat boys division.' So what constitutes a Clydesdale? Why even have this class?