I woke up today well rested and ready to get my brick workout in. The weather forecast did not look good at all. I don’t mind running in rain but thunderstorms were likely and I didn’t want to get caught on my bike in a storm. My gym has an 8:30 spin class so I thought I would break in my new Castelli bib riding shorts (love them!) and take the spin class, make a quick change in to shorts and shoes, then hop on a treadmill for a mile or two. The spin bikes at my gym are about as close to a road bike as they can get in order to get the feel of a ride in. I have learned that the instructor really makes the class. Some instructors really make the class feel like you were on a road ride. There are two big screens and a tour de something or other is playing to create the atmosphere. Some instructors make it more of an aerobic class on a bike – up, down, up, down, clap, scream, stretch and repeat. I was not familiar with the instructor for this class on the schedule, so I decided that if it is the aerobic style I will just tune out and ride my ride without jumping around. It may be a good aerobic workout, but I have yet to see cyclist on the Tour de France do anything close to the up, down, clap, scream routine unless they just crossed the finish in Paris.
I got to the class early to warm up and a different instructor walks in. I have never had his class either, but I had heard he does more of the road riding style. Then he says today is a hill climbing day. Oh joy – hills! I ride them regularly from home, no reprieve today. Well within the first 20 minutes I tuned out and road my own ride. I would say it was a hybrid road/aerobic class. He did the clapping and stretching after every song. I don’t clap on a bike and every four minutes is not enough for me to need to stretch. There was a lot of riding out of the saddle, a lot I must stress. With all of the climbing I do, I rarely ride out of the saddle. I am not complaining about his choice of riding out of the saddle, I chose not to because I find I am more efficient climbing in the saddle. I was a bit concerned that he rarely had the class at a level where the rpm’s (rotations per minute) were under 70 when out of the saddle. I get out of the saddle when it is so steep I can not get the power I need in the saddle. At that point I am at best pushing 50 rpm’s. What I did have an issue with was much of his out of the saddle riding he had the class bent over and riding in the aero position. This restricts the ability to breath effectively. I can close my eyes and picture Lance Armstrong climbing in and out of the saddle, his arms set wide and his chest broad to get as much oxygen in. It bothered me enough that I even researched it, an article from Triathlete magazine addressed in or out of the saddle riding. It said there is not much difference basically in speed in or out of the saddle. In the saddle generally is less taxing and out can stretch the thighs a bit. I couldn’t find anything about riding out of the saddle bent over. That just doesn’t make sense to me.
After my class I made the quick change and jumped on the treadmill. I ran 1.4 miles and I liked my pace. I tend to run faster off the bike and that I don’t mind at all. I chose 1.4 miles because it rounds out my mileage year to date to a whole number and even the music on my iPod couldn’t cut the boredom. In the end I had a good workout and I am getting my legs used to running off the bike. But one thing is for sure – nothing beats riding and running outside. There will be days when I will have to ride and/or run inside, but if I have the choice, I prefer the road.