Thursday, January 13, 2011


Cycling outside being minimal and predictable this time of year, I turn to what's happening in spin class, which itself is generally without adventure (some would say boring). Yesterday had a few things out of the ordinary. First off, the Wednesday noon class is usually quite full and with the January influx of folks who made resolutions to get in shape, yesterday was over-full. They do a good job in cutting off the sign-up list at 25 (24 yesterday because we had two instructors), but # 22,23, and 24 found out that all the bikes were taken and were grousing. Our instructor has no tolerance for folks who don't use the sign-up sheet, so once it was determined who the folks were (it took a while because they claimed their bikes then left the room), they were dismissed and the bikes turned over to the signees. First time I had seen that happen.
Ah, two instructors (who could have passed for twins). They were introducing a new choreography and were truly syncronized. Plus, I can tell you now, this workout had me about ten beats higher than the previous classes. One of the regulars brought her brother to class. About ten minutes into it, a loud noise emanated from his bike. His chain had broken. Immediately, sister gave up her bike and departed the class and he readjusted hers and was back pedaling within a minute. I'd never seen, nor heard of, a chain break in class.
At the end of the workout, as we were cooling off, the instructor asked who had heart-rate monitors. Surprisingly, very few of us raised our hands. Me being closest, she asked "how much did you burn?" This is funny. I heard her words but was a tad slow in computing their meaning, and to cover up, I asked her to repeat, while I fathomed her request. I rejected if she were asking about my lactic acid build-up, then realized she was asking about calories burned. When I answered instead that my heart-rate was plus 10, she got her answer from another person: 540. My Garmin counts calories, but the HRM I use in spin class is my old one and I had to wait until I got home to check the manual to see if I mis-remembered how to access that info. Nope, it doesn't count calories.
So, here are the thoughts running through my mind: 1) More folks in class should be using HRMs; 2) Apparently lots of folks, instructor included, gauge their workout by what the computer shows as calories burned (with all that entails in terms of motivation); 3) I never look at the calories burned on my Garmin, and don't intend to start. My gauge is time-in-zone, mostly zone 4.
Seriously, if you ride a bike with some goal in mind, you need to have a measurement of how you are doing. That's why I love my Garmin, it gives me lots of data. While my prime measure is TIZ, I occasionally switch to cadence, and always in the back of my mind is overall time, but that is so dependant on weather and traffic, it is never a good indication of how hard you worked. Only when time-trialing do I look at speed.

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