Thursday, March 25, 2010

Class #49 Cycling Thursday 4:30 p.m. (Heather)

You’d think I would learn but no, due to scheduling reasons I find it necessary to return to the scene of the crime and take ANOTHER cycle class from Heather this week. I’m still recovering from the first one on Monday (see blog for Class #45) and as I saunter into the studio I do my best to show no fear.

Heather’s class is renowned for having a fan (air movement) side and a no fan side and I foolishly wind up on the end that typically goes fan less (I should have known since hardly anyone else is over there). Today, though the vote count tips in favor of turning on the fans on our side and I’m glad for any help I can get…even though Rusty is giving me the evil eye.

Heather tells that we’ll be riding a “century” class. That is, we’re going to ride as if we were trying to do a hundred mile bike race. The idea is to keep the pace high and continually building but never venturing in to “zone 4” (on the exertion chart that’s listed as ‘breathless and uncomfortable’) i.e., “anaerobic”.

Instead we’ll mostly be working in Zone 2 (challenging but comfortable) and Zone 3 (challenging and uncomfortable. Those zone’s also correspond to a percentage of one’s maximum heart rate so Zone 2 = 60-70% and Zone 3 = 70-80%. Lots of people are wearing heart rate monitors, including me, so tracking our work by heart rate is very effective.

By the way, I love the heart rate monitor. It never lies and lets you know exactly how hard you are working. I recommend folks who ride in bike classes and/or do other regular cardio classes or workouts consider getting one. We have the Polar straps and watches available in the Pro Shop. I only use a strap because the bike picks up the heart rate and gives me a read out so I can always see where I am. The watches are cool too and give lots more info but that’s just one more thing for old scatterbrained Pat to keep up with.

Back to class – already in progress. Similar to Monday’s workout, Heather slowly but sure ratchets us up through the zones getting our hearts and legs accustomed to the higher effort level. It’s amazing how at first, 135 beat per minute seems really hard but after getting settled in it becomes much more manageable.

Heather Isbell

I pay close attention today and sure enough we go the first 36 minutes of class without every gearing down – instead it’s a slow increase in gears till we reach a plateau and then the periods of relative work and “rest” comes from speeding up or slowing down our pace as called out by Heather. It’s an effective way to work and today, since I’m a little bit tired, this long steady increase in work seems more palatable to my body than interval training might have.

Like Monday, the last 7 minutes of class require the strongest push and sure enough I find myself hitting my high heart rate in the last two minutes and holding on for dear life. My average heart rate for the class – including the long warm up is 134 bpm. That’s about 81% of my supposed maximum heart rate (220 – age). It’s a good workout and I’m struck again with how adeptly Heather pulls me along with her voice and cueing. She’s a first rate teacher and I see why so many members are drawn to her classes.

Heather’s music selection is also integral to the class. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of it before, most of it is instrumental, but the pulsating guitar and percussion riffs keep me pumping hard. When things get tough it really is helpful to tune into the music and use that rythym to drive the legs and forget about the pain for a moment.

There are about 18 in class today – an even mix of men and women. The $25 gift certificate goes to Cherry Landfair.

Okay, folks that 49 classes meaning tomorrow I hit the big five oh. I can’t get too excited though since that means I still have six oh to go but it is progress!

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