9/11/15: Training Ride: 5:30 a.m., 1 Hour Spin, New York Sports Club, and Music!

The NYC Century is this Sunday! As I previously wrote, this will be my first bike tour and my first century ride, so I’m really excited for it. And now it’s less than 48 hours away!

Routes of the NYC Century

Routes of the NYC Century. The orange route is the century loop.

I wanted to ride one more time before the Century and, considering the possibility of rain this morning (although the forecast has been changing constantly), I decided to hop on one of the freestanding spin bikes at my gym. The Spinning bikes, in my opinion, stand in well for the real thing, and I can even ride them with my bike shoes and SPD clips. I rode for one hour, incorporating a 15-minute warm-up and 10-12 minute cool-down. I base my maximum heart rate for cycling on the Maffetone 180 Formula but, like many Maffetone practicioners (ctrl+f “5-8 beats lower”), lower my aerobic heart rate zone while on the bike due to the perceived exertion (ctrl+f “perceived exertion”) of the activity. I, like others, find it much harder to cycle in the 134-144 heart rate zone at which I run: It feels like I’m sprinting.

I definitely skimped on pre-workout nutrition, eating only a scoop of peanut butter and drinking some water before and during the workout. Not the nutrition on which dreams are made.

Good workout overall. Spinning is just different from riding outside. It’s easier because you control the resistance, and can lower it whenever you want, unlike outside when you take the road as it comes. It’s also harder because you have to pedal constantly, unlike outside where you can recover on the downhills. I needed the full 15-minute warm-up to get my heart rate up to 125 beats per minute, and it took another 15 minutes to crack 130. Despite this, I felt the burn and had to push through some mental blocks (“You should just do a half hour;” “This is too much intensity;” “You should have risked the rain and gone outside.”). Glad I pushed through!

I’ll hit the weight room later today to do my core and upper body workouts. Tomorrow is a 15-16 mile long run early, followed by the rest of the day off my feet and making sure my bike is ready to fly through the streets of NYC!

Riding the spin bike is one of the rare times I listen to music during my workout. This morning I listened to 311’s 1995 “self-titled” release, a/k/a “The Blue Album.” I first heard 311 when I was 11 or 12, when “Down” was the number one song on alternative rock stations. That song just got me. Not the lyrics (I’ve never been too concerned with lyrical content), but rather the beat, the buoyant nature of the tune, and the uptempo, positive vibe. Often near the end of a race, when I need to give myself an extra mental push, I will play “Down” in my head, and it distracts my brain from any pain or fatigue. Interestingly enough, “Down” clocks in at 175-180 beats per minute, which is around the ideal running cadence of 180 footfalls per minute. Coincidence that I identified so much with this song? You can be the judge.

This album has been with me for almost 20 years, and continues to keep me moving!

Blue Album cover. This album has been with me for almost 20 years, and continues to keep me moving!

The rest of the album has its moments. “Jackolantern’s Weather,” “All Mixed Up,” “Purpose,” “Loco,” “Sweet,” and “T&P Combo” really do it for me. “Brodels,” on the other hand, probably should have died in the studio, and “Gap,” a later-released b-side from the record, should definitely have made the cut. But I digress. I could talk 311 for hours, and nobody wants that.

Once that album ended (about 40 minutes), I popped on Fear Nuttin’ Band’s “Rule the World.” I recently thought about this song after not thinking about the band since college. I don’t even remember when I first saw them, but they have a funny setup, fronted by two Jamaicans and backed by a tattooed hardcore outfit. The music tends to the extremes of traditional reggae and metal, whereas 311’s innovation was creating a unique blend of the two (and then sticking with that blend for the next 20+ years). It’s not even that I like the song that much. It reminds me of growing up, and I suppose it helps me remember my roots.

And finally, I bounced along to “Decoration” by the Early November. I first heard this song when my sister and I got a sampler CD from the record label Fueled by Ramen at a show probably 12-14 years ago. CD samplers often contain songs ranging from mediocre to abysmal, but this particular sampler had some true gems, such as this song. It’s hard rocking and just emo enough to evoke nostalgia.

I know you’re thinking it, and it’s true: I sometimes have the musical taste of a 13-year-old boy. As I’ve said before, I’m OK with that.

As I type this, the sun is shining through my train window and the sky is a gorgeous periwinkle. So much for rain. Seriously, how do weather forecasters keep their jobs?

Happy running, everyone!

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