Spinning Profile: The Chaos Ride (Time Ladder Loop)

I rarely provide the backstory for my rides, because it is rarely necessary.  You can take the profile and the music and get on a bike and have a great workout and all is well.  But this ride is unique, and I can’t explain it without telling you how it came to be.

As is true for many great things in my life, this ride was born on accident and took on a life of its own.  It started out neatly structured, well-planned and thought-out:  a circuit ride combined with a time ladder for increasing sustainability and challenging our abilities to work hard without blowing up…

But then I blew up. 

Between leaving work late, almost forgetting my music, picking up a filthy child from school who had to be washed before we could leave the house again, having to make a special trip to get the battery in my heart rate monitor changed, losing my stop watch, and fighting through one of the worst cases of muscle soreness I’ve experienced lately, I’m surprised I even made it to class.  It’s just a long list of random occurences that singularly are no big deal, and even collectively are completely survivable and hardly worth mentioning.  Except I mention them because they threw me into a complete state of mental chaos.  I just wanted to give up.

But that is how life is — a swirly mass of demands to be met and obstacles to be overcome and you never know what life is going to throw at you.  And in a metaphorical sense, it is how workouts can be too.  So instead of fighting it, I rode it and I asked my riders to ride it to. 


The instructions were simple:  no matter what comes your way, no matter how ridiculous or impossible the cue seems, accept it, integrate it, ride it and DONT BLOW UP! 

I started the music and we were on our way.  I made up the terrain as we went along, based loosely on my profile, and in response to what I saw in my riders.   We never attempted anything contraindicated, but I definitely got whackier than my usual by-the-book Spinning Rides.   However, the wacky terrain supported the purpose, which I constantly reminded them was to stick to your guns; learn to overcome obstacles by anchoring on to something positive, something strong that exists inside of you.  I also pointed out that from the moment we arrived on the bike, there was a conflict between what was going on in our minds and what was going on with our bodies.  We have to quiet the mind and focus on the moment if we want to arrive at our destination….

They had no idea how long each movement would last or when recovery would come or what would be next.  I usually overcue what to expect in the ride and how long it will be and how to save up for what’s coming…  Not today.  The not knowing how long was probably the toughest part for them and for me.  After sustaining for a bit, my incredibly sore legs would cry out for a break, and I’d be tempted to switch to a new movement, but that would defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?  To overcome this, I did a lot of coaching off the bike and I kranked for a bit.   And so, the ride was created by observing them.  I encourage you, if you consider using the ride this way that I am describing it, to watch your students and let the terrain unfold organically based on what you see.  For instance, we did a set of jumps that lasted for an entire song.  I almost NEVER do more than 10 or 15 jumps at a time in a class because usually the riders fall apart before then.  But they were so focused, so intent on their purpose, that their jumps kept getting better and better.  Instead of sloughing off, they were going harder and getting to a smoother, more rhythmic place.  And I wasn’t about to let them miss out on this great opportunity!!   And so, they jumped for nearly 3 minutes.  Some took breaks, some slowed down, but they were being smart about it, and it was great.  Watch your students and adapt the terrain to them.

The next night, I subbed a class and did the ride exactly as it was planned.  And it went well too.  This group doesn’t usually get into my rides because I am quite different from their instructor.  However, this ride seemed to win them over and it sounded like they were challenged.  I got good comments after and some said they’d be coming to my class.  We’ll see….  😉

The Profile

The real profile is a circuit combined with a time ladder.  Props to the folks at Pedal-On for once again providing the concept and structure for my class! (I’m pretty sure Monica and Patrick S are my main sources on this one.) The circuit consists of 7 moves:

  • Seated Flat – moderate resistance and cadence (doubles for recovery if needed)
  • Seated Flat – increase resistance and cadence
  • Standing Flat/Run with Resistance
  • Seated Climb
  • Jumps on a Hill
  • Standing Climb
  • Seated Climb

Then, for the time ladder, repeat each loop with movements lasting:

  1. :30
  2. :60
  3. :90
  4. :60
  5. :30

In the first class, I ditched the time ladder portion instantly.  The second night it provided the structure for a great workout!  For the chaos ride though, anything goes.  I did the movements out of order, for as long as necessary, threw in jumps on a flat road, and a big sprint at the end.  I put them on a hill and did some seriously heavy loading.  Whatever the moment called for.  And it was fun!  At least for me…  And a couple of folks who said they loved it as they left. 

The Music

I was a little apathetic about the music as I put it together.  In addition to the chaos of the day yesterday, the days preceeding it were jam packed, and so I wound up at the last minute just tossing a bunch of songs I’ve acquired recently into Mix Meister and had a playlist.   Oddly enough, they worked.  Or, as the moment unfolded, the song was taken into account for the choice of movement, and that worked.  Either way, I realized that some of these are real gems that I will use again.  It is incredibly eclectic, or chaotic if you will…  🙂

View as an iMix in iTunes

That’s it! Have a great ride!

Gaiam.com, Inc


2 thoughts on “Spinning Profile: The Chaos Ride (Time Ladder Loop)

  1. I am so thankful for all the help I am getting from Darcy @ spincycles. She alerted me to your blog. I am getting very inspired by reading this with no intention of using your profile or
    music this week just the basic thought of “going organic” . We spin in a dark room so it is easy to close your eyes, work your plan and not look @ my spinners as much I should. So I am going to take the challenge and feed my class a ride that will be
    more based on what I observe that they might be needing as the class progresses. Thanks for that simple but awesome reminder.

    • It’s great to have you here Mel. I think one of the best things we can do for our riders is be available and able to respond to what we see happening at any moment during a class. Your idea of “going organic” makes a lot of sense, because it allows you and your riders to tap into something deeper on the bike. But, of course, as you observed, when you the instructor get lost in the experience, you might inadvertently “drop” your class. I try to remember that class is not my workout, it is their workout! I’m glad you are here, Mel!

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