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  1. #1
    Senior Member cantdrv55's Avatar
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    Are SPIN classes good enough for training to do a metric?

    My goal is to do a fairly flat terrain metric this year. I've been spinning three to four times a week at an hour each time. The classes are grueling (for me anyway). I've also been eating better. I'm wondering if the classes are enough training or do you think I should get out on the road on the weekends. If so, how many miles on Sat and Sun should I ride? The most I've ridden at one time is 42 miles. By the way, I've lost 5 lbs since Jan 1 because of my regimen of spin and cutting out Big Macs.

  2. #2
    sch
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    Spinning is a very good foundation for mid distance riding such as metric
    century but unless you are a cat 2 rider, a metric is going to take you
    4hrs to do, or certainly at least 3 hours. (If you can do it in less
    than three you need to be on the CTS Ultimate program.) If this is a
    one shot ride then just do it, you can certainly do one at your present
    level. If you aspire to a series of such rides, you need to get out on
    the bike for longer rides to see how your crotch and other body parts
    adapt. You need to learn how to keep hydrated and you need to
    learn nutrition: almost all riders will run out of gas well before 60 miles
    (muscle glycogen stores) and you need to fuel up well before the 50 mile
    point, preferable starting by 30mi so you need to find what you can
    tolerate fuelwise. For that length ride a bottle of gatorade or its
    quick stop equivalent is necessary in addition to water. Temperatures
    expected during the ride will have a bearing also, a metric in Minnesota
    in February differs from a Death Valley metric in July. So if a one shot
    stay inside on the weekends and do other stuff, otherwise look into
    some 40-50mi rides on weekends
    at least a month in advance of the projected date.

  3. #3
    Cat WTF
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    Quote Originally Posted by sch
    but unless you are a cat 2 rider, a metric is going to take you
    4hrs to do, or certainly at least 3 hours. (If you can do it in less
    than three you need to be on the CTS Ultimate program.)


    What are you talking about?

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    Cat WTF
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    Think about it. Is an hour of training going to help with a (potentially) 4 hour ride? For a flat metric where there is no time limit and you just want to finish, spending time in the saddle is more important than the intensity that spinning gives. Keep spinning, as it helps your aerobic system, but it's not going to help your endurance.

    Get outside and slowly work up to a ride of 3 hours.

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    They will help you. You will need less time outdoors. But they won't get you all the way there. They don't use all of the secondary muscles that come into play for bike handling, maintaing your posture, etc., or condition you to road shocks and other discomforts of riding for four hours.

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    Pat
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    It depends on your goals and what you mean by spinning. I cycle and take some spin classes. I see people in the classes who look as if they are working hard but are not. Some of them even do a a pot load of classes. Some people are not doing that much in spin classes and others are working hard. It is hard to say what you are doing. You call the classes "grueling" but that depends on your vantage point. Spinning at the proper intensity would be a great way to prepare for a metric.

    Now you have ridden 42 miles and that is an excellent training distance for a metric. The great thing about doing a ride of a certain distance is there is no way to fudge. The main thing is do you think you can go 50% farther.

    Spin classes tend to be short and intense and they keep changing the tempo all the time. Road riding is much more a matter of getting to a certain cruising speed and holding it.

    On the big day, it will be easy to try to push yourself too hard. Take it easy. Ride within yourself. If you get to 50 miles or so and have energy to burn well then let it rip. I would also suggest that you eat some light snacks on the ride (bananas, oranges, and other fruit are all good) and drink frequently. Since this is a first time, I bet they have SAG stops. I would suggest breaking the ride into 3 segments. Stop at mile 20 and 40. Stop briefly. Fill up your water, eat a snack, relieve yourself as necessary and walk around and air out you contact points especially the hinder parts. Do not stop very long otherwise (about 5 - 10 minutes) it will be hard to get going again. Also do not change any basic gear (shoes, shorts, bike fit) the day of the event. Go with what you and your body knows. Good luck and let us know how you did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cantdrv55
    My goal is to do a fairly flat terrain metric this year. I've been spinning three to four times a week at an hour each time. The classes are grueling (for me anyway). I've also been eating better. I'm wondering if the classes are enough training or do you think I should get out on the road on the weekends. If so, how many miles on Sat and Sun should I ride? The most I've ridden at one time is 42 miles. By the way, I've lost 5 lbs since Jan 1 because of my regimen of spin and cutting out Big Macs.
    Congrats on the weight loss.

    Spinning can be good, but I don't think it's enough - you need some longer distance rides. If you're going to ride a metric, you're (likely) talking about spending somewhere in the neighborhood of four hours on your bike. To do that, you need the following:

    1) Experience riding at a 4-hour pace. Spinning makes you used to riding much harder than you want to ride on a longer ride, and it may be too hard at times.
    2) Experience riding hills.
    3) Experience with nutrition and hydration on longer rides...

    So, my advice is to start adding in a weekend ride of two hours, and then work up to a three hour ride. Experiment with eating different foods, and liquid (many people like a good sport drink, but you can get away with water). Weigh yourself before and after your ride to determine if you're drinking enough.

    If you can do a three-hour ride and feel okay at the end, you are ready for a metric. You'll just need to ride a nice steady pace.
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
    199x Lemond Tourmalet, Yellow with fenders (Beast)

    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
    Like climbing? Goto http://www.bicycleclimbs.com

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    Senior Member cantdrv55's Avatar
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    Great advice everybody. I'll start riding more on the weekends to work my way up to 4 hours on the saddle.

  9. #9
    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cat4ever
    Think about it. Is an hour of training going to help with a (potentially) 4 hour ride?
    In a word, probably. An intense 1-hour spin class will improve the aerobic system, and aerobic fitness will determine the pace the OP will be able to maintain over 100k. The better the fitness, the less time in the saddle, and the less chance of suffering.

    Quote Originally Posted by cat4ever
    Keep spinning, as it helps your aerobic system, but it's not going to help your endurance.
    That depends on what's meant by "endurance". If it's the ability to produce a given power output over several hours, then those 1-hour training sessions will be beneficial. But if "endurance" is the ability to be on a bike for several hours without getting a stiff neck and sore lower back, then no, a spin class won't help there. Both types of endurance are important on long rides.
    Managing Director, Undiscovered Country Tours

  10. #10
    Senior Member Houston_Biker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrymorse
    In a word, probably. An intense 1-hour spin class will improve the aerobic system, and aerobic fitness will determine the pace the OP will be able to maintain over 100k. The better the fitness, the less time in the saddle, and the less chance of suffering.
    +1 Best post of the thread. Yes, a spin class will help with a 60 mile ride. A properly taught spin class has 50 minutes of various types of intervals. Intervals will increase your aerobic fitness levels which will be directly transferable to the road. You will be able to hang in faster pacelines, pull for longer periods and maintain the high pace for longer distance. It will not help with various types of fatigue that may come with 50+ mile distances such as hand vibration, saddle, back, neck etc.

    I suggest regular spinning at least 3 times a week for at least 1 hour each. I promise this will prepare you.

  11. #11
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    A buddy of went to spinning classes for about a month and then rode the STP with me in 2 days. Kept up pretty well too. He hurt for a week afterwards

    I do spinning classes during the winter to keep me in shape. 3-5 times a week + a yoga or pilates class.

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Yes, the spinning class will help ... but if you CAN ride outside, I'd strongly recommend doing that too, and gradually building up your distance.

    I'd love to be able to ride outside right now, but the world is covered in snow and ice, and I live in a city that doesn't know how to clean streets. Therefore, I'm training for a brevet series on my trainer, and in March I'll start a spinning class as well.

    My plan is to do the 60 minute spinning class Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a more relaxed 30-90 minutes on Wednesdays ... and then longer, and gradually increasing, distances on the weekends. If I can't get outside in March, I may end up doing some metrics and imperial "centuries" on my trainer. I'm crossing my fingers that I can get outside.

    Well ... back to the bike!!

  13. #13
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, spin-class will help some aspects of doing a metric-century, but not all. As Machka & Terry pointed out, there are other things besides pure fitness and aerobic-strength that needs to be developed as well.

    Stamina, being able to endure suffering for a long time is something that cannot be done 1-hour at a time. Aches & pains and soreness that shows up at 2.5-3 hours will be a new experience for you if you haven't ridden that long. Doesn't matter how many 1-hour spin classes you do, they won't prepare you for this.

    Nutrition and hydration is another component that's not practiced in spin-classes. It's possible to do a metric on a single bagel and 2 bottles of water if you're really fit and you take it easy. But if this is your first one and you do it at spin-class type paces, you'll bonk about 3/4 of the way through. So learn to eat 250-calories and drink 500-750ml of water per hour. You can get both from an energy-drink with electrolytes.

    So try doing a 2-3 hour ride once a week.

  14. #14
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    You can't experience wind, rain, climbing, downhills, pot holes, gravel, flat tires, other riders or traffic in a spin class. Sure it helps get you in condition, but do you think riding a mechanical bull is all one needs to tackle the real thing?
    Last edited by chipcom; 02-12-07 at 11:38 AM.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Sorry spin classes are only good enough training for 88 kilometer rides. However 12k is less than 8 miles, you could walk that part.

  16. #16
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    I started doing spinning last winter and am spinning now. What I've discovered is that I breeze through the classes. I even keep doing higher resistance and/or higher rpms and yet it's not that hard for me. But, when I get out on the road and do those first hills I am slower than everyone. Part of it is that I can't lose that extra 10-15 lbs and part of it is I'm 60 yrs. old and had a layoff from age 52-58. At least I think that's it. Any insights?

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    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    +1

    When I see people on large group rides with "such-and-such spin club" on their jersey, I keep far away from them.

    Some of them have powerful engines, but really poor and dangerous riding habits. You need to do road rides to develop your 360 degree awareness and bike handling skills.



    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    You can't experience wind, rain, climbing, downhills, pot holes, gravel, flat tires, other riders or traffic in a spin class. Sure it helps get you in condition, but do you think riding a mechanical bull is all one needs to tackle the real thing?
    Peter Wang, LCI
    Houston, TX USA

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19
    I started doing spinning last winter and am spinning now. What I've discovered is that I breeze through the classes. I even keep doing higher resistance and/or higher rpms and yet it's not that hard for me. But, when I get out on the road and do those first hills I am slower than everyone. Part of it is that I can't lose that extra 10-15 lbs and part of it is I'm 60 yrs. old and had a layoff from age 52-58. At least I think that's it. Any insights?
    Yes ... I've said it before, and I'll say it again ... trainer riding (and I will include spinning in that too) is EASIER than riding outside. I know, I know ... people will try to tell me (and you) that there are ways to make trainer rides tough, and I'm sure there are ... but they'll never be as tough as riding outside.

    Outside you've got to dodge potholes, fight with traffic, lean against the wind, battle the elements, climb the hills. Outside cycling is often a full-body workout. Inside, you just ride.

    Incredible records for "distance" cycled in 24 hours have been set by cyclists on trainers riding inside ... records which good, fast cyclists riding 24-hour races outside can't come close to touching. That alone tells me that riding the trainer is simply easier.

    There's nothing wrong with riding inside on the trainer or in spinning classes etc. ... it is definitely better than nothing ... but IMO as soon as a cyclist can get his/her bicycle outside on the road, that is the better option. And I can hardly wait till I have that option!!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19
    I started doing spinning last winter and am spinning now. What I've discovered is that I breeze through the classes. I even keep doing higher resistance and/or higher rpms and yet it's not that hard for me. But, when I get out on the road and do those first hills I am slower than everyone. Part of it is that I can't lose that extra 10-15 lbs and part of it is I'm 60 yrs. old and had a layoff from age 52-58. At least I think that's it. Any insights?

    I have found the opposite actually. I went for a ride last week for the first time in months and felt very strong compared to what I was used to do. I was just going all out for about 30 miles at a very rapid pace and it felt great. Part of it could be that I'm down 10lbs Could also be the instructors too.

    Its really what you make of it.

    I also can't wait for the sun to come out more so that I can ride to work and stop going to the spin classes.

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