Training for RAGBRAI: Spin Yourself Into Shape
If you are like those of us here in Iowa, we are snowbound. According to the Groundhog, there will be six more weeks of winter. If that’s all we have, I’ll be happy. But that doesn’t mean we put off getting ready for RAGBRAI.
Spin classes are an excellent way to stay or get into riding shape during the winter, or anytime for that matter. There are a few features about spin classes that make them good for cycling. First, spin bikes have a large heavy flywheel that you pedal. Once you get that up to speed, it creates momentum and riding a spin bike kind of feels like you are really riding outside. Just remember that spin bikes can’t coast so you need to keep your feet moving, another good feature. Also, most spin classes are led by an instructor who will talk you through a ride, have you mix riding faster with slower, climbing hills by cranking up the resistance, both sitting and standing on the bike. Most classes are 1 hour and you will work hard. One nice thing about spin classes is that you can work at your own level. You are in control of the level of resistance you are pedaling, and no one else knows (or cares) how hard you are working.
If you can’t get out and ride, spin classes are a pretty good alternative. For an hour class, you will gain a lot of cardiovascular benefit. I know of people who pretty much rely on spin classes to keep them in riding shape during the winter, and it shows come spring.
Coach David Ertl
David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Coach and owner of Cyclesport Coaching (www.CyclesportCoaching.com) . He coaches individual cyclists, the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and the JDRF Greater Iowa Chapter for the Ride to Cure Diabetes. He can be contacted at Coach@CyclesportCoaching.com.