Spinning Classes are for Sissies

Century Road Club Association

Mar 1, 2002
Outside Magazine

DURING HIS 50 YEARS with New York City's oldest cycling club, professional bike racer Lou Maltese established a cantankerous, competitive tone that has lived on at the Century Road Club since his passing. "There's definitely an air of crankiness that we proudly maintain in honor of Lou," says former club president John Eustice. But don't let the gruff facade fool you; the CRC welcomes newcomers and a no-nonsense competitive atmosphere might be exactly what you need.

If you're already a serious cyclist, you're probably a wonk: You know how to diet and how to read a heart-rate monitor; you use the words "lactate threshold" in everyday conversation. What's missing are the intangibles that can make you a better racer. "Cyclists are pack animals," says Eustice. "You have to learn gamesmanship if you want to compete." Trying to develop cycling strategy solo, he adds, "is like trying to learn football by yourself." That's where the CRC comes in. During weekday-morning distance workouts and in weekend interclub races along their six-mile rolling loop in Central Park, you'll glean Tour-level pointers—where to position yourself for a sprint finish or how to get the most out of a draft line—from teammates and coaches every time you straddle the saddle. After a full season, maybe you can replace fitness wonk with sprint champion.
Jump-start the season with head CRC coach Dave Jordan's anaerobic power workout:
1) Start out riding with a dozen cyclists in a pace line at a moderate cadence.
2) After a one-mile warm-up, have a front rider lead the group for a three-minute interval at a "breakaway" pace (about 80 to 95 percent of his maximum heart rate or, for nonfanatics, a pace he feels he could only keep up for about ten minutes).
3) Slow down, rotate someone else to the front, and ride for one minute at a moderate "recovery" pace (60 to 80 percent of MHR).
4) Continue rotating the leader and repeating "work" and "recovery" intervals on both hills and flats. Total workout should be roughly 20 miles, or about an hour of riding.
Contact: (212) 222-8062; www.crca.net