Profile: End-of-Summer/Back-to-School Rolling Hills

I taught this class this morning and it was so much fun! Everyone enjoyed the music and the workout so I’m teaching it again on Saturday in a class I’m subbing. It’s a theme ride you can use for the next few weeks as your riders start returning to the gym after vacation and sending their kids (or grandkids) off to college or getting them settled into elementary or high school, so get on it soon!

I am teaching at a club that recently installed the Stages Studio system. They upgraded to the Stages bikes at the beginning of the summer but members are new to training with power. It’s a really big change for everyone! (I’ll be talking about that in an upcoming article.) We include a 3-minute FTP test at the beginning of every class so the system can estimate an FTP for them to use for that ride. (More on that in a moment.)

I had been promising my riders a theme ride soon, especially since the past month has been about introducing them to the concept of power, FTP, accountability, and so on. I wanted to show them we could have some fun with the music—not everything is about tech and power!

Well, this morning I pulled it off—I showed them we could have a lot of fun while working hard and still staying focused on the output. 

In my ride, I also added some of the fun questions that Billy Coburn asks in his profile “Back to School For One More Day.” It made the ride interactive and got a lot of giggles. I admitted to my class that I was definitely a teacher’s pet and that I NEVER went to the principle’s office!

Since this is a quick post of a profile I created last night and I want to give it to you right away, it’s only in the Express Profile format (Excel/PDF). Also, I left the 3-minute FTP test in there. Most of you reading this don’t do these types of tests so let me tell you how to modify the profile. (If you do have the Stages Flight or Stages Studio, or even ICG bikes or other power-based bikes where you do an FTP test early in the ride, you’re going to be extra excited about this profile because you can use it as is!) 

[Side note: I would prefer not to have to push riders this hard this early in a ride—though I do provide a 9- to 10-minute warm-up before the test—but I also understand how it is needed with a power-based system like this that projects power targets on the screen. Riders need to have some wattage baseline to work with, and often the 20-minute FTP tests are too hard for many riders. Hopefully, at some point, most of our riders will have done an FTP test and we will only have to include them sporadically. I’ll cover this challenge in a separate article.]

If you don’t do a 3-minute FTP test in your classes, I do not recommend that you go this hard this early—there is no need. You can remove the 3.5-minute song I use for the test, “High School Never Ends,” and the short 2-minute easy song just before it, “B True 2 Your School.” That would make this a 55-minute profile. Or, if you prefer, just take out the recovery song and use the FTP song as a moderate fast climb (it’s 80 rpm), standing on the chorus if desired. Then proceed with the rest of the profile as is.

What is the profile objective? It is a series of fast flat segments followed by a climb. Sometimes the climb is harder, other times the flat road is harder. 

The songs are a collection of tracks about going back to or being in school, plus a few songs about the end of summer. (And yes, of course, I use the song “September”!) I even threw in two songs about “working for it,” and told my riders the following: “So your kids or grandkids—or maybe just your neighbors if you don’t have kids—are all back in school now. It’s time for us all, you and me included, to get back to work and get to the gym! So let’s get down to business!”

If you want to change out some of the songs, check out our Back-to-School bucket playlist for endless options.

Below is what my profile looks like in the Stages Studio system. 

The colors correspond to the following zones and sensations of effort:
Blue: Zone 1, easy. Warm-up, recovery, cool-down.
Green: Zone 2, somewhat easy. A step up in the warm-up. Endurance.
Yellow: Zone 3, moderate.
Orange: Zone 4, hard. Where FTP resides.
Red: Zone 5, very hard. VO2 max.
Maroon: Zone 6, very, very hard. Anaerobic capacity.
(I did not use purple in this profile, which is Zone 7, maximal effort.)

Download the Express Profile below (Excel or PDF)

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