This new quick profile by Elan McAfee will get you thinking while performing descending intervals! Descending intervals are maximal efforts followed by equal rest; each effort is shorter than the one before. For instance, the first interval may be 60 seconds work/60 seconds rest, the next 30 seconds work/30 seconds rest, and the final interval 15 seconds work/15 seconds rest. As the intervals shorten, the goal is to exceed or match the average power of the previous interval.
There are seven blocks of descending intervals, which comes to just over 13 minutes of Zone 6 work. Between each block lies a recovery song, which will be needed to flush the lactate created in the working portions and generally regroup. Do not skimp on these important recoveries—they allow riders to attain the target power in the next set.
During rest intervals, once the breathing is under control, allow riders to stand as needed. In general, the working intervals are seated, although you could offer the option of standing or seated work in the shorter 15- or 20-second work efforts, especially the ones at lower cadences. This adds a little variety and helps to pacify any “movement junkies” in the class.
This is a workout of extremes so make sure to give less experienced riders the opportunity to skip intervals, shorten them, or reduce the working intensity to Zone 4 or 5. After Elan taught this profile, a student described it as “the best and the worst class ever.”