By Wattbike ambassador and top triathlete Lucy Gossage.
Once a week I run a Wattbike class at Ethos hot yoga in Cambridge. If I’m honest, every Friday afternoon my heart sinks at the thought of doing this. I’ve usually done a big session myself earlier in the day and generally feel much more like sitting on the sofa like a sloth than cycling into town to watch other people cycling. Yet every Friday evening, I ride back energized and motivated with a real buzz from helping a group of recreational cyclists to work as hard as possible in a group setting. Even recently, when the sun has been shining and it’s glorious outside the regulars keep turning up, week in week out, for their Friday ‘power hour of pain’ after work.
I tend to base the sessions around slightly shorter versions of sessions I do myself. On paper they sound easy. In practice – well the only easy bit is the few minutes easy spinning at the start. Anyone who thinks it’s hard to empty the tank on the bike in an hour should think again…. Particularly when you’re in a group setting and everyone around you is pushing themselves to their limits.
Most of the group has done their 20-minute tests so know their numbers and once you know your numbers there is nowhere to hide in a Wattbike class. Particularly with the instructor prowling around the room looking at their screens. If I’m feeling really mean I make them restart their bikes at the start of any longer intervals so they can see exactly what they’ve held for each lap. Seeing the average watts fall or rise during the interval is a real motivator and combining target numbers with the powers of group motivation makes for a true smashfest of a session. I honestly find it inspiring seeing how hard they work together. And often, when I’m sitting on the Wattbike myself, I think back to the last class I ran and tell myself ‘If they can do it so can I’.
This weeks session consisted of:
- A main set of 20 minutes (40 x 20 seconds at 10% above 20 minute power, 10 seconds off)
- A 5 minute break
- Followed by 5 minutes at 20 minute power.
Some of them found the final 5 minutes strangely easy so next week we’re going to redo the 20 minute tests. I’m fairly confident most of them will be at least 10% better than the last time they tested…. Now I just need to talk them into donning some running shoes at the end of each session and entering a triathlon. Except - I’ve already done that….