If your cycling participants spend more time gazing at the clock than they do “shifting gears,” you’ll love this class. The Cycle Diversion format doesn’t give them time to be bored. This class is broken down into three segments to stimulate participants’ imagination, challenge them physically and keep them on their toes.

Cycle Diversion Details

Format: cross-training (mix of timed intervals, competitive racing, climbing and tempo riding)

Total Time: approximately 60 minutes

Equipment needed: indoor bicycles

Music: suggestions offered (see chart)

Intensity Monitoring:

Zone 1: warm-up/cool-down
RPE 0–5 HRR 55%–65%

Zone 2: aerobic

RPE 5–6 HRR 65%–75%

Zone 3: aerobic/anaerobic

RPE 6–8 HRR 75%–85%

Zone 4: breathless/not max

RPE 9 HRR 85%–90%

Source: The Nautilus Institute.
RPE = rating of perceived exertion; HRR = heart rate reserve.

Ask the following three questions continually throughout class. These questions ensure that participants know what your expectations are and that everyone gets a better workout:

  • What’s the goal?
  • How long will it (the drill) last?
  • How should it feel?

Set 1: Timed Intervals
(17 minutes)

Start with a warm-up that lasts about 6 minutes, and introduce 30-second timed intervals. Increase intensity slightly by adding more gear. Follow each 30-second segment with a 60-second recovery (back to the previous zone). After 6 minutes, progress the intervals to a longer work period at a higher intensity with a 1:1 ratio. Finish the intervals with a 2:1 ratio (see chart).

Set 2: Sprinting Flat Intervals/Climbing
(21 minutes)

Pitch the following visualization scenario and coaching cue to class (see chart for more details): “You’re riding to an off-road mountain biking trail to try and track down a friend you were supposed to meet and ride with after work. You find an open section in the woods where people ride a loop to work on strength and speed. Mostly it is single track, but there are a few areas of double track. It is on these stretches that you encounter each of the three people you are going to pass. On the third try, you find your friend.

“These intervals are very intense, compact and over within 3 minutes. This breathless work is challenging and very uncomfortable; therefore, you will have more than 2 minutes to actively recover before the next segment of tougher work. As you leave the woods, you ride with your friend across an open field toward a low mountain range. Your friend pulls first, sprinting to get around the base of the mountain so you can start the climb. You alternate pulling until you get to the mountain trail. The trail goes straight up and challenges your strength. You will gear up periodically throughout the climb.”

Note: Gearing up will help participants slow down. Cadence control is crucial here.

Set 3: Tempo Ride
(19 minutes)

Loosely defined, a tempo ride uses a pace and a gear that help riders build strength in long-distance endurance rides. The intensity is tough enough to keep participants just over where they would consider themselves comfortable, without using so much gear that they become anaerobic (breathless). Finding the right gear is a process of trial and error. As a coach, you will dictate the cadence (70–80 revolutions per minute, or rpm) and then cue riders to take the entire 11-minute set to find the right gear for them (see chart for more details). Your descriptive cuing is key to their success. This is a great associative set, one where participants will become very much in touch with their heart rate, muscular fatigue, breathing rate and body mechanics on the bike. Don’t forget the cool-down, which is 3 minutes on the bike with a 5-minute stretch off the bike. Be sure to include the following stretches: hamstrings, hip/glute figure-4 stretch, quadriceps, chest and calves.