- Testing the power threshold on Bend's spin scene. : Testing the power threshold on Bend's spin scene.
FAST FREDDY'S FAN CLUB
After being hit by a car on Labor Day, I decided to become a regular in Fred Boos' spin class at the Athletic Club of Bend. I promptly received the nickname "Hood Ornament" from the gregarious and entertaining former pro cyclist. Today, Fred is a successful entrepreneur and family man, but I remember him as Fast Freddy from his early days as a racer in California in the 1980s and on the U.S. National squad. Fred won two national road racing championships and a silver medal in the 1992 Olympic Cycling Trials. He spent a decade riding in the pro peloton and he likes to refer to those days before the proliferation of helmets and AIDS as a time "when cycling was dangerous and sex was safe."
Fred peppers his spin classes with stories about Belgian cobblestones and Spring Classics, Greg and Lance, doping and team tactics. He rides a special $4,000 spin bike like the one Floyd Landis trained on and jokes about the built-in testosterone injector. He provides running commentary on Lance's return to racing and the politics of Astana as the drama of a team made of stars unfolds. His surprise pick for the 2009 Tour is Belgian rider Andy Schleck. He plans to entice Chris Horner into class someday with a $100 gift certificate to Taco Bell. And, just as the going gets tough, he eggs his class full of fans into turning up the dial with his favorite phrase, "Are you a star or a water carrier?" Fred also has an extreme fondness for AC/DC.
I've been doing what I call "Freddy Doubles" twice a week: two back-to-back hour-long spin classes with Fred. One day last week, Fred was filling in for another instructor and taught three classes in a row. I made the impetuous decision to attempt a "Freddy Triple," just for the heck of it. Thankfully, we weren't climbing Mont Ventoux that day (one of Fred's favorites), which involves riding out of the saddle for the whole class. I did, however, have to endure the same imaginary climb with Alberto Contador three times and pretend to outsprint former World Champion Thomas Boonen three times too. The only reason I survived the three and a half hours, I think, is because Fred had his wisdom teeth pulled the day before, and he was pretty mellowed out on a large dose of vicodin. It was hard, but the hardest part was probably hearing "Back in Black" at 100 decibels three times before 10am.
THE "HOUR OF POWER" WITH BART BOWEN
As muscly and gabby as Fast Freddy is, Bart Bowen is diminutive and mild-mannered. Fred really has a sprinter's body while Bart is the quintessential climber, a Marco Pantani twin. Bart Bowen, the founder and director of Carpe Diem Coaching, is a two-time U.S. Pro Road Race Champion (1992 and 1997) and retired professional cyclocross and mountain bike racer.
Where do spin instructors go to get a workout? Fred goes to Bart's indoor cycling classes at the Rebound Sports Performance Lab and thinks very highly of the scientific approach.
I decided to try it out. Bart's class is the "hour of power." You can talk all day about heart rate training zones and blood lactates, but the true bottom line is power output. In Bart's class, you ride your own bike, hooked up to a Computrainer that controls your workload. Up to eight riders go through the workout together, with the wattage each cyclist generates projected on a screen in the front of the room. That sounds like a recipe for competition, but each cyclist is working at the same percentage of his or her own personal threshold power output. That doesn't mean I wasn't trying futilely to keep up with Lori Thomason, who was pushing 192 watts next to me while I was only at 185. Each rider's goal is to eventually increase the power at threshold, which of course translates into a faster TT at PPP.
Bart can provide customized training programs and, on a final note, he plays Jack Johnson on Pandora Radio during his workouts. With so many great indoor cycling workouts to choose from in this town, sometimes you just have to go with the best tunes.