Music can move you.. Songs for speed

In my previous post, I put forth some suggestions on climbing songs. In this post, I’ll give you a taste of what I play in my classes for faster paced efforts.

In my novel, Wheeler, pro cyclist Loren Mackenzie races against the clock in the Individual Time Trial for the World Championship in Richmond, Virginia. Does she win? Hmm, you’ll have to read the story to discover that, but I will say that true to life, Loren doesn’t win every race she enters. That would just be unrealistic, not to mention boring.

Image copyrighted

The real winner of the Rainbow Jersey in the time trial was Linda Villumsen of New Zealand with a time of 40:29.87. Silver went to Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands at only +2.54 seconds. Bronze went to Lisa Brennauer of Germany, at +5.26 seconds. Those are some slim margins.

As an indoor profile for a class of varying degrees of fitness, a time trial like this would be a test of coaching ability. To keep your riders focused, I didn’t stay on my bike at the front of the room. I roam. To be an effective instructor, you have to engage your riders. While I am on my bike, I give the effort its due, but it’s not my workout. It’s theirs and roaming around the studio, checking in with each rider and giving instruction from the floor, I think it provides the drama of the time trial. You can envision yourself actually there, hearing your coach in your ear.

The course above is far from flat. Just the climb at Governor Street is a 9% grade for 300 meters (although the Mannyunk Wall in Philadelphia’s International Cycling Classic is 14% for 150 meters and they go up 7 times). The 680 meter false flat to the finish is like a slap to the face. And all those corners to blast out of!  It can be done in two 20 minute segments, where the concept of the ‘negative split’ can be explained, where the first effort is intentionally slower than the second. That way, you can use the first 20 minute effort as kind of a warm up.

I have done this profile both in class and alone. I hate it, but I love it. It tests my own ability as a rider, as my limiter is exactly what this course has so much of – quick corners and hard changes in pace. I’m a diesel. I put my head down, settle into the burn and go. Just don’t ask me to stop, then go again repeatedly.  I’ll do it, but I will hate you, hate myself and make everyone regret having ever been born.


Evelyn Stevens, Image: Michael Steele/Getty Images

The music for faster efforts, like the climbing songs I use, has a driving beat and an intense feel. The following are just a few in my library.

This is Gonna Hurt, Sixx:A.M. (Great song for out of the start house)
Acetone, The Crystal Method
Container Park, The Chemical Brothers (Hanna Soundtrack)
The Winter Soldier, Henry Jackman – Captain America, The Winter Soldier Soundtrack
Crush, Pendulum
Stitches, The Product
Full Throttle, Nebula
Stockholm Syndrome, Muse
New Noise, Refused (seriously evil as there are at least 4 major efforts in 5 minutes!!)
Decimate, Brand X Music
Narrow Escape, Celldweller
Metalingus, Alter Bridge
Before I Forget, Slipknot
Battle of One, Thirty Seconds to Mars
Boom, P.O.D.
Battlecry, Celldweller
Broken, The Birthday Massacre (kind of more a climbing song though)
Clutch then Shift, Brian Tyler – Eagle Eye Soundtrack

Along the same lines, there is the concept of a ‘sprint’. Now, friends, this is not a light resistance-Roadrunner legs effort. This is all out, big gear, high RPM effort. The highest watts possible effort for 8-10 seconds at the end of the 2 minute run. This kind of effort requires a very specific kind of song – Enter “Movie Trailer Scores”. These songs have either a build up to the ultimate finish, or several back to back efforts. None is more than 3 minutes in length, perfect for an ending sprint to the finish line.

Tactical Dominance, Jack Trammell
Permeate, Brand X Music
End of it All, Epic Score
Carnage, Xtortion Audio
Bring the Pain, Brand X Music (my personal favorite)
Mosh Pit, Epic Score
Acceleration Point, Danny Cocke
Narrow Escape, Celldweller
Crushing Blow, Jack Trammell
Accelerant, Blue Stahli
Pulsar, Celldweller
Hell Rains Down, Epic Score
Wreak Havoc, Brand X Music
Slay Day, Methodic Doubt Music
Convergence, James Dooley feat. Jack Trammell
The Causeway, Henry Jackman, Winter Soldier Soundtrack
Bleed it Out, Linkin Park
They Hit Without Warning, Epic Score*** I fully suggest taking a listen to this one, not just the snippet on iTunes.

I hope you enjoy the musical selections and maybe download a few for yourself. I will be rewriting the time trial from the 2015 World Championships to include my narrative from the final race of my novel. Well, most of it. 😉

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