Last month I had the great honor to be one of the presenters at the 24-Hour Indoor Cycling Marathon in Kolding, Denmark. I’ve had some pretty cool experiences as a master instructor, first for Spinning®, then for a few other organizations, and then for ICA. It’s no secret that being up on stage in front of a big group is an exciting moment, and I’ve loved every one of my opportunities to do so over the past 16 years, but I have to say, I would put this one in the top 3!
It was truly one of the most amazing events I’ve ever experienced.
Christian de Thurah is the founder of Bike Academy Denmark, an indoor cycling certification in Denmark. He took over management of the 24-hour event a few years ago and has grown it into an incredibly successful and popular event—one of the best in Europe. Christian was visiting the US last summer to meet with the US representative for the display system company iQniter, Donnie McFall, and mentioned he wanted to bring an experienced American instructor to the 24-hour event this year. Donnie (who is an ICA member) said, “Jennifer Sage is your gal!”
Fast forward a few months and voila! I’m on a plane headed to Denmark! (Thanks, Donnie and Christian!!)
Below I’ve included some short clips of my session, as well as a few others, but first, let me tell you a little more about the event and my profile and playlist.
Honestly, I was a little nervous, not knowing the audience…what kind of music do they like? What kind of coaching are they used to? I went through last year’s videos of the event on their Facebook page to get an idea, and was very impressed with the presenters—they were all energetic, charismatic, and engaging; some were funny, some were really enthusiastic. Even though most were in Danish, you can still tell how well someone can connect with their audience—and these presenters were all top notch. But still, my style is so different! I tend to be a lot quieter than most. I want my audience to think; I want to give them something to focus on as I encourage a mind-body connection.
Christian assured me he didn’t want everyone to be the same anyway, and he also told me that everyone in Denmark speaks excellent English, so not to worry at all about a language barrier. So I started collecting possible songs a few months in advance. As I got closer, I put together a profile that would be challenging both physically as well as mentally (although, my hour was the 22nd hour, so killing everyone was not an option!). My playlist, a mix of electronic, downtempo, and indie tracks, includes some of the more impactful songs I loved from some of my favorite WSSC sessions years ago, combined with a few newer tracks. (My profile and playlist can be found below the videos).
Thankfully, I got there with enough time to (sort of) shrug off my jet lag…although my luggage didn’t arrive for a day and a half! (That was just a little bit worrisome since my shoes were in my bag…) This photo below is the day before the event, as they set up the 165 brand-spanking new TechnoGym bikes (which I loved by the way).
This is the day before the event, as they set up the 165 brand-spanking new TechnoGym bikes (which I loved by the way).
Another view from the stage, about an hour before the start of the event, as the teams are finding their bikes:
I met some really great people from several amazing companies! I’ll be telling you more about several of these companies in the coming weeks, but let me introduce you to Donnie McFall (left) and Jurgen Nielsen (right), the CEO of iQniter. (iQniter is the display system that you can see in the videos and photos, displaying the heart rate or power for each bike).
The event started at noon on Saturday and ran until noon on Sunday. My session wasn’t until 9 am on Sunday. On Saturday evening, I rode one hour at the back with Donnie:
But jet lag got the best of me, not to mention I wanted to be rested and sharp for my hour, so I snuck off to my room to try to get some sleep. Excitement made it a little hard to sleep, and I was up way too early, listening to my playlist for the 100th time. Finally, it was time.
Briefly, here was my profile:
Being from Colorado, I told them I loved to climb and would take them on a tour of the mountains. It would be 3 long climbs, with a downhill recovery in between each one. Each climb would be devoted to a different focus, a different emotion that cyclists feel when riding. The first climb was love. The second soul, or spirit. The third, feeling free. Each of the songs reflected those emotions.
This video clip is just as we get to the bottom of the descent after the first climb, and begin the second climb. The song I used for the climb is called Great Spirit (Extended Mix) by Armin Van Buuren and Vini Vici, featuring the Highlight Tribe. I spoke of the Indian belief in the Great Spirit.
This next clip is actually the very beginning of my hour. I use the song Flip Your Mind by Karmadelic. The video misses my introduction to the profile (explained above) and goes right into the first song. I asked them to ride in silence for the first several minutes, as the lyrics of the song has a very important message for them. That message is: the journey is the best part. (You won’t hear me say anything after the first few words).
This is a clip of Lasse Dalby and Christian de Thurah with their two wing-women, Emma and Tine.
This is a much longer clip of several presenters. There’s a little of me starting at 7:30, and you can see Donnie in his CycleLuv t-shirt (shout out to ICA member Iris Kotmel, owner of the CycleLuv Studio in Loudun, VA!!) at 8:00.
For more awesome videos of this amazing event, check out their Facebook page. If you want to be a part of this event next year, make sure to contact them early…it sells out very fast! This was one of the best run indoor cycling events I have ever seen. The sound system and video were flawless. The smoothness of transitions between presenters was polished. The support and food were incredible. While 165 riders can create a lot of heat, and yes it did get warm in there…it was a lot better than some I’ve experienced! The location was perfect, in an arena dedicated to sporting events, including a concession with very good food, and convenient accommodations next door.
My Profile and Playlist