Profile: In Celebration of Guitars, Fast Flats to Varied Long Climbs

Earlier this month we announced that April is International Guitar Month. I posted some of my favorite guitar songs plus two bucket playlists in this Theme Ride Thursday article. The two playlists are filled with songs that have famous guitar licks and acoustic guitar songs that work great in the cycling studio; together they have over 370 song options for you to choose from.

I then went about preparing my own profile, and I’ll be honest—it was very hard to do because there are so many great guitar tracks…I wanted to use all of them! I leaned towards shorter songs simply so I could fit in more of them. The profile was a big hit and my riders loved the playlist—some of them mentioned some rock songs with famous guitar riffs that were missing such as Free Bird and Stairway to Heaven. I joked with them that I could draw from this theme and not repeat a song for the next month.

(That gave me the idea to create another profile using famous longer songs with amazing guitar segments such as Free Bird, Purple Rain, Stairway to Heaven, and others. I imagine that profile will be a series of long, introspective climbs. When I do create that profile, I’ll be sure to let you know about it! It won’t be for International Guitar Month, but hey, we can celebrate great guitar playing year-round, right?!)

The 60-minute profile consists of four working segments with a fast flat leading to a climb, primarily in Zone 3 (yellow/moderate) to Zone 4 (orange/hard) with a few very hard poses to Zone 5 (red/very hard). The final segment is an 8.5-minute climb with a finale the class is sure to remember. 

Download the Express Profile below. I give you suggestions on how to shorten the ride if needed. You can use the two bucket list playlists in the Theme Ride Thursday post linked to above to find alternative tracks. If you have an alternate favorite guitar song you used in this profile that you want to share, please leave it in the comments.

A Celebration of Guitars (PDF and Excel)


  1. I’m confused. In looking at the section of work that begins with I Love Rock & Roll, and ends with Authority Song. It’s about 9:00 long, Z3/4/5. At the end, there is a recovery of about 2:00, before the intensity climbs again to Z3. That doesn’t seem like nearly enough time to fully recover. Is part of the point of the ride to go back to work before fully recovering? I get that Z3 is moderate, but it isn’t recovery. I have very strong riders, who I know very well, and if I told them to go back to work after 2 minutes of recovery from work of that intensity/length, they’d laugh at me.

    1. Author

      Hey Nina,

      It’s a challenging class but for a mostly Z3/Z4 effort in that second segment, I don’t believe it’s lacking recovery given it doesn’t spend much time (less than 40 seconds) above threshold. That said, in that second recovery song, it might have been better had I said to increase to Z2 at 2:10 instead of Z3 (which would provide one more minute of fairly easy effort), but still, 9 minutes in those zones, even with a short push to Z5 is attainable for strong riders without having to take too much time recovering afterward…but as you know, every profile should offer options.

      You can see in the image of the ride, the second block of work is mostly Z3 (yellow) with some Z4 (orange)—that’s moderate to hard. Remember that most of Zone 4 is sub-threshold (it’s 91–106% of FTP, so 2/3 of Z4 is below FTP), so you could be doing all of the Z4 work below threshold if needed, and that little bit of red in Z5 (37 seconds) is hard but not overwhelming and not close to breathless.

      An outdoor cyclist might encounter that kind of effort on a long climb for 30 to 45 minutes or even an hour or more without recovery—unless they choose to stop and rest! (I say that from experience, living in the mountains and climbing mountains of 5–10 miles in length, or 1–2 hours.)

      It’s when you start spending more time above threshold or when you get breathless that you need longer recovery. Not that you don’t need to rest in a profile like this; I always suggest my riders take more recovery if needed. (They always know they can sit something out, too).

      I used Stages Studio for this workout depiction and unfortunately, they don’t calculate the TSS (Training Stress Score); I wish it did. I also use Intelligent Cycling which does calculate TSS; maybe I’ll upload it to IC and see what the TSS is but I don’t think it’s a super hard class. It’s certainly not an easy ride, especially the final two blocks (and especially that final song!), but I would guess the TSS is in the mid-60s, maybe at the most, 70. That’s challenging but not overwhelming.

      I appreciate the feedback and may redo the profile with that second recovery having an initial increase to Z2 instead of Z3 after 2 minutes. I could also add a caveat in the description for instructors to offer their riders the option to recover longer before starting the next segment if needed.

      I taught this ride twice last year before putting it up on ICA. I’m especially careful to make sure I have sufficient recovery if I am going to put it out there on ICA.

  2. This was a great profile & ride! Very well received, thank you ????

  3. Can’t wait for this one! It looks and sounds awesome! Thank you Jennifer!

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