Riding rolling hills on a bicycle can be a thrill, especially when they are short and continuous. Because of this, they translate beautifully into indoor cycling classes. But teaching rolling hills is more than just alternating a climb with a “downhill.” To coach them in an authentic way, it’s important to understand how a cyclist would approach them, how gravity will affect your speed of ascent, and how cyclists take the descent. Then you need to know how to use the energy of the music to define your ups and downs. They are so much fun that your riders will be asking for them by name!
I received a great question recently in the ICA Facebook group from Sarah asking what the difference between a “spin-up” and a “surge” is. We had an Ask the Expert post from 2013 with a similar question from Angela asking, “How exactly do you teach a spin-up? Is it different from a sprint?” So, I have edited the previous article below and updated it with Sarah’s question to help you fully understand what a spin-up is and how to teach one, including referencing a full profile on these drills.
Obsessed with Cycling Drills: Paceline drills are a fantastic way to simulate a group ride or racing scenario such as a Tour de France stage. They are also a fun way to do intervals. You can design an entire profile around this drill, or simply insert a paceline into any profile. You will be surprised how quickly the time passes when you keep your riders engaged in this manner!
This drill is perfect for those who are just learning how to teach with power. It shows your riders very clearly how heart rate response can be very different at different cadences, even when output is the same. This drill may become a “light bulb moment” for your riders and their understanding of how power—and their body—works! For that reason, it may be the most important educational drill in your repertoire.