Review – Tri Harder Indoor Cycling Podcasts

Now, dear readers, this is what a spincast should be – good, hard workouts, great music and solid instruction. I did a few of these over the past few days and really, really enjoyed them.

I know there is a huge, huge spinning community out there that loves the motivational instructor, the near-religious fervour of the class, and the personal development that comes out of pushing yourself so hard. As a cyclist, rather than a “spinner,” I prefer workouts with longer intervals, more structure and the kind of efforts that will translate into more specific strength on the road or trail. While I can listen to a Tracy Mallet podcast  and her over-the-top encouragement every once in awhile (my wife, however, just loves her), I prefer a spincast instructor who tells me what to do, and then gets out of the way so I can get on with it.

Jamie Morton is a personal trainer, “triathlon artist” and, from her most recent blog post, a cyclocross racer as well! She clearly knows how to train and how to race, and this comes out in this excellent series of spincasts. It looks like she’s got about six podcasts available (although the numbering goes up to number 26 for some reason) and I downloded two of them (#18 “Rollers” and #3 “Cadence”). In both, she does a super job of working with the music, giving clear instruction on what she wants you to do, and why, and drops in the occassional dig at your efforts. I found myself cursing her a few times when she kept telling me to increase the resistance, while keeping the cadence high. The cadence workout, in particular, was a good refresher in keeping the tempo high even during big efforts. It’s a great workout for this time of year, when you want to get the legs spinning quickly, keep the heart rate in an endurance zone, and work on your form.

Her musical preference is somewhere around the jangly rock, college-alt-indie, with the occasional surprise thrown in (Muse! Hey!). She doesn’t seem to be into electronic, but it’s a nice change from some of the dance-oriented free music podcasts. The quality of the podcasts is very good – my only criticism (and the only thing holding her back from the coveted five star Sufferfest rating (!), would be that her voice-overs could be a bit louder in parts, there is some erratic sound editing in parts, and you can’t seem to get the spincasts in iTunes, so you have to download them from her site and import them into your library. These are minor points, though, and I’ll certainly download the rest of what she’s got available at the site, and hope she produces a few more as it’s looking like a long winter here in Zurich (It sounds like it takes her a long time to produce them – and we at Sufferfest Studios know that all too well, so we’ll be patient)!

Thanks to Roy S. for the tip on Jamie’s podcasts.

  • Jamie

    Thanks for the review! It’s so encouraging to get feedback on the podcasts.

    I’m aware of the editing problems, and honestly it’s usually just exhaustion on my part. After spending 4-5 hours on a podcast, I run out of energy for putting the extra detail into it that really makes it pop. But if I’m gonna demand that my students go above and beyond, guess I should do the same myself, huh?

    The music is what I’ve always used, because that’s what my first spinning instructor used. In podcast context, I figured there were enough techno cycling podcasts out there; I wanted to put together a workout that was to music I would actually listen to.

    The numbers refer to which workout it is in the series of classes I’ve created for my real-life spinning group. I try to choose the best of those to convert to podcasts.

    As to iTunes, I don’t know what the hell is wrong with that scene. I am seriously lacking in some techno-savviness.

    But all this feedback gives me that much more incentive to make it better! Thanks again!

  • David McQuillen

    Hey Jamie, Trust me…I know exactly what you mean about how tiring it is to get one of the podcasts together. The Sufferfest Videos take me around 8-10 hours..but it really is good fun. I’m really looking forward to doing the rest of your workouts and trying some new ones!