Some time back, I mentioned how, on Tuesdays, I ride like an Egyptian.
Now, on Thursdays, I’m Making Miles out of Nothing at All:
Thursdays is Eichorn, which is a Trainer Road workout that has the two 20 minute “Sweet Spot” intervals (I don’t know who named them . I’d like to have a long talk with him. Alone.) These intervals are at 90% of FTP (Functional Threshold Power) which is working, but not HARD working.
It can simulate a “tempo” ride, or a long climb. The way to make it a “climb” is to do what Corch Ian had me do – slow down to a cadence around 70 RPM, instead of the 90+ that the text of the workout tells you to do.
(This also has the effect of running at the lowest heart rate for the work load; thus, it’s the LEG MUSCLES that are working hard, rather than the CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM. The idea is that it increases what they call “muscular endurance” rather than cardio endurance).
Okay, that’s all technical stuff – but then comes the important part. How, exactly, does one go twenty minutes of hard effort while maintaining the same tempo? One’s mind wanders. Things hurt. The body wants to do something different – anything different, like pushing on a toothache.
The way I have always regulated this is either by using the Metronome Beats application set at 70 RPM, or I use my Maple music player on one of the Podrunner hour-long mixes – Maple allows one to change the tempo of music. A Podrunner mix at 180 BPM running at .80 tempo (easy to do in Maple) turns out to be right around 70 RPM.
That is, until about six weeks ago.
A month or so ago, my Google Pixel 2 phone did an update. One of the side effects of this update was that it now chimes a chord whenever I plug in the USB C cable to charge the phone.
I believe that this soft piano chime is in G Major.
It sounds exactly like the first, soft, piano chord of “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All“.
This is my Favorite Air Supply song. It was written by Jim Steinman – and if you know your Meatloaf or your Bonnie Tyler, the fact that this is a Jim Steinman song will be immediately apparent as soon as I say it, and you’ll say “Oh, yeah – of course it is!”
At first, I was a mite irritated by this new behavior by my phone. It’s not that I don’t like MLooNaL – it’s that it’s a powerful, persistent earworm. And it would hit me by surprise; I was never ready for it when it happened. I’d plug in the phone, and – CHIME! – and next thing I know, my brain is serving up
I know just how to whisper, and I know just how to cry
I know just how to find the answers and I know just how to lie
I know just when to break through, and I know just when to scheme
I know just when to face the truth, and then I know just when to dream…
….and I would be powerless before the onslaught. Good stuff, but who needs THAT in one’s head while one is trying to pray, or write code, or have a civilized conversation?
But one morning about six weeks ago, I was going to climb on a hotel spin bike in California on a Thursday morning, and when I heard the chime, it suddenly occurred to me that this song seemed to be very close to the tempo that I needed for the Eichorn workout.
I got to the gym and climbed on the bike, got everything set up, and started the song playing over my headphones – and I’ll be darned. The song’s about 5:40 long, and starts in the high 60’s RPM, builds, and finishes in the low 70s. Just perfect for this workout. I put it on “repeat”.
I really enjoyed listening to this song during the workout. And hearing it over and over gives me a slight innoculation against the earworm invasion when I plug in the phone 🙂
But something else happened – the Law of Serendipity took over.
I found that, not only is it a great song (you don’t have to ask or argue about that – it’s a Jim Steinman song) it’s also a great meditation.
With just the simplest, tiniest alterations, this Steinman song can be taken to be about God, and then – suddenly – it becomes a strong, powerful restatement of spiritual principles. It sounds like Isaiah talking to St. Paul. It sounds like A Course in Miracles or Emmett Fox.
It becomes a man boasting of all the things that he can do, and can be – but of his utter humility in the face of the Almighty, and his complete inability to do anything comparable to the creation of Love, and all that Love can do.
The beating of my heart is a drum, and it’s lost
And it’s looking for a rhythm like You.
You can take the darkness from the pit of the night,
And turn it to a beacon burning endlessly bright –
I gotta follow it!
Cause everything I own,
Well it’s nothing
Till I give it to You.
So now, when I’m riding Eichorn, I’m Making Miles Out Of Nothing At All, and singing to my Lord, and smiling really big.