28 January 2012

Music and Athletic Performance - The Effects are both Quantifiable and Meaningful

Today was cold again with a biting wind.  I swam last night and will again tonight, and so just took a short ride up and down the river.  I felt like I was battling the cold weather and my bulkier than normal clothes, and slogging along.

Recently I have not been using headphones when I ride, even when on quiet stretches of road in the countryside, but today on the return down the road along the Tamagawa I decided to slip them on to listen to a US National Public Radio news show.  Then, when I was about half way home, I switched to some random songs -- podcasts of "Today's Top Tune" from KCRW Santa Monica.

As the second song started, my pedaling cadence went up and up, and all of a sudden I felt great and wanted to sprint.

The song was a new version of Rodrigo y Gabriela's Diablo Rojo, with a 13-piece orchestra comprised of some of "Havana's finest" musicians, according to the Podcast blurg.  Here is a version from a few years ago without the orchestra ... not as overwhelming or festive as the one on the podcast I heard, but you get the idea:



I had not realized how much I miss riding my bike to music.  There is plenty of evidence that music can influence athletic performance.  I think most of us have felt it.  I know I have -- even when I'm not listening to music while I ride, when I get into a steady rhythm on a climb eventually music will come into my head.  But never have I felt my motivation and performance change as much in an instant as it did today when that up tempo Latin music started.  ...

It makes me almost want to get on the trainer indoors next week.  Almost.

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While I'm embedding videos, I stumbled across this one today -- another cycling promo filmed in my hometown of Portland, this one sponsored by a car company (huh?) .   Anyway, I doubt Portland will look quite this nice when I'm there in February for my framebuilding class, but it does look nice.

3 comments:

Manfred von Holstein said...

I'm sure music helps - if you don't crash like those guitars...

I will never put anything into my ears when I ride or walk. But I do get motivated by watching sports when on a trainer.

TOM said...

David...are you using any special kind of earphones? I tried listening to music while cycling but the extra noise caused by the wind makes the experience rather unenjoyable. Also tried it under my earwarmers but again I get too much noise...

David L. said...

Hi Tom:
The headphones are Audio-Technica CKS55, which are just a cut above basic earphones in price and performance, and do block a bit of wind noice. I was wearing a lightweight balaclava on Saturday, which probably also blocked some wind noise. Still, it is an issue, and of course, the more you block wind noise, the harder it is to hear cars, dogs, etc. ... so most of my cycling to music in Japan will need to be on a quiet rindo or a stationary trainer.