Inspiration & Advice

Sonya Looney Crowned 24-Hour World Champion

The prestigious WEMBO 24 Hour World Championship was hosted in the USA for the first time with locations like Scotland, Italy, and Australia in its past. Weaverville, California hosted the event boasting one of the most challenging 24 hour courses on record. 6 time World Champion Jason English noted, "This was the hardest 24 Hour course I've ever done, and I've won more than 23 of these races! The climbing was extremely difficult."

Sonya Looney has three 24 Hour USA National Champion victories to date, all being in the coed duo or 4-person team format. It was her first attempt at a solo effort for 24 hours. "I always wanted to take a swing at the solo category and I figured the best place to do it would be at World Championships. There were a lot of logistical unknowns going into the race, but I had some great veterans on my side giving me invaluable tips."

The course consisted of roughly 13 mile laps with 1600' of elevation gain per lap. Sonya steadily completed 18 laps with a total of 234 miles and 29,000' of elevation gain. Most of the elevation occurred in the first 3 miles of the course.

The field was extremely competitive with veterans from all over the world. Sonya recalls, "I didn't know what was going to happen. On the first lap, one of the ladies rode away from me on the first climb and I had to be strict with myself and just let her go. I caught her on the downhill and we went back and forth that way for 2 laps. At dusk, both 2nd and 3rd place were a mere 7-9 minutes behind me. I knew that I needed to ride an unwaveringly hard pace through the night with no mistakes. I managed to open up a gap of 32 minutes by dawn. Persistency was key; some laps I gained 2 minutes while others I picked up 5 minutes. I actually had the most fun at night! There's something to riding at your limit following a short tunnel of light. I didn't even need that much caffeine!"


At 11:50 AM, Sonya crossed the finish line claiming her first World Champion victory 50 minutes ahead of 2nd place.  "Everything went right for me and I executed my laps with almost surgical precision.  I was so thankful to have my husband, Matt supporting me in the pit.  It was also his first time supporting me in a race like this and we had to have an organized plan. Of course, there were some things I could have done to be more efficient in the pit, but I could not be happier!   The women charging behind me pushed me to ride at a very high level!  I am happy to say I had no stomach or eye problems like some of the elite men, my equipment was stellar, and my attitude was stronger than my physical state.  That is so important in endurance racing."

WEMBO offers equal payout for both men and women with a $13,000+ USD prize purse paying 10 deep.  The male and female World Champions also receive a free plane ticket and entry fee to the following year's World Championship event.  WEMBO is a leader in setting equal payout and media coverage as a standard in cycling.

Sonya's final thoughts on her season:  "Winning World Championships was a great way to end one of the most tumultuous seasons of my career.  I had some great results with several NUE 100 mile wins including winning the biggest 100 miler in Latin America, winning a 6 day stage race across Patagonia, and a top 4 result at a UCI stage race in Spain with national teams seeking Olympic points. I was off the bike for 6 weeks in the late spring due to knee tendonitis and broke my arm a month after being back on the bike. Those injuries were a major damper on some big plans I had this summer. However, it was breaking my arm that motivated me to register for Worlds!  There is always something positive that comes out of a seemingly disappointing situation!  I'm looking forward to some big Fall rides in BC, honing some of my Enduro skills (hint, hint) and enjoying some local CX races."

5 Reasons To Use A Power Meter To Teach Indoor Classes

5 Reasons To Use A Power Meter To Teach Indoor Classes

By Stages Master Educator Javier Santin

From a few elite pro cyclists in the late ‘80s to indoor cycling studios all over the world, cycling with a power meter has become a standard both indoors and out. Here are the top reasons why teaching indoor cycling with a power meter can bring your classes and your members’ experiences to the next level!

1. A power meter is a source of relevant and objective information. A power meter basically measures how much work the rider is putting into the bike (resistance) and the rate at which that work is being done (cadence). In addition to measuring power in Watts, we also get data about cadence, time, distance, speed and/or calories to use for class planning or member motivation.

2. A power meter is the perfect goal setting tool. Using metrics such as Average Watts, Distance or Cadence gives instructors the ability to set specific goals in class. This keeps riders engaged and committed, giving them a reason to work rather than just a command. Riders can then use those goals as benchmarks to assess their level of improvement week after week.

3. A power meter gives the rider metrics to own the ride. Using metrics in class creates a sense of ownership in our attendees. Power is instantaneous, convenient and easy to understand: the harder you work, the higher your watts. It does not require students to invest in or wear specific equipment. Knowing how hard our riders are working allows them not only to set relevant goals but also to make the right decisions, like when to push a little harder and when to back off.

4. A power meter promotes healthy competition. Beating your Average Watts in four minutes by the third attempt or trying to cover the biggest distance in five minutes are just a few examples of how we can promote a sense of healthy competition in our classes, and not necessarily among the group, but within each individual. Being the best you can be is a much less daunting task when you can objectively assess how good you are!

5. A power meter is the key to class variety. If you keep doing what you always do, you will keep getting the same results you always get. By knowing our riders’ FTP (Functional Threshold Power) values, we get the magic number that allows us to provide classes with different intensities for different goals: Aerobic Capacity, Threshold, HIIT, etc. Providing a variety of training stimuli keeps classes fresh and exciting and the periodization of intensity increases results for everyone.


Javier Santin is a highly experienced international fitness professional with over 20 years of experience in personal training, sales, communication, fitness management and marketing. He has served as a Master Instructor and Educator for renowned international programs including Les Mills and Spinning® throughout Europe and the US. Javier holds a number of certifications in health and fitness such as ACE, AFAA and NASM.
Javier joined Stages Indoor Cycling in 2016 as Key Accounts Manager and International Master Educator. He is excited to be part of bringing the extensive success of the Stages Cycling brand to the indoor market.

Your New Favorite Indoor Ride

INDOOR: Your New Favorite Ride

Designing a class that packs a powerful punch and raises the energy level of the room is an art form unto itself.

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