When the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. and NPR starts telling me about a two-day strike which has shut down the country of Greece, I begin to wonder exactly what I’m doing. But at this point, I’m on autopilot. I made the commitment the previous night to get up early for my triumphant return to spin class and without much forethought I consume a Honey Stinger waffle and half a cup of coffee and proceed directly to the local YMCA.
Ah, spin class. (Or as they call it at the Y, “group cycling” which I am sure has something to do with copyright and specific certification. In my vernacular, however, I will continue to call it “spin” class. Deal with it spin people.) I can’t remember the last time I went to a spin class. All of my bike work has been done on my bike either outside or on my trainer. And while I love my bike (it is one of two possessions no one is allowed to touch without express written permission) I have missed spin class.
Through the course of my athletic progression, spin classes were a major step. After I had fallen back in love with cycling, I decided to do a big bike trip. To train, I took spin classes. Lots of spin classes. Tons of spin classes. And while spinning and road cycling are not synonymous, the workouts are usually great and much more entertaining than anything I could come up with on my trainer. There’s a certain amount of accountability in a group and a certain amount of the desire to please authority figures (i.e. the spin instructor) which pushes me just a bit harder than if left to my own devices.
With an hour of cycling on my training plan for the day, a busy work schedule, rain and wind in the forecast and dwindling daylight hours, I decided to take my workout to spin class. I was one of three people in the class at the early hour and the other two folks left early, giving me a one-on-one with the instructor for the last 10 minutes. It all came back to me — the three positions and the resistance knob. I started out slowly, holding back a bit in resistance in favor of cadence. After all it had been some time since I was back in a spin class. I wanted to pace myself. But by the midway point I was upping the intensity. I found my zone of focus again, paying attention to the instructor but tuning out everything else, like the grocery list I started to make in my mind or trying to figure out how to manage my schedule over the next few days.
Back in spin class, it was just me, the bike and the workout.
You’d think I could manufacture that best by myself, but there’s something about the group atmosphere, the accountability, the variability that spin class brings to me. And while I am sure I would have gotten a solid workout while on my bike trainer in the discomfort of my own basement, spin class, well, it kicked my ass.
Hello old friend. I think I’ll be visiting again.