It was one of those invites that while happy to receive; my response was apprehensive. However, when my friend assumed a spin class would be a good challenge for us, I knew I had to partake. The half-marathon I ran while living in Australia was my peak of physical exertion and since then, I’ve had moments of equal diligence to my exercise regimen, but others when I have not been as faithful. Coming off of a busy summer and fall, my lifestyle reflected the latter.
I knew spin classes are not for the weak of heart and demand utmost endurance. The instructor’s bodies are pure inspiration, this being illustrated when I registered for the cycle class online and perused the profile page of several. I reserved a bike near my friends and luckily we only had a couple days before our trial class, so as to not spend too much time fretting the 45 minutes of pure exhaustion.
An engrossing anxiety cast its shadow the morning of the class. Seemingly silly, I reminded myself there is always an exit door. Soon enough, I dropped off little man at school and my friend and I had about an hour to kill before the class. Due to an inaccurate GPS, meandering Lake Oswego caused a five-minute late start. Fine by me – that’s five minutes less of blazing muscles.
Running in, the welcoming women behind the desk calmly got our shoes. I threw them on, only to realize their floor and my inability to walk in those fancy bike shoes was like Bambi taking to ice. Arms extended and carefully placing one foot in front of the other, I delicately hurried to the room. Confused as to why the woman escorting me grabbed a flashlight, I just went with the flow.
She slowly opened the door and with her flashlight and led me to my bike in the pitch dark. The intensity of the music made me recall a Saturday night in my 20’s. Confused of whether I entered a club or a workout class, her head to my head was quite intimate as she tried to make herself audible over the blaring tunes, giving directions of how to clip into the bike and adjust the seat height. As soon as I sat down she was gone. I looked at my friend to give her a look of “what did we just get ourselves into?” but I was at a loss for eye contact because of the dark.
As the music matched my personal workout playlist – but better, I instantly zeroed in on ramping up my stamina. The dim spotlight on the instructor allowed us to follow her movements. Initially struggling, I finally fell into a rhythm. We were running, squatting, doing crunches, lifting weights and push-ups on the bike, all of which, I didn’t know were possible. With each evolution of the pedals, my normal skepticism of a yelling spin instructor was quelled as her words bared my tenacity. Inspirational words were bellowed with conviction to cyclists who were students, business owners and MOTHERS. Her encouragement made me pedal faster and harder, cranking the resistance with the front knob. My motivation peaked and I gave it my all. The coach bounced from her bike to walking the floor, hindering us from taking even a quick pause.
Not a clock in sight, my discomfort in not knowing my countdown until the end of class turned to glee when I realized that we reached the final cool-down. That familiar workout high was on fire and it left me feeling confident and empowered.
However, not able to unclip from the bike, a panicked claustrophobia overtook me. Finally, a kind woman came to my rescue. As I dismounted, my legs and arms burned from tight muscles and I unwieldly balanced my stiff limbs while walking in those slick bike shoes. However, thrilled I pushed through, I relished in that notable soreness. Congratulating one another on a job well done, general consensus confirmed it was a depleting, yet rewarding workout.
My friend and I headed to her car and agreed that although we felt amazing, its location and our schedules made it unrealistic to introduce this to a normal workout schedule. However, still zealous over my new challenge and eager to share it with Brian, I told him I would like for him to take one class with me. With his demanding work schedule, he instead suggested he hop on our stationary bike upstairs, I turn off the lights, play blaring music and holler at him. I’ll get right on that.
My friends and I enrolled in a trial class at Burn Cycle, which has two locations in the Portland area: Lake Oswego and the Pearl. I encourage you to check it out at http://burncyclepdx.com.