Holding a Line on a Stationary Bike

October 26, 2010 at 2:08 pm 1 comment

Spinning ClassMy friend and teammate, Jeremy, teaches a Spinning class at Aspen in Des Moines. To celebrate his 12 year anniversary, He scheduled a special session that consisted of two classes back to back with a ten minute break. I’ve never been in a Spinning class before and Jeremy has a reputation for pushing spinners harder than they think they can go. Riders on my team include a Spinning class during off-season training. I was a little nervous, but then again, I take Ira out for a tough 90 minute ride several times a week. I was all in.

A week before the class, I took a pretty nasty spill on the trails. I was able to get some slow and easy running in by the end of the week, but I was still on a rest week and not a training week. The night before the class, I still had deep muscle bruises on my hip, thigh and both calves as well as a swollen ankle. Not fun, but what is the big deal for a low-impact workout, right? I fueled up with raw almonds, an apple, two cups of coffee and a bunch of water during my pre-dawn, hour-long ride to Des Moines.

I met a couple of teammates in the parking lot of Aspen. We got into the class and they helped me adjust my first Spinning bike. The mood was light and we were passing back and forth comments and laughs about the previous week’s ride. I remarked that after my fall, they might feel more comfortable near me when I’m riding a stationary bike. In the movie that plays in my mind about this experience, this is the part that gets a freeze frame and a voice over about how I should have done more homework and if I had, I wouldn’t be making any jokes. Rather, I’d be conserving my energy and oxygen for what was to come. Ahhh, ignorance really is bliss.

Best I can tell, there are three basic moves: flats, climbs and jumps. These are done sitting and standing and the instructor calls for sprints and resistance modifications during the moves. I thought the play list was great. The bpm (beats per minute) was perfect for cadence and each song was ideal for the move we were doing. Fun factoid: Jeremy chose 2 songs from each of the 12 years he’s been teaching to compile the playlist for this particular class. Cool touch! This is where the happy ends, however. After 15 minutes, I was questioning my ability to finish the class. After 20 minutes, the jumps were making me dizzy. I thought I might fall off the bike. All the well intentions of pre-class hydration was soaking my hair and clothes.  I think I was hallucinating a little bit. Seriously?! I’ve been training for a triathlon. How could I be struggling this hard?

The music kept me motivated as I tried to follow the leader. As we were coming up to the break 50 minutes into the class, I was sure my swollen ankle must actually be fractured and that it would certainly give out on me if I continued to the second half. The break came. I indulged in Clif Shot Bloks, hydrated and I was a new woman. The pain of the previous 50 minutes was already forgotten. I saddled back up on my stationary bike. The second song of the second set had us doing jumps again. All of the pain was back. Ahhh, I thought I had purged the memories of that pain, but I had only repressed them. I just kept going. I wasn’t always jumping in sync with the class, but I knew I’d make it. With seven minutes left of the class, the gym’s sound system failed. Clearly, God was patting me on the head and telling me I did good enough. Class was over early.

Bloody Marys and brunch followed this extraordinary experience. I recovered astonishingly fast after the class, but muscle stiffness set in several hours later. In hindsight, had I been injury-free going into the class, the only lasting sore spot would have been my quads. They were a two-day reminder that I have a long way to go to be the climber I’d like to be on hills. I have committed to working on my climbing skills all winter, so watch out boys, I really might be pushing one of you up the hill next summer.

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Tia Martinson

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