Thursday, November 13, 2008

My First Spin class

My First Spin class, a story by a fictitious poster named Larry...

I had heard that spinning was "a great way to stay in shape over the winter". Up to this point I had avoided a class, opting to ride outside even in the cold vs sit inside like some gym rat. But since everyone raves about it, I thought why not give it a try. To be honest, my thoughts have always been that spinning probably isn't that fun, rather cyclists latch on to it because it's the only "class" offered with any direct relevance to biking, sort of like how cyclists latch on to any cycling on TV just because it's on there.

Anyway, being a "Cat Reaffirming my Sense of Self-Importance" I knew that the only way to get out there and prove my self-worth was that I needed to hit that gym and get strong for next year. So without adieu I donned my full Discovery kit, grabbed my bike shoes and gloves, and headed off to the gym.

When I got there I was amazed with what I saw. There were only two others in full bike gear, one really skinny 50-something in a Hawaiian print jersey and non-matching black shorts, and another rather hefty 30-40-something in a TwinSix Category 6 jersey. All of the rest were in workout shorts, t-shirts, and tennis shoes. I was going to look like a superstar compared to these clowns.

Our instructor Lisa came in, a bubbly 20-something with more energy than I'll ever have. The class got started and I admit, riding the fixed gear bike with the heavy flywheel was a little interesting. I had fears of stopping pedalling only to have my femur smashed through my pelvis, but I got the hang of it pretty quick. We started out with a nice easy spin and light resistance to get warmed up, this was a walk in the park. The music resembled a more upbeat mix of the 2Unlmited stuff we heard drill teams playing at sporting events, with a beat that made me want to offer to buy the soccer mom next to me a drink.

Next, our beauty queen told us to crank up the resistance as if we were climbing a hill. I like climbing so I was all over this one. As we went on we kept adding resistance until we were grinding along at about 20rpm. Holy crap, this was kicking my ass! Next time I head to the local killer hill though, I'll be ready to pop it in to my 53x11 and just grind up that hill! The pinnacle of the class was her screaming at us in her "drink, drink, drink" voice, telling us to think of all of our troubles and to defeat them on this hill. Damn! What a great idea! Next time I go out riding I'm going to think about all of my troubles rather than how beautiful it is outside and how great it is to be alive!

Anyway, I decided I was getting cynical because this was kicking my ass so bad and I was looking like a fool when the soccer mom next to me was jovially riding along, so I lightened up and got back to enjoying class.

Next came the sprints! I consider myself a pretty good sprinter. On my training rides for the MS150 I often come up on other riders and sprint past them just to assert my utter dominance, so I was primed and ready for this! Lisa told us to take all resistance off of the bike and spin as fast as we can. At first it felt good, but then I got scared, I was flailing around like a freshmen at his first high school dance, this was not good. But again, I thought about how much this was helping me. If I ever get on one of those group rides that Bicycling magazine and RoadBikeRider talks about and we get in a city limit sprint, I'll drop down in to my lowest 39x25, err 39x19, and blow the doors off everyone.

By this time the sweat was pouring off of me. This class that I thought was going to be easy was becoming a death march. I began to despise Lisa, I could only imagine the torture she must impose on her boyfriend as he just wants to sleep and she lies awake with a plethora of energy. I prayed for the end of class or my life, whatever could get me out of here, but then came the popcorn sprints...

The popcorn sprints were brutal, if I ever get on one of those group rides Bicycling magazine and RoadBikeRider talk about, I'm going to try them out and see if I can do some major damage to the group sprint. Lisa had us wind up to about 140rpm and once we got there we stood up and sat down over and over again while trying to maintain 140rpm. It was excruciating and I could only imagine how this was making my sprint power even better. Not only that, but if I had to transition from standing to sitting real fast I would be able to do it better after this.

After the popcorn sprints, we got to cool down... This is something I always look forward to on the road. Going back home, sipping my Endurox while watching an old Tour day France video to relax. It was a little different at the gym, after stretching I headed back to the locker room to shower. Admittedly, I was worried about not having my 4:1 to recovery drink and what that might do to my performance, but those worries quickly turned to horror as I noticed old guys walking around the locker room naked. WTF, do these guys not know what a towel is? Opting to skip the shower and just get the hell out of there, I headed home, reflecting on the ass-kicking I had just received. As inferior as I felt, I think I'll be going to more classes as it will give me a huge advantage over other cyclists who don't spin.

1 comment:

Phill J said...

Regarding 4:1 recovery - what do you normally drink after a training session?

Have you every tried the CherryPharm Recovery stuff?

I ask because your first spin experience sounds just like mine - and when I was done this REALLY old lady next to me (who had NO issue the whole class and I nearly blew a lung) handed me a bottle of this stuff called CherryPharm Recovery.

Since that fateful day last fall - I swear the stuff has been the key to me getting past the plateau I was on and getting to the next level of training.

At any rate - welcome the the brutal world of spin!