Monday, March 9, 2009

Spinning is not Cycling

I know it doesn't count, but I did break a sweat.

Since I still don't own a bike, and the last two outdoor excursions on my loaner were less than impressive, it didn't take much persuading to get me to try a spinning class. If you've been following along, you know that I have no shame and I clearly understand that I'm in no way a real cyclist at this point. Hence, All of you $2000+ bike riding, leg shaving, chamois wearing riders out there would never be caught dead in a spinning class I'm sure, but in the vain of working out, and in making a little progress everyday, I met my wife Becky at the gym today after work to get our spin on.

I do run 3 or 4 times a week during the summer but I like to call the winter my "off season". It hearkens back to my glory days of competitive sports and helps me mentally justify not working out for a few months. The only downside to that wonderfully relaxing time off, is that getting back into workout mode come spring time can be a bit of a bear. This spinning class is the first real workout I've done since Thanksgiving time last year, and may not have been a good choice for my triumphant return to the land of heart pounding, lung burning and lactic acid.

I was surrounded by women who Becky described as "regulars" and from the moment we started "spinning" our wheels I was living to regret my hasty agreement to this torture. Some of these girls had clip-in pedals just for this class. I was out of shape, new to the "sport" but full of stubborn male pride and idiot ego. My first mistake was not understanding the resistance knob. If you've never spun before, (and if you're a real cyclist reading this blog to quietly laugh at me while feeling better about yourself, you probably haven't) there is a little knob that gets twisted to either increase or decrease resistance at the dictator's, uhh... I mean instructors, demand. Apparently, I started class without zeroing out my resistance, meaning turning it all the way counterclockwise till it stops, to properly set it to no resistance. Because of this minor oversight, about 5 minutes into the "warm-up" my legs were burning and I was huffing, while all the chicks around me were chatting it up and laughing about their day. Not sure how I was going to make it through an hour of this sweaty hell, I swallowed some pride and tried to casually say to my wife without anyone hearing, that she was right and this was a legit work out, tougher than I thought. She looked at me a little confused and I knew I must be doing something wrong. She politely laughed and told me about the zeroing resistance business. With my "bike" not working against me anymore, things got better but not for long.

The instructor clearly relished in distributing pain. He was yelling, sprint, increase resistance, stand up, sit down, increase cadence, blah blah blah, for an hour. I was pouring sweat, my legs turned to jello filled with lava, and I think my lungs forgot how to process oxygen. I did, however, manage to keep up (for the most part) with the regulars. I doubt I looked good doing it but that's neither here nor there. After a proper cool down my legs pretty much worked again and I was able to shuffle to the locker room. After all of this, my beautiful, bubbling wife said how disappointed she was that I came to that particular class 'cause it was soooooo easy, the music sucked and the instructor wasn't that good.

I think I'll leave the spinning to her and just get my butt out on the road.

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