By Linda Freeman, Star 3 Spinning® Instructor
It happens. We discover a sport we love. We dream about pursuing that sport, perhaps competing. We immerse ourselves in training, learn everything we can learn, connect with a coach, invest in gear, and sacrifice our hearts to our growing passion. Then along comes an accident, injury, job loss, divorce or some other of life’s events that derails our goals, perhaps permanently.
It happened to me and surely to you or someone you know. For a time, I groomed for my kids as they showed their ponies and later horses in the hunter/jumper divisions on the A-rated circuit. At the same time I trained on the side so that I would be ready to ride when they went off to college. (I don’t know if this was more to soften the blow of their moving away from home or to give me my turn in the ring.) Divorce, horses sold, dream shattered.
I took up running. A pair of good running shoes was cheap compared to horses. For the first year I hated it. Then I entered a local 5K and the race was on. It was always a struggle, but I persevered on roads, trails and tracks. I was “mature” when I began, so managed to finish well in my age group in every race in which I competed, often winning (which I loved), and graduated from 5k to 10k to ten miles to my favorite, half-marathon.
I was running on borrowed time. While training for my first marathon, my early career as a professional ballet dancer caught up to me. This is one opponent I could not outrun. In one six hour surgery, both of my hips were totally replaced and my running career was buried. I don’t know for sure, but I may have cried more over losing my running shoes than I had over losing my horses. In any event, my rehab began just days later when my Physical Therapist put me on a Spinner® with zero resistance for about 5 minutes.
Three months later I rode a two hour Spinning® fund raising event with my daughter. Soon thereafter I became a certified Spinning® Instructor and subsequently began to teach my first classes. I now coordinate the Spinning® department of our fitness facility and am privileged to share my story and my new passion with so many students.
That’s not all. My surgeon, also an outstanding athlete and close friend, encouraged me to expand my horizons; get out of the studio and onto the road. I did. 12 centuries later, I ride over 2,000 miles during our short Vermont cycling seasons and, though a grand mom, continue to reach for more power, speed and endurance; goals and dreams seem to multiply.
Why do I tell you this? Surely not to boast. I am taunted by inadequacies and haunted by fears in everything I do. Just getting on a bike, when it is inadvisable for me to fall, is an act of courage. However, I raised my children to embrace passion. If I choose to be authentic, I must do the same.
My Spinner® is my friend and training partner. When it’s snowing or sub-zero, I can ride. I can ride in a group or alone at home. On the road I am subject to traffic, road conditions and Vermont’s erratic terrain. On my Spinner® I can relax my anxieties and address pure and purposeful training.
My Spinner® has gifted me with second chances. Someday I will remain in the studio. Many choose to do so. For now, my Spinning® training allows me to periodize over the long winter months, lay down an impeccable aerobic base before transitioning outdoors and connect with like-minded friends and cycling companions who do the same.
Spinning® can become our sport of choice, or an adjunct preparing us well for whatever sport we love. Whether our goal is a Race Day on a Spinner® or a time trial on a road bike; a long Endurance ride, a Spinning® event indoors or a century, a bicycle tour outdoors, we have options. From New Year’s Resolutions to rehab, depression to weight loss, timidity to bravado, each Spinning® class can meet the individual needs of each participant. With all that Spinning® training has to offer, perhaps what it does best is to offer each of us second chances; hopes and dreams that can be realized.