The World Spinning and Sports Conditioning Conference (WSSC) is one month behind us already! I don’t know how it manages to pass so quickly. We yearn all year long for January to arrive so we can pore over the registration packets and choose our favorite sessions. Then we wait until May to fly into Miami to take part in an epic weekend of inspirational fitness education, cultivating old/new friendships and reigniting our passion for Spinning®. The journey begins an evening before the official conference kickoff with Josh Taylor’s Thursday Night Ride. If you’ve never been to the WSSC Conference, imagine a ballroom filled with 300 brand new Spinner® bikes lined up in perfect rows. Up front, the sight of a large stage, two huge screens and massive speakers induce giddy feelings reminiscent of a child on Christmas Morning. It’s hard not to get excited after feeling the energy of the room. Each year, the Thursday Night Ride has a theme and Josh’s bike is painted to match the theme. The bike is a source of great anticipation as everyone wonders how it can be better than the year before. This year I almost didn’t attend WSSC, but when I found out the kickoff to the biggest Spinning® event of the year was FIGHTER PILOT, I simply had to be there. Why? There are many reasons, but in this case, I wanted to be a part of this ride because the ride IS my life. My husband is a real life fighter pilot. Having completed five deployments, he’s spent almost half of our 12 years together out to sea on a carrier. I am extremely proud of what he and all of the service members willingly endure to ensure freedom at home. Josh’s ride hit a target directly on my heart and I had to be in that room to show my support for our great Navy. I know it probably sounds cliché’ but it’s true. This is my third WSSC and I’ve never missed a Thursday Night Ride. This year was special because my husband was able to attend with me.
The evening began as 300 people clad in red and gray “VF-1 Wolfpack” jerseys lined the tables outside the Grand Ballroom with their coveted Boarding Pass waiting for the signal to enter the room. People buzzed around the hallway and the energy in the air was palpable as directions were given over a microphone. At the same moment, friends were reuniting, camera flashes going off, smiles and anticipation everywhere. Standing in line, I felt a mix of nerves and excitement. I had ridden a shorter version of Fighter Pilot the previous year and knew how awesome this two-hour version was going to be. I wondered how many other people in the crowd were connected to military and what it would mean to each of them. Finally, the doors opened and the A group started filing into the Ballroom. After three or four minutes, the B group was next, which was the group my husband and I were in. We entered the double doors to the room illuminated by blue iridescent bulbs and quiet chatter from the people who were in the room. There was already a small line forming up front to take pictures with Josh and his “haze gray” bike that looked like it had real rivets up and down the frame. The bike was gorgeous and quite impressive in its authentic representation of the first Navy Tomcat squadron. I swiftly claimed a bike about five rows back and dropped my bag beside it. The next fifteen minutes was spent setting up the bike and getting water bottles filled, shoes fitted correctly, pre-ride photos snapped and saying hello to those around me. Chatter grew to an excited buzz and then to cheers and whistles as Mad Dogg CEO John Baudhuin and Josh took the stage to open the show. (Part II next week)