I love those first few minutes of each Spinning® class! No, not when I arrive early and set up my bike and sound system. No, not when I walk among the Spinners® to personally greet each participant. No, not when I turn off the lights, turn down the thermostat and check my shoes. No, not when I dial in my iPod, press my stopwatch into action and hopefully remember to start my own heart rate monitor. Yes, when I get on my bike and join my class.
I am spoiled. We have 20 bikes and we do a good job of filling them. There are enough regulars in each class to know the ropes. Even if someone new joins us, they quickly pick up from the others and discover what is expected of them. What is expected is that each individual engage fully in the class; that each one brings to the class his or her own needs and goals and works through or toward them on their own level but all in harmony with the training plan for the class. We are serious but joyful; focused but spontaneous; intense but gratified. We get the chit-chat over with before we settle in and we sure talk it out later in the locker room or headed out the door. We are friends but we are also students ? students of this ever challenging training.
I love those first few minutes of each Spinning® class! I begin to pedal. I assume my own position on the bike and feel myself immediately drawn to the task at hand. I always (and I do mean always) remind them of safety issues and concerns and explain the training for the day. And then we settle.
I love those first few minutes ?. As we gradually increase the resistance, as we find our own comfortable cadence, as we relax our shoulders and engage our lower body muscles, as we funnel our attention into our own work, we prepare for what lies ahead. Whatever else may be going on in our lives, it is all put aside for the duration of the class. The rhythm of our pedals sucks us in. The music touches a chord inside us that is more felt than heard.
I love those first few minutes?. Early turns that seemed labored and stilted become seamless and want more road, more resistance. Breathing deepens. What begins as inward ? energy, awareness, purpose and oneness with our bikes ? expands and radiates outward to embrace the room ? the community of riders, the instructor, the atmosphere and the unified whole of individual means.
I love those first few minutes ? those minutes during which we connect with our goals, our dreams, our tasks and each other. We know there is a challenge ahead but we also know it is an achievable challenge. We will all finish together. No one will be left behind. There is camaraderie. There are both individual and team dynamics.
The continuous movement of the flywheel is compelling. Like the current of a river that carries us effortlessly towards our destination, the rhythm of the flywheel carries us into our training ride.
When I was a runner I struggled with trail running that I was doing to help my road racing. I openly rebelled telling anyone who would listen that I hated it. I fought the uphills and was terrified of the downhills. Finally, one of my running partners gave me a book to read (probably to shut me up!). ?Chi Running? had transformed her running experience and she wanted to share it with me. To be honest, I was so driven that it was difficult to read most of what was suggested by the author though I admitted that his counsel was certainly worthy of respect. It just wasn?t the right time for me. But, I did read one thing that helped me overcome my fear of running down a rocky, rutted, rooted, winding trail. The author suggested that I consider myself being carried downhill quickly (yikes) and effortlessly by the rushing waters of a mountain stream. The stream WOULD reach the bottom and so would I if I allowed myself to playfully meander down through what I saw as potential hazards. I tried it and it worked ? again and again. (This was a weekly trail running training race over the same course so progress was obvious.)
I love those first few minutes of class when we let go of extraneous thoughts and worries and embrace the work to be done, the training to experience, the sweat, the strain, the discipline, the dedication and, ultimately, the satisfaction. But in those first few minutes it is all about possibilities. What could be better?
Blog posted by Linda Freeman for www.spinning.com 4/15/2011.