Introducing The First Diaries, a weekly column in which one Coloradan documents her misadventures, trials, and triumphs in the outdoors as she tries a new activity or adventure each week. With humor, practical advice, and some serious real talk, our goal is to make the outdoor space a little less intimidating and a little more fun for all of us.
I’ve always found spin to be a little culty. But for the sake of trying something new, I went to a class.
Two college-aged attendants in matching athleisure attire greeted me with hair pulled into flawlessly braided ponytails and faces fully made up. In my universe, those things do not go together. I was given a gracious tour, shown to the fluffy towels I might use after class should I decide to shower in their spa-like locker room, and then pointed to the studio.
While I did enjoy feeling like a much classier lady than I truly am, what would have been useful, instead, would have been a play-by-play on how to begin your first class, because let me tell you, this cult performs a number of rituals.
For starters, they all arrive quite early to claim their stationary bikes. Some, you can tell, like to be right up front. They don’t mind everyone seeing them CRUSH. Some prefer the anonymity of the back—no pressure there to actually stand up or reach down to dial up the resistance when the teacher shouts to do so. (“This is your time! DO it!”)
I had no choice. There was one available bike right in the middle. Fortunately for me, I could care less who sees me sit down or dial back the resistance during class. I am shameless.
Spin-ers also hang small towels from their handlebars. I did not think to bring such a towel. I did, later, experience the un-lady-like dilemma of having sweat drip into my eyeballs, sort of painfully clouding my vision. So let me be the one to tell you: The towel makes sense. Bring a towel.
Lastly, they all sit before class on their bikes, pedaling slowly in the dark. Yes, when I walked into the studio I found the lights off and the whole class watching me, the late newcomer entering incredulously, as they pedaled in slow motion. I’m no stranger to movement meditation, but this was undeniably creepy. Then we kicked off: Hello, quads! While it was no walk in the park, the class itself truly was less interesting to me than the culture around it. I think you can imagine what 45 minutes of unrelenting, max fat-burning exercise in a room full athletically-inclined Type-As is like.
The feeling of spin is akin to that first part of a hike, when you start charging uphill and your muscles are burning as if to shout “Hey, wait a second! This is not relaxing. Excuse me!”
But you keep going, your muscles warm up and the burn eases away.
Spin, for me, was like the first part, pre-ease. The whole time. Until, of course, our chipper instructor guided us through a super useful 30 seconds of stretching (sarcasm), before joining her identically dressed teammates in the lobby to wish us all a very awesome day.
If you hadn’t already guessed, this wasn’t for me, that was clear from the moment I walked in the door. There’s something about exercise for the sake of feeling pain the next day that just doesn’t do it for me, but here’s to all the Spin-ers, more power to ya. You can find me on Mt. Sanitas.
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