I haven't been on my bike since Sat. but I've been running and swimming to keep myself feeling some kind of burn. I love my road bike but sometimes I get bored riding the same routes all the time. Unfortunantly, I'm not blessed with hills or open roads in the clearwater area. I'd love to get to Georgia, Clermont or Colorado so that I can get some good climbs on my bike. For the people stuck in freezing weather, snow drifts and ice I am sure that my complaining about 70-degree winter weather and no climbs is pretty inconsiderate of me. I know I have talked about my start in triathlons but I wanted to talk about my love for spinning (spin class). When I heard about a triathon which involved swim, bike and run I thought that would be a lot of fun. However, I've never really biked, only for fun. I had almost finished my Junior year of college and was getting burnt-out of competitive swimming. I had so many back problems from swimming 200 butterfly, 200 IM and 100 breastroke and the 7000+ yard swim practices were becoming tiresome. I had been swimming year round since I was 12 and I decided I would do cross country my senior year and I debated even swimming my senior year (I did swim my senior year to finish off 4-years of college swimming and very glad I did!). I signed up for a triathlon but had no bike. I belonged to Golds for many many years and decided I would take a spin class. Let me tell you about my first spin class. I signed up the day ahead for a 5:15am spin class at Golds in lexington, KY (where I am from). I showed up around 5:10 to set my bike up for my first time ever spinning. Well, because I was one of the last people in the class they accidently gave out too many passes and there weren't enough bikes. Because the teacher sat in the front of the class on a 2-foot platform I was the only one without a bike. As I was leaving the teacher came up to me and said I could have her bike since I got up so early for this class. I guess in the moment I said ok but then as I was getting on her bike I had about 30 eyes on me. She set up the bike to my fit and comfort and the music started and I had no idea what to do. I got through that 50 min. spin class and I actually enjoyed it aside from being the center of attention as the teacher walked around the room. I got into a zone when I was spinning and I just forgot that I was facing everyone in the room. It was kinda like a new aerobics class where everyone but you knows the moves. I had no idea what to do when she would call out something to do. I guess since then I have enjoyed spinning and the rush, energy and sweat you get from a good spin class. After many more classes on my own spin bike (and not the teachers' bike) I knew I wanted to teach spin. I got a job at the Y to do personal training and water aerobics but in order to teach spin there I needed to take 15 hours of spinning. No big deal since I had signed up for a triathlon and didn't have a bike. I took spinning at the Y for over a month and the week before my first triathlon I got a hybrid bike. Haha...when I got that bike I thought it was the coolest thing ever!!! I road that bike everywhere for a week before my first triathlon. I think my longest ride was 8 miles before a sprint triathlon in the rolling hills of Owensboro, KY. To my surprise, when I got to the triathlon my hybrid didn't look like the bikes of everyone else. I was first out of the water but when I got on the bike it was a tough, long bike ride. I got through the run since I enjoyed running and I ended up first in my age group. Since my first triathlon I have been taking and teaching spin and I really enjoy it. Aside from getting a great workout myself, I love teaching others and well, making them suffer :) This morning at the Y I had a great class. The Y was kinda dead but my class was filled as usual. The people in my 5:45am class are really dedicated and I've had some of the same people in my class since last summer when I started. We do 5-6 sets lasting from 2-4 min. The class is a total of 45 minutes and we recover for 1-2 min. after every set. We do a short warm-up and the rest of the class is filled with intervals. We climb, we do rollers, we do jumps, we sprint and we do single leg drills. I have them sweating by the first 10 min. and I'm sure you can imagine my enthusiasm early in the morning. I love being infront of my class and just keeping them going. My normal triathlon self-talk comes out during my class and it works so well for keeping the class motivated. I always shout "mind over muscles" to my class and I tell myself that so many times when I am training.
As the off-season is in full swing, check out a YMCA, a wellness center or a gym for a spin class. You might have to pay a guest fee if you aren't a member but it's worth the cost. You'll really enjoy a group setting for a spin class and it's great when the lots are off and the music is thumping. Ask around and find an instructor who teaches with good music and he/she has a lot of energy. The beauty of spinning is that you can control the resistance and your energy output. Also, be sure that the spin bike is a good quality bike and you might want to look for pedals where you can clip in your cycling shoes. Enjoy your holiday season and stay happy and healthy!