The title of this blog is a reference to many different areas of my life. One of those, is my love of Spinning classes. I started spinning almost 2 years ago, at my gym & physical therapy clinic. It started out as just something to try to waste 20 minutes at the end of a PT session because my brain had checked out. I really had no desire to be conquered by yet another “able-bodied, normal person’s” exercise class and would much rather have been sitting outside waiting for my ride home.
From the minute I got on the bike that night, I knew something was different. First of all, there was no balance needed–the bike was stationary, but upright like real bike. First point goes for me. Second, the pedals came equipped with these rubber foot covers called cages so that your foot would be strapped into the pedal and not slide off while you were riding. (This was always the biggest problem for me when I tried to ride a bike as a kid.) Second point to me. Within those few minutes, I fell in love. It wasn’t until I got off the bike that I realized it had scored one point against me. I had huge cuts on both of my thighs/inner knee areas. Because of the tightness of some of my leg muscles and the circular motion of pedalling sometimes my legs would not be able to stay far enough from the bar the seat rested on and I ended up repeatedly scraping myself.
“Oh well” was honestly my first thought. Not oh well that I would just have to forget about my new found love because of my bodies limitations, but oh well that my body was just going to have to forget about its limitations because of my new found love. There was no way I was going to give this one up. Over several months I worked hard to build up my endurance in these classes, slowly adding on 5 minutes every week or so until I eventually completed a whole class 3 weeks later.
The best part about Spinning for me at the time was the environment. Our spin room, like most, is black lit. This allows riders to get in their own “zone” while they’re riding. A true Godsend for me. For once I was not worried about other eyes being on me, as they had been so many times in my life, or keeping up with everyone else. It was just me, the bike, a stereo, and the long roads of whatever journey I was on stretching out before me.
Over the past 2 years, I have become an integral part of the Spinning community at the gym. I ride 3-4 classes per week most weeks and I have participated in, and helped organize annual Pedal for A Purpose 5 hour charity spinning rides. This past March I rode for 3 hours to benefit United Cerebral Palsy and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Sure, I ended up with a stress fracture/tendinitis/a hip that now hurts whenever the weather changes, but I would do it all again if I could.
This is just something I wrote last year about what Spinning means to me, though some people still may never understand it fully:
Some say it’s just a bike.
It’s one class at one gym.
It’s something her peers conquer everyday—and have for years before her.
She sees something more.
It’s not about the number of calories burned.
It’s not about the ready-for-summer legs.
It’s not even about any aspect of exercise or fitness.
Sure, those are some really great outcomes but to this girl they’re simply added bonuses.
Because, she sees something more.
So, you ask—puzzled, if none of that is what’s important, what is the point?
The answer to this question is simple. However, some may never understand it.
It’s about that feeling deep inside her heart.
The feeling locked far away where it can’t be seen by any mere passerby.
It’s about the athlete.
Not the softball star that has a crowd of admirers following her around wherever she goes.
Not the flawless dancer whose graceful movements across a stage bring her viewers to tears.
This athlete will never get her fame on ESPN or the local news, or in a competition.
In fact, you won’t even notice her, because it’s not about that.
You see, she sees something more.
This athleticism and this emotion come from deep within.
So deep that, at times, she struggles find it.
Why did I think I could make it? Why did I think that I could be the same as those around me?
As the inner demon starts to control her, as she tries to find her strength, these questions surface.
But she fights. She pushes. And just when she is ready to give up, the feeling appears again.
She feels free. She feels strong. She feels alive.
As alive as a newborn baby breathing in her world for the very first time.
For just one hour, most times just once a week, she feels at peace.
It’s not just something to do for fun, or to make her feel included in this world.
In this room, she sees something more.
She does not see the Cerebral Palsy, the walker, or the unsteady gait
She sees a young woman broken down by the hands of time.
But a woman who is growing and putting herself back together with each pedal stroke.
She sees something more.
She does not see an ugly inner being, a shattered mirror broken from the weight of the pain just looking into it causes, or a tear stained pillow she lays her head on each night
She sees an equal.
An equal who is fighting along with the women beside her to make it through that extra sprint, that last climb.
She sees something more.
So no, it’s not just a bike, or a class, or a gym, or a group of strangers who ride together.
It’s her release, it’s her freedom, it’s all her dreams rolled into one, and it’s her friends. No, her family.
And because of all of it,
In herself, she sees something more.
For me, Spinning is my outlet. It’s my time away from my daily struggles and the pain they sometimes cause even if I try not to think about that. It’s a time to reflect and a time to really be proud of the accomplishments I’ve made–both on and off the bike. Most importantly though, it’s a time to be the person I truly am on the inside. A time to let my inner Lance Armstrong shine through. I hope you all can, and will, go out and find that in your own lives if you haven’t already. You deserve to.