Just one quick spin and I’m spent
I’ve abandoned my usual approach to training for the bicycling season by actually doing some.On a regrettable whim, I jumped in on a spin class at my gym one morning this week and proceeded to torture myself for 50 solid minutes.Natch, I had a spot in the front row, where the annoyingly fit instructor could cast a critical eye on my revolutions per minute. I was shooting for something roughly equal to the Earth’s rotational spin – once around every 24 hours. Not only that, the row of bikes faced a wall of mirrors. That way, everyone could spot the slackers. Make that slacker.There wasn’t a chance in hell anyone was going to mistake me for a bicyclist anyway, standing out as I did among the Lycra-clad with my baggy sweats and cotton T-shirt.Fifteen minutes into it, I looked like a drowned rat in a laundry bag. I couldn’t help but notice the riders to either side of me did not have a spray pattern of spattered perspiration on the mat below their bikes. Mine was starting to pool.And yet, it began easily enough. I adjusted my bike to eliminate any tension whatsoever on the merciless, weighted wheel and then backed it off a bit from there. When the instructor told us to crank it down a notch, I was still pedaling with less resistance than an Aspen socialite puts up when she’s accused of being a natural blonde.With each command to up the tension, I gingerly nudged the dial on the bike in imperceptible increments, like I was adjusting the controls on a nuclear reactor. Hey, just trying to prevent a meltdown. Others gave their dials full twists as we began our stationary “climb,” so I feigned a couple of hard cranks on mine.While my bike mates pedaled up the equivalent of Smuggler, I was huffing and puffing on a simulated slope no more severe than my driveway.”You should be at about level eight on your tolerance level,” the instructor chirped. I’d peaked out at 10 during the pre-class warm-up.Next, we were standing upright in the pedals. “There should be very little weight on your hands,” she shouted, her fingertips barely touching her handlebars. It was of no comfort to me to discover I can’t ride without hands on a stationary bicycle any more competently than I can on a real one. At least I caught myself before I fell off, thereby sparing myself the embarrassment of causing the first spin class bike crash in history and an admonishment for spinning out of control.Then, we were cajoled into a series of one-minute sprints of furious pedaling. I don’t think my feet were a blur, but everything else was. The sweat was pouring into my eyes.I’m sorry, but I subscribe to more of a tortoise-and-the-hare bicycling strategy. Slow and steady wins the race – or at least gets you across the finish line before darkness falls.By the cool-down, my legs rivaled bike tires for rubber content.It’s a good thing real bicycling isn’t that hard.Janet Urquhart won’t be ready for fat-tire season until she gets rid of the one around her waist. Her e-mail is email@example.com
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