Monday, October 13, 2008

spin class

I have hit my cold threshold.
back to the JCC, indoor workouts, weight room, elliptical machine, and spin class.
during my first bike-riding fall, I had a temperature cut-off of 30 degrees. last fall I increased that to about 40 degrees, and I think I'm going to stay right around there this fall and winter. I have done many things in my past that I'm just not willing to do to myself any more! and riding in 30 degree weather is right up there at the top of my list.
I often see commuters out there on their bikes, and I just tip my figurative hat to them. wow. I just don't wanna do it.
so I re-entered the spin room this morning, and it felt familiar yet intensely foreign. I don't think I've been in that room since sometime last may . . . I have been so lucky to have been outside riding all of this time. putting on my spin-class shoes felt strange, as did choosing a bike, changing out the seat for the kind of saddle I like best, then adjusting the seat height and position for my own unique body. I'd almost forgotten which little holes the pegs needed to go into . . . it has been a very long time.
the JCC ~ from what I hear ~ has just about the best spin room in the city. not because of the sound system, the bikes themselves, the towels, the huge water thermos, or even the dated posters of Lance on the walls. no, all of that is probably interchangeable with just about any other spin room. what the JCC has, however, is something that keeps my experience on a level I can tolerate and even sometimes glory in: a wall almost completely full of windows that look out west over the city.
I always choose a bike on the south side of the room, middle row, right in front of the window. we look out over the outdoor pool, through a row of sedate, officious pine trees, and down into the city itself. when I start, at 5:30, I am the only one in the room and I watch the city lights sparkle and throw their energy up to the sky, which is thick and heavy and dark. sometimes I watch the moon, and feel I am one of the most blessed people on the planet.
when it rains or snows or otherwise throws moisture around, we have front row seats on this display; we watch storms move their way across the valley. during the fall before the pool is drained or filled with snow, and in the spring when it is newly filled, I watch the water reflect light and move back and forth with the wind, ripples slapping the concrete edges.
regular 6 am spin class at the JCC is run with the lights out, save for a small lamp by the instructor's table. thus we have this secret view, and we watch the sky gradually lighten, the tiniest bit, as the clock moves closer to seven am. in the spring, we enter in the dark and leave in the light, having been able to watch the entire lightening process through our windows on the world. this time of year we enter in deep darkness and leave in slightly decreased deep darkness.

and it's just not the same.

of course. it can't be. but today, first class in months and months, hit me hard. though I love the view and my ability to still be connected to the world out there, I am sitting in a room filled with loud music not of my choosing, sweating like it's 110 degrees and I've drunk a lake in the previous hour, twisting a knob in an attempt to recreate the resistance of cycling up a hill.
gone is my peace, gone are the sounds of rumbling creeks and hooting owls. gone is the moonlight ride, gone are the chilled cheeks and tingling toes. gone is the time of meditation and inspiration, the counting of cars, the search for new sights and experiences.

what I have instead is a good, hard workout, some comraderie with the other spinners I know, and more warmth than I know what to do with. I come early and start on my own so that I can get as long a workout as I want for myself, and I tilt my heart monitor so that I can see the numbers by the dim light coming from the instructor's lamp. I work, I sweat, I play the game, and I usually like at least half of the music. (okay, not today.)
and I sigh, and think about the summer mornings when I rode at sunrise, in beautiful 70 degree weather, up the canyons that ring our eastern valley. I smile as I type this, and I thank God for our ability to conjure up memories complete with sound, smell, and feel.

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