Wednesday, November 25, 2009


since my kids are out of school today for the holiday, this morning I didn't have to get up and go to class at 5:15, but I actually chose to, anyway.
for a few reasons:
one, I love getting it over with early in the day.
two, I'm still building this new habit, and constancy is the key to its successful development. (oh, pedantic me.)
three, and most importantly, I like hanging out with this wacky group of people.

a few months back, biking buddy andy asked me if I'd be doing power camp this winter. I shared all my reasons why not, and then waxed on a bit about how much better it would be, training-wise, if I did.
andy responded, hey, it's really all about the company, not the workouts.
and today I realized he is right.
however good this class is for my body, it is even better for my soul.

yesterday morning our instructor, L, was walking around the room during the mellow parts, asking each of us a fanciful, hypothetical, get-to-know-your-neighbor question. you know, like if you were given a million dollars, what's the first thing you would buy? or, if you were stranded on a desert island, what one accoutrement would you want with you? or, what is your one indulgence?
it was great fun watching people struggle to come up with answers, while internally trying to arrive at my own, as well. little bits of personal info were thrown in, too, as L introduced each person and told what she happened to know about them.
now everything in power camp is about timing, and L was doing her questioning during our "recovery" periods, 10-minute segments pocketed between the harder work efforts. as a result, she had to be reminded of the time once or twice, which caused a little good-natured ribbing.
this morning's instructor, B, had been in class yesterday, and L was in our class today, so B was going overboard in his punctuality, constantly announcing the remaining minutes before and during each segment of class. of course he let L know why he was doing this . . .

there are two men who are good friends and power camp alumni, returning this year for their fourth session. they sit in the same place each morning, and for the past couple years have won the "cutest couple" award at the end-of-camp celebration.
one of them received the "if you were stranded on a desert island what's the one thing you'd want with you" question, and his response was Walmart.
it's amazing how witty people can be at 5:30 in the morning.
a few instructors work hard to bring good, clean jokes to share ( two guys walk into a bar. one turns to the other and says, you didn't see it either, did you?), or trivia questions, or other interesting stories that may or may not pertain to cycling life.

but what I like best is the banter that flows back and forth and around the room. people new to camp step into it quickly, and those who've been around a while get better and better at their gentle ribs and pokes. I daresay we all know each other more intimately than we even realize.
and what I like best is that we all are seeing each other sweaty, tired, and often, working to our capacity. it's difficult to put on an act when you're in that place.
and this creates a powerful bond.
one that allows banter to be compliments, and ribs to be salutes. one that makes it a lot more tolerable, and even acceptable, to get up at 4:40 in the morning.

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