May.08, 2009, filed under Cycling, training

I went for my first ever spin class last night. Keiser cycling, it’s called. I figured I’d be fine: I ride fixed, FFS. Not only that but I ride fixed on the turbo, when I can’t be arsed going out. It’s just an exercise bike, right?


I went because I had a swim lesson with my coach Zoe (whose website is still broken) immediately after the class, and she was taking the class, so I figured what the hell. Turned up, having ridden there (fixed, natch) at a sprint because I was running late, found a few people already sitting on the machines pushing the pedals round. None of them gave the outward appearance of being super-fit. One guy looked about 65. They asked if I’d done it before. No, I told them.

“You’ve picked the wrong class then,” they chortled. “This is the hard one!”

That’s just great.

It took some fiddling to get the bike set-up acceptable (not right, just acceptable), which was watched with some amusement by the two guys either side of me (the old guy and a guy who looked about 50). I tried explaining that I am used to riding real bikes. They asked if I race. I mentioned triathlon, muttering a bit.

I really shouldn’t have done. They made a big deal about this. All of a sudden I was supposed to breeze through this airily, like a dandelion clock on a sunny summer’s day.

The warm-up was fairly hard. Halfway through the session I’d drunk nearly all my water and it had sweated out into a nasty puddle on the floor underneath me. The gents flanking me were merrily having a conversation over my labouring back, neither of them having so much as broken a sweat, while Zoe yelled at us to go faster and faster in bigger and bigger gears.

“Up two! Minimum 16! 110 – 120! Three… two… one… go!”

The man on my right was singing along to the music.

He was singing along.

It was just sickening.

The pair of them kept offering me a tissue to wipe off the sweat, and would lean over to peer at the electronic display on my cycle every now and again. If I wasn’t up to speed or had failed to select a high enough gear they would mercilessly point this out, as if I were cheating or something. The old bloke, having ascertained that I was wearing an HRM, occasionally asked in a conversational manner how my heart rate was doing.

Come the end my ladybits were rubbed raw from the dodgy saddle and I felt the same way I imagine a Fremen would if he tried to run 10k over dunes in a stillsuit at a 20 minute pace. Climbing into the pool with my core tempature through the roof felt like plunging into the Weddell Sea. Half of me was worrying about leopard seals.

Hmm. I wonder if there are any places left for Monday’s class. The one that’s on just before the running club Zoe thinks I should attend.

She’s a sadistic minx when she knows you can take it.

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