Archive for December, 2010

Spinning is getting both easier and harder

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Our instructor described the day’s route as though we would really be out riding the local greening hills: so many minutes of climbing, jogging and even sprinting to a finish line. Installed on a decent bike, I was ready to attack the course as she called it out.

I believe my body is finally beginning to adapt to this new physical challenge. Spinning along with the group, I checked my heart rate frequently, and was gratified to notice that as I worked the bike’s tension according to Erin’s directions, it remained in reasonable ranges. My legs were feeling better doing the work, with less burning. As we got near the “top” of a long, steep climb, I was able to keep my momentum and rhythm but began gasping for air. (Good thing the music is so darned loud!)

Visions of summit day on Kilimanjaro … With so little oxygen at 19,000 feet up, I accomplished that long climb with a rhythmic breathing strategy. A variation of that plus the pounding beat coming out of the classroom speakers motivated me to keep my spinning momentum. Remembering how I felt as I saw the first glimmers of daylight as we approached the top if Kili helped too!

On the final long hill, I was surprised to find myself “dropped by the pack.” For some reason–possibly not pacing myself properly–I lost my steam near the end of the effort and had to “walk” my bike as I imagined everybody elses’ backsides disappearing over the imaginary crest. Just wait until I get my new clip-in biking shoes!

My competitive nature was satisfied by watching my form in the mirror. I try not to bob up and down or side to side, keep my thighs parallel to the bike, my hands light on the handlebars, my ab muscles engaged, and my rear back over the seat when standing. We are constantly reminded of these points. When I compare my mirror image with that of others in the room, I recognize the character flaw that causes me to feel superior to my fellow bikers.

I still have lots to learn, and it’s not all related to Spinning!

Never be late for spin class!

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Well, I may know what comfort items to bring to the Spinning class now, but that is only half the preparation necessary. I learned the hard way that there are many equipment-related things that determine my ability to spin aggressively.

Arriving 5 minutes before start time for my most recent class, I saw that 25 people were already mounted and rolling, with only a few bicycle choices left to me. The first available bike was in my favorite spot but missing toe straps, and I still don’t have clip-in shoes. I lugged that one away and moved in another that had a toe strap on just one pedal, better than none! I adjusted the seat to my body and installed my gel cover.  But it turns out that besides the missing strap it had a wobbly base and two bottle holders that couldn’t hold my water. D’oh! I thought I could deal with those issues but when I climbed up on the seat it was tipped too low in front and my rear kept sliding forward. Arrrrgh! I was getting more and more embarrassed at my frantic antics in front of all the others spinning happily away.

I went to the back of the room and sat on a third bike to check the seat. OK. Again, I installed the gel cover and my water bottle. I strapped my heart rate monitor on to the handlebars and my training zones chart onto that, put on my sweat band, and draped my hand towel on the bars. It was now 10 minutes into the class. Since this bike had absolutely no toe straps, I struggled for 45 minutes to keep my feet centered in loose cages that are too large for my shoes. Obviously there was no opportunity to work on my pulling up portion of the stroke. Meanwhile the handlebars screw kept loosening and I had to deal with the wobbling throughout class.

Sheesh. Now I know I need to get to class before the rest of the crowd to check for seat tilt, loose handlebars, and base wobble along with the existence of foot straps. And then spend 5 minutes installing my comfort aids on the bike I finally choose!

Size 6 Skates 4 Sale

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

My southern California pal Debbie Merrill (instructor to the stars!) is on a de-cluttering mission. Lucky for my skating friends, she wants to offload her extra gear in the photos below. She asked me to help sell three pairs of pristine Rollerblade brand skates plus other gently used skates (all ladies size six) and a pair of figure skating frames. Her beloved, one-of-a-kind custom Fila skates are still practically new.

These are not your toy-store skates. They are the quality  and brands I recommend myself, and typically sell for about $200 – $350. Debbie is asking $150 or your best offer. Please contact her directly if you are ready to make a serious offer.

More details about the skates and Debbie’s contact details are below the photos. Click a photo to see the entire and larger version on a new browser page. Click the larger version to examine the full size image closely.

Rollerblade Activa TPS — Green and silver, brand new size 6 with a great heel brake, pull-up lacing system, soft mesh boot. Great for recreational beginners, advanced beginners, or intermediate skaters.  Retails at $200; Debbie will take best offer.

Fila skates — Used only twice, 76 milometer wheels,  size 6, featuring a very hard and supportive leather boot, aluminum frame, lace-up with Velcro strap. These skates were custom, one-of-a kind and no longer found or sold. Retailed at $350; Debbie will take best offer.

Rollerblade Twisters — Brand new size 6 with shock absorber, 76 millimeter wheels, ABEC 6 bearings,  hard shell with laces and and buckle. Debbie and I both enjoyed the Twister which is good for beginners and coned slalom courses. Retails at $250; Debbie will take best offer.

Rollerblade Problade Junior — Brand new in sexy red, white and silver, these are designed for speed.  Features 84 millimeter wheels, and a low cut, hard  leather boot with an aluminum frame and ABEC 8 bearings. A great value retailing at $350; Debbie will take best offer.

Viroll quad 4-wheel skate — Brand new, featuring a ventilated soft shell with strap and clip,  gigantic 100 millimeter wheels, and rubber toe brake  in front. Good for off road and recreational skating. Retails $300; Debbie will take best offer.

Aluminum frame and wheels only — Great for figure skating and toe jumps, featuring a rubber stop in front, mount on any boot or ice skate. Retailed for $200; Debbie will take best offer.

Landroller skate — Brand new size 6, designed for off-road (dirt) skating. Features a lightweight aluminum frame, high proficiency polyurethane tires, low resistance bearings, air ventilation system built into the boot with reflector feature on sides. Retails for approximately $350; Debbie will take best offer.

Debbie Merrill
Skate Great USA School of Skating
PO Box 3452
Santa Monica, Ca 90408
(888) 866-6121

Check out Debbie’s New book, The Raw Truth to the Fountain of Youth at: