Beginner Spinner No More

Now that my leg fitness is catching up to my heart and lung fitness, I am faring better as Erin drives my heart rate well above my anaerobic threshold several times during Spinning class.

I guess it’s the techie in me but unlike my fellow spinners, I keep my training zones chart in view next to the heart rate monitor that I strap onto the handlebars. I like to make sure my heart is slowing back down to 70% of max or less before our next push to 85% or higher. My tools tell me if I need to linger a few extra seconds at the recovery rate before charging up the next “hill” at the moment Erin kicks in with the pace music.

During the first half of class, I enjoy looking at fellow spinners who cycle to the beat of the music as I religiously do. Two women spinning side by side recently looked so beautiful in their unison it reminded me of an MTV video. I sneak peeks at my own form in a mirror to the side to make sure I am not moving up and down or side-to-side too much. I like what I see.

At about the third hill, Erin is working us hard. Whether I’m standing on the pedals or trying to keep up my RPMs while seated, my mind wanders to some of the most difficult physical efforts in my life. If I am beginning to gasp for air, I seek motivation by thinking, “Heather’s cuffs, Heather’s cuffs…” It was Heather who hiked ahead of me on the hardest part of the midnight climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro last winter. Our ultimate success was due in no small part to the trance-like state brought on in those dark hours by rhythmic movement and breathing.

The cardiovascular benefits of spinning class are paying off on the ski slopes. I love testing my ability to keep on going as my body is challenged by skiing lumpy Sierra Cement or high-speed top-to-bottom cruisers hour after hour.

No wonder so many people see themselves as athletes once they get past the trauma and drama of being a beginner spinner!

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