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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fear of Spinning

Don’t know about you, but I ride my mountain bike out of fear. Or, rather I ride to put fear behind me, to leave it lonely in the dust like a ledge drop that most dare not approach.

When I first started riding, the fears that I gapped were the usual suspects. A really steep rooted single track climb; would I be able to clear it the whole way and who would see me as I teeter tottered from side to side eventually falling down in slow motion?

Back then, I was ascaird of those steep downhill sections, and rightfully so spasmodically squeezing every finger full of front brake even as my butt rose off the saddle, my feet grew light on the pedals, and I ended up endo’ing.

But, with a brave face I progressed through the terrors of off camber turns, and day long “Loop of Love” rides with misanthropic Mark Weir, eventually screwing up the courage to race downhill on a frozen bobsled course with spikes in my tires and a claims adjuster at the bottom.

marla streb
Marla training for her first spin class.

After years of riding and falling, and riding some more, fear for the most part is way off the back. On a mountain bike I’ve swallowed those fears down, one bit at a time, by learning how to brake way before I enter the turn. By preloading the suspension before a jump. Or, trusting that carrying speed usually carries the day. When riding with an “animal” I just give ‘em a long leash and then reel ‘em in when I feel like teaching ‘em a lesson, because I’ve learned that the only competition that I should fear resides within my own helmet. And I’ve come to grips with that, too.

Except for spinning.

I mean Spinning.

I have never, ever, not in thirteen years of professional riding ever taken a Spin Class. I walk past that glass wall a couple of times a week on my way to the hack squat rack. I look away from that chamber of horrors, the Spin Class, as I super set my up-right rows with my lat pull-downs. Afterwards, as the Spinners, parade past flush from their exertions wobbly walking towards the showers, I stare down at my own big feet unable to look them in the eye.

But, this week, maybe tomorrow or the next day, but one day this week, I’ll take a Spin Class.

I’m no fool. Gotta scope out the schedule, make sure I sign up for the session with fewest amount of Spinners. Find the most subdued and least vocal trainer. Check out the music situation to make sure that Abba won’t be an option. I’ll probably inspect the rigs to determine which one presents the minimal amount of mirrored image.

But, I know there won’t be anything to fear in that room until I walk in with my helmet.

I’ll be the only Spinner wearing one.

Maybe next week I’ll tell you why…


trainwreck said...

full face helmet please! wear your luna skinsuit too. i would laugh at that sight.

1:50 PM  
Capt. Jack Sparrow said...

Oh, no, a cliffhanger!!!!

1:53 PM  
Mike said...

hey, what's wrong with abba?!?

2:00 PM  
Rich said...

I've taken a spin class before, I wish I would've been smart enough to wear a helmet! I could've taken a dive and ended the misery early! ;-)

2:44 PM  
Jay P said...

aiieeeee!!!! how the mighty have fallen....

i fear the spin class as well.. not as much as the treadmill and the stairmaster but pretty close. its stairing at someone elses behind after miles of pedalling- and it still the same behind. no wait... that happens on group rides too... ok at least there was forward motion...

6:19 PM  
DHDANXC said...

I pray for you that you don't get the girl I last did. She played a lot of old classic rock and talked about baking a cake right after class. Oh, and she thought moaning loudly was a great thing to do in class!

9:10 PM  
Anonymous said...

Spinning is nothing to be afraid of. If you don't like the instructor, choose a different section next time. It's a good workout and it can be fun too - esp. if you go with a friend.

10:51 AM  
supadupaflye said...

I wish I would have thought of Rich's suggestion of taking a header off the spin bike and ending the misery when I made the mistake of sitting down to that hour of sheer torture. I sincerely Marla walks in to that class in full skins, shin and shoulder pads and the Red Bull DH helmet. Don't know why, I just would find it amusing.

10:05 AM  
marla streb said...

Hey Silvia

In response to your question about Costa Rica: You can pretty much ride a mountain bike anywhere in Costa Rica. In fact, maybe in more places than you can drive as some of the dirt roads get too skinny. But I was kicked out of Manual Antonio National Park once. So I think the more frequented national parks frown on mountain bikes.

Good luck

12:59 PM  
Anonymous said...

I don't fear them much any more, except that I'm usually the only guy - one time however, as I spin in my old shoes/clips, the subpar petals both unclipped at the same time, sending me nearly crashing into my neighbors. Needless to say everyone around me was wishing they'd brought their helmet.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous said...

Spinning is good exercise, but not for the insecure. If you're looking for an "excuse" to leave (such as "crashing") then you're rather insecure. If you don't like the spinning class you can leave during the class.

3:51 PM  
castersup said...

during my one & only spinner class, i was getting the feel of the machine before the class started. after a couple minutes, i thought i'd tweek the saddle position. holy fly-wheel. i was all over the place & probably would have been launched thru the front wall if i had not been clipped in.

i caught the instructor kindly looking away as i brought the monster under control, got off & raised the saddle a notch.

10:32 PM  
Joy said...

Marla - All committed cyclists fear the SPIN and its instructors. I teach spin, and race mt bikes...i would FREAK out if you showed up to class! My theory - you take out of the class what you want - modify, do your workout to their crazy music and think of it as one less hour spent on the trainer, alone, in your house. Cardio taken care of.

8:15 PM  
Hack said...

I wish you could inlarge the pictures. They're kinda small.

8:31 PM  
drewbic said...

I don't remember you ever being afraid of anything!
Somewhere in the dusty annals, I recall a certain jumping off of the roof in La Jolla? Or I am appropriating someone else's memory?

9:17 AM  
Anonymous said...

bring earplugs.

4:49 PM  

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