My Tacoma-Pierce County YMCA adventure continues.
Because my body just didn’t hurt enough from the masters swim class last night, I decided to spin (OK, due to licensing issues, the YMCA has to call it “group cycling” but we all know what high intensity cycling done to music on spin bikes is, right?)
I had a Harmon Bike Club meeting tonight (just how many bike clubs do I belong to? 4?) to kick off the Courage Classic and the St Leo’s food bank ride so I had to do something earlier than the offering at the downtown Y.
I realized that I can go to any Y and that the Morgan Family Y on Pearl St is only 4 miles from my house. I checked their schedule and there was a spin class at 4:30-PERFECT! I’m kind of spoiled by having the downtown Y (which is 15 and over only) so close (a mile, if that) and was wondering what the family one would be like.
The locker rooms were split between upstairs and downstairs, with the downstairs filled with squealing kids getting ready to swim and the upstairs being very much like “my” Y downtown, 15 and over only.
This Y was older, but well maintained and full of interesting things including an indoor climbing area.
But back to the task at hand.
Even though I’ve ridden century and double century rides, I’ve been extremely intimidated to try spin. Afraid that I’m too out of shape (especially at this time of year) and wouldn’t be able keep up.
But everyone I know that takes spin classes in the winter totally rocks the hills come spring and I know I need to get back on my training. (I’ve been a slug) Spin is the way to do it when days are short and torrential downpours and ice are making the roads unsuitable for outdoor riding.
I showed up 10 minutes early (as requested for first timers) so that the instructor (Denise who was awesome) could help me set up the bike the first time. I set it up just like I set up my road bike so that was a no brainer.
The critical thing to learn about a spin bike is that they have weighted fly wheels and you can’t just stop them by stopping pedaling. They have a break lever down near the tension knob.
I had fully intended to stay in the far back so as not to draw attention to my out of shapeness and lack of spin juju, but another woman in the class told me to get right up front with her. (she was rehabbing an injured knee) The guy on the other side of me was an instructor, so the front and center row ran the gamut.
We did a warm up and then did “hills” (increasing the tension according to our own comfort/fitness/challenge level) and had the choice to stand up on the pedals or not (when riding hills on my bike, I tend to “sit and spin”. We also did sprints, a long “hill” increasing our grade 6 times over the course of the hill. We pedaled for cadence of 80-110 rpm; I was averaging a bit over 100.
I surprised myself not only by finishing the workout, but by really cranking the tension on the hill climbs, standing up and going for it.
Denice was awesome and made sure than everyone was comfortable and knew that at any time they could reduce tension or speed.
It was so NOT intimidating. There are no neon lights over your head telling people what your tension is set to or how hard you are working.
The music was fun, the instructor was fun and the whole workout was GREAT!
I could feel the burn during the workout but my legs feel great now (we’ll see how they feel tomorrow)
This will help me with cardio and hill climbing, but is obviously no substitute for long rides (several hours) to build my lactic acid threshold, help my muscles burn fat instead of glucose and build endurance for 100+ mile rides in the summer.
I can’t believe I didn’t suck it up and try it before now.
Tomorrow is my 2nd masters swim class.
Spin Tues-Thurs, Master Swim Mon-Wed. I need to get some weight training in there and probably start running at work at lunch as well as longer runs on weekends.
If I can keep this up, I’m going to be an animal (or at least not suck) by the time triathlon season starts. And maybe I’ll get this middle aged winter pudge off of me. (and hopefully not put it back on next winter)
Oh, one of the spinning websites I checked said 40 minutes at a 80-100 rpm cadence equals 15-20 miles, and I averaged 100, I’m giving myself 18 miles towards my Frostbite Falls goal.