Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bastille Day Tour de France Spin Class Ride

Yesterday, we had a super special spin class ride:  the Tour de France ride.  And on Bastille Day, to boot!

Now admittedly, if Bastille Day had fallen on a non-Saturday, we'd have had a non-Bastille Day ride.  In fact, I may have been the only one in the room who made the Bastille Day connection.  I'm fairly certain I was the only one in the room who could sing part of "La Marseillaise," the French National Anthem.  Yes, I sang in French:

"Allons enfants de la Patrie, 

Le jour de gloire est arrivé !"

Amazing what one's brain retains from high school French class!

Our spin class teacher had put together a soundtrack and gotten coverage of the 2000 Tour de France.  So, we rode, and on the big screen, we watched the various riders and the glorious French countryside and the crazy spectators.  Occasionally, I pretended that they cheered for me.

We tried to ride at a race day pace.  I wasn't sure what that would entail.  I've never done a race day spin class before.  Happily, there are many ways to ride fast.  We didn't just ride pell mell for 70 minutes.  We had some songs where we'd ride more quickly than a usual pace, but not a breathless pace--but then, at the refrain, we'd pick up the pace to breathlessness.  We had some songs where we'd add a bit more gear--in other words, we pedalled at the same pace, but it was a bit harder to turn the pedals.  At one point, we took turns "taking the lead":  one person pedalled at a pulling out ahead of the pack pace for 20 seconds, then the next person did, and then the next person, and so on.  We had about 20 riders, so that took some time.  As that was happening, if we wanted to try to keep up, we could.

The music inspired, the video of professional riders inspired, but the real inspiration came from each other.  We were there to push against our limits.  We wanted each other to be successful.  It was great.

We did that for 70 minutes and then we gradually slowed down over 5 minutes. Our teacher had brought sparkling grape juice ("champagne"), and we enjoyed that as we stretched.

I was able to sustain my efforts for the whole class.  I don't feel too bad today.  I'm a little sore in places, but I expect that.

It was a great experience.  I wouldn't want to do it all the time, but it's good to push myself occasionally.  It makes me realize that I could be doing more.  I tend to lose focus as the ride goes on.  But yesterday, I sustained my focus.  It makes me wonder if I could ride more intensely more often.

Likewise, I wonder if I could be more focused in other parts of my life or if I could maintain my focus for longer periods of time.  I've talked about learning to write with the small scraps of time that come my way.  But maybe it's also time to look at the distractions, like the Internet, that I could control and work on getting more focus during the long swatches of time.

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