Today was race day. If you don't take spin classes, you likely have no idea what I'm talking about. Let me explain.
You sit on a bike - that has one wheel - and you tighten the resistance rod as high as you can stand it. Your goal is make it hard to pedal through. You want to mimic riding up a mountain. There are several styles of class: endurance, strength, high-intensity training and race day. Each style includes a variety of different spin techniques designed to get you working out within a target heart rate. Typically you aim to stay within an aerobic threshold, about 75-85%. (Ideally smack in the center at 80%) On race day, however, you go all out. On race day, you strive to hit and maintain a heart rate of about 92% your normal standing heart rate. And, if you're really looking to build heart strength, you might even push a little harder.
For 30 minutes straight.
Race day comes with a few ground rules, at least at my gym:
1. Work at your own pace - set your restiance and your pedal stroke at YOUR level. Ignore everyone else. You race only with your own past performace, not the person next to you.
2. Drink a lot during the race.
3. Drink at least 16ozs immediately AFTER race and continue to drink water all day long. (or you will be destined for a head-ache any self-respecting hang-over would envy.)
4. Do nothing strenuous the rest of the day or the next day.
5. Nap if you need to.
6. Go ahead and honor your cravings. You body is trying to tell you something.
With two young children demanding I, you know, parent, I've only managed to drink my water and give in to cravings. (SHhhh....)
The kids, as is our custom, came into the spin room with me when we first arrived at the gym. They like to help me get my towel and water set-up on the bike before heading into child care. I dropped them off, put my heart monitor on, settled in the saddle and began to warm up gently.
We started. I raced. I pushed hard. I finished. I was exhausted.
We stopped to empty my life savings into the gas station attendant's hand on our way home. As the nice man filled our tank with regular unleaded, I laid out the rest of our day for my two gym rats.
Logan interrupted before we got too far into our plans, "Why do you need to take a shower?"
"Umm, because I just worked out at the gym and I feel gross and stinky."
"You don't stink," he said with complete (I'm sure disillusioned) sincerity.
"Thank you honey, but regardless, I'm taking a shower," I said thinking that was the end of it.
But it wasn't. Logan wanted to know more. He wanted to know what we do in class. I tried to explain it as best I could. "Today we pretended to race on our bikes," I told him.
He wanted to know how we all got around that little room on our bikes.
I explained the one wheel thing. The whole stationary bike concept. I told him how we had special dial on our bike to make it harder to pedal so it was like going up the mountain.
"You know how hard it can be sometimes to get your bike up the hill on our block?" I asked him. He nodded. "Well, it's sort of like that, only I don't have Daddy to push me when it gets too hard."
"Oh Mommy!" Logan said alarmed, "You should have come to get me from the kid room. I would help push you!"