Just because you haven’t worked out in a year (or 3) doesn’t mean today isn’t the day to start! The story below is a must read. Get ready to laugh and then grab your Peleton shoes!
As I stood in a quickly moving line of cyclists-to-be, I mumbled under my breath, “what did I get myself into this time”. A fortuitous gift from Ms. Sweaty herself landed me at Studio III, a River North gym of the future. The counter clerk briefly showed me a map of bicycle 17, though I had to speak up to obtain edification of a few other basics like where the actual studio was.
I took the stairs to the locker room. Another woman had pity on me and pointed me to the men’s room. I still do not know how the bathroom locks work, but I realized that aimless wandering would eventually get me through this adventure. No instructions for the shoes, either. While I’ve been expert in Velcro since my grade school Kanga-ROOS, I’m fairly certain I broke the mechanized tightening system on my shoes.
Finally, I entered the room about a minute after start time. Do you remember that confused look when you first saw someone of the opposite sex naked? That look that says, “Woah, I’m not sure how any of these parts work… think can I just fake it?” I clearly was not able to conceal that helpless out-of-my-league look, as Sayre, the instructor, picked me out of the darkness within four seconds to send over a helper. He asked a few basic questions about my hip height, and next thing you know, I was off for a ride.
Ms. Sweaty had already broken a sweat in the bicycle next to me, but with a superhero’s reach, she somehow managed to start my monitor without breaking stride. All in a day’s work for a superblogger, I suppose.
I started out slowly. I hadn’t worked out since 2015, and I was determined to finish the class. I might not ride fast or hard, but I didn’t want to get embarrassed. Sayre had virtually unlimited energy, and she was exceedingly motivating. The songs were mostly unfamiliar, but they were perfect for the ride. Within minutes, I was sweating enough that Sayre’s words blended together. Luckily, at no time did she say “hey you, on bike 17, you’re making us all look bad”. Be happy for small victories.
As a first time Studio III rider, I thought the process to get here and on the bike was a bit intimidating. The room was crowded with pros, and I felt like the guy playing “Simon says” who is perpetually a step behind Simon. Regardless, within a few minutes of riding, I was in the zone and thought of nothing else besides surviving. I also appreciated the relative darkness of the room. I was pretty self-conscious, and I don’t see anyone visibly laughing and pointing at me.
I soon hit the 15 minute mark. One-third done, and I still hadn’t passed out. I don’t know if my experience is unusual, but I found it easier to cycle with lower cadence and higher tension than visa-versa. I don’t think my legs go 120 rotations per minute, which seemed to be Sayre’s minimum in a few segments. The ‘climbs’ gave my legs a nice burn while also taking my breath—not in the way your breath goes when you run too hard and need to stop—rather, in a ‘boy, I’m really working hard’ kind of way.
The bicycle was of high quality, and the varied stats on the monitor kept me going. I found myself making deals like “okay, if you do this climb for five minutes, you can chill a little more afterwards”. Turns out, the bicycle had weights on the back, and Sayre asked us to use them about two-thirds of the way through the ride. Do you remember your uncle Howie at your bar mitzvah? How he’d clap and dance on the downbeats instead of the upbeats? That’s how my lifting activities were. The weight was very light for me, but people were moving so fast that I was unable to keep up.
With five minutes left, I decided to let it all out. At this point, I was tired, drenched, and absolutely positive I’d be sore for days. So I turned the tension up past 60 and gave it my all. My output surpassed 200 briefly, and I was happy I had that much in the tank at the end.
The ride ended, and the room entered into what could best be called a synchronized stretching. I can’t touch my knees, let along contort myself around a bicycle, but I had an out. I used this time to sign myself up for a Studio III account. Yes, they sucked me in, and I’m going to try it again.
I got off my bike, and tried in vain to compose a sentence or two to Ms. Sweaty. I’m a lawyer by trade, and I’m usually somewhat charming and persuasive. Yet not only am I fairly certain I wasn’t speaking English, but I actually have little memory of the conversation or, for that matter, getting home.
As I write this review about 5 hours later, I’m confined to a couch. I’m going to be one very sore puppy tomorrow. Studio III was a great workout, though I probably should have read an instruction manual first and/or got there far earlier. While I have no basis of comparison, Sayre was a great instructor for a first timer. And every nervous newbie should be accompanied by Ms. Sweaty.