Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spin Macaroni Mountain

I really meant to go dancing last night, but I didn't. What happened? Work dragged, I dragged, my brief attempt at working out dragged, and I dragged my butt around the apartment instead. There was a clear point where I thought to myself, "I can still get there by 10:30. Or not." Not.

So instead I read a bit. Brainstormed a bit. And turned on the Tour de France. I was hoping to be inspired by the mountaintop finish at Mont Ventoux, but realized early in my watching of Stage 19, that it was Stage 20 which finishes at Mont Ventoux. Darn. But I played the flat stage in the background anyway as I puttered around.

Lance Armstrong made a comeback to professional cycling this year after a last competing in 2005, and is seriously kicking butt. Well, if you were rooting for him to win (as I've been doing), he's a bit of a disappointment, but if you're a realist, as I've become, you can find his claw back to 3rd place going into Stage 19 extremely inspiring (did he really decide to return last October?!). In first place is his Astana teammate, Alberto Contador, who won the Tour for Lance's Team Discovery in 2007. 4 minutes back is Team Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck, widely regarded as the best climber in the Tour before Contador proved otherwise in the Alps. Armstrong is just over a minute behind Schleck, but has Bradley Wiggins and Astana teammate Andreas Kloden within 20 seconds of his spot. And right behind them is Andy Schleck's older brother, Frank. With inspired performances during Stage 20, Astana could conceivably hold all the podium places. On the other hand, 2nd place and 6th place are separated by just 1:40. Contador has a huge lead in the General Classification, unless he has a terrible day, but Andy and Frank might be working to get Frank in front of Kloden, Wiggens, and Armstrong into third place and onto the podium.

Stage 20 of the Tour de France is a mountaintop finish at Mont Ventoux, a 20 km Hors Category (beyond category, the hardest category) climb which takes an hour to ride. Badass. It isn't crazy to see an inspired climber make up 20 seconds per kilometer on the mountain. Though maybe not on the General Classification contenders.

Then it struck me: I should go to spin class Saturday morning. Yeah! I've been wanting to ride again, but haven't because of the prep-time (and I need to get that bike tuned up again). So why not substitute in a spin class?

The plan that formed in my mind was to get to bed, take the 8:30 spin class, shop at Sprouts for the macaroni salad I planned to take to Saturday evening's BBQ (I still don't have details on that!), make the salad, then eat my post-spin meal while watching the extended coverage of Stage 20.

Thus inspired, I crashed out.

Woke at 7:30 and puttered a bit. At 8am, I called and asked if they had spots left for the 8:30 class. One left. I'd better hurry. Started my oatmeal in the microwave and pulled up my spin class checklist and my "go bag" for spin and hugged myself; I'd left everything I needed right in the bag. Transferred the oatmeal to a paper bowl and ran out the door.

2 minute drive to 24 Hour Fitness, and got to the front desk. "You'll be the first on the waiting list." D'oh. But one of the five paid reservations was bound to no-show right? Right. I haven't taken a class since ... November 25, 2008, eight months. Yikes. I'm feeling a little trepidation as I take my pass over to the spin room. The instructor hasn't arrived yet, so I take the time to switch to my SPDs (don't spin without them) and turn on my heart rate monitor (don't spin without it). Recognize a former neighbor from Placentia. I must have talked her into finally taking a spin class. She's always been in great shape, but she's seriously lean now.

Decided to sit in the back, as it's been too long since I dragged my fat ass here (that's some serious negative talk going on there). Then realized too late that the reason I sat in front wasn't because felt like a badass, but because staring at hot cycling butts is distracting. But soon enough the sweat starts to pour and my consciousness retreats to the tip of my nose and my reflected grimace in the mirror.

My body remembers. My mind remembers. I'm in rhythm, and suddenly remember that I used to evaluate music by whether it would be good to spin to instead of whether it would be good to swing dance to. Funny memory.

I have to check my HRM constantly as I'm out of shape and competitive at the same time. I spend too much time with my heart rate over 160 beats per minute, and way too much time at 170-172 (well, about sixty seconds, but that's way to long). I have to remember to ease back into this kind of work out.

That's right, ease back into it. As in do it regularly again.

Looking around, I realize that most people still equate low, straining cadence with good effort, not realizing that high cadence is it's own discipline. When the instructor throws a high cadence song at us, most of them just sit at a lower cadence looking blank probably not able to maintain the pace even in the saddle with low resistance. But I've still got it. Well, kind of. High cadence spinning out of the saddle is what has me my heart at 170+ bpm. Don't do that.

After class, as I gulp down more water, and make my way over to Sprouts (like Henry's but close!) to shop for my macaroni salad. Home to put the salad together, protein shake, and sit down to watch the Tour.

Go Lance!

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