Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Class # 27 Cycling Wednesday 5:40 a.m. (Mike S.)

As predicted I’m a little sore today, especially my triceps, which are really barking at me. This state of body is courtesy of my old nemesis Kris Mougeot and her grueling Power Pump class yesterday morning. Of course, after lifting weights for an hour - something I never, ever do - I could rightfully be accused of dogging it if I wasn’t sore at all. Well, I tried my best to dog it. It’s hard though with K.M. boring a hole through my soul with a look that says “come on you weenie, LIFT”.

Nonetheless, I dragged my aching carcass out of bed this morning at 5 a.m. to go sample Mike Seay’s cycle class. I’ve heard lots of great things about his class so I’m curious to see it firsthand.

There are maybe eight bike classes a week that fill up on a regular basis and Mike’s is one of them. For that reason, I’ve held off going to those classes until improving weather knocks down attendance a bit. I have “insider” information though that yesterday we added four new bikes to the room making it safe for me to come this morning.

The class starts at 5:40 and I enter the room as the clock ticks over to 5:39. The room is indeed mostly filled and Mike is already announcing a countdown – “keep warming up”, he says “one minute till we get started”. Yikes, what time did these guys get here?

Mike is a very enthusiastic class leader - bursting with kinetic energy. He’s one of these folks, no doubt, who wakes up raring to go and having fun, a perfect profile for a pre-sunrise group ex instructor.

Have I mentioned that I’m not an early morning person? Well, I’m not. I’d like to be, well, at least this morning it would be nice.

Twenty minutes into class, I’m riding hard but still trying to coax my body out of its stupor. Bodies are like the military, they like routine and mine knows that it’s usually asleep at this hour. “Dude, what are you doing to me?” it says. Shut up and ride you big complainer.

Meanwhile Mike is happily urging us all to “push a little harder”. The routine alternates between long steady rides where the tempo is fast, 100 rpm’s or higher and standing climbs, which are also up-tempo, say 80 rpms. My biking sweet spot on the other hand is more like 68 rpms using a big gear – “mashing” I think Carla calls it. I like sprinting in bursts but sustaining high turnover for a long time is something that’s hard for me.

This is one of those rare classes where there are more men than women, in fact, today the ratio is two to one. I can also tell that most of these folks are regulars and they are used to riding together. This ‘family’ aspect of group exercise is one of its best selling points. People really do start to learn and care about those that they exercise with frequently. When someone is absent a few times, folks want to know where they are.

For some reason, the studio clock is on the blink this morning so Mike keeps letting us know how much longer we have to go. Thirty minutes into class and finally I’m starting to get going and feeling good. The body at last gives up its insistence that we crawl back in bed and begins to cooperate.

Mike keeps us pumping right until the end. The studio clock is dead, his microphone is malfunctioning but nothing deters him from smiling and urging us on - neither rain nor snow nor dark of morning etc. etc.

As class ends, I’m tired and sweaty but overall feel surprisingly good. I realize it’s this feeling that these guys (and girls) come for every morning. Walking to my car to go grab breakfast and it’s not yet 7 a.m. but I’ve already done something challenging, which makes me feel alive and somehow ahead of the game.

Mike Seay this morning’s instructor is a computer and processing engineer for Blue Cross Blue Shield in his working life. For fun and exercise he is an avid cyclist and has competed in numerous 100-mile races including two in Death Valley CA. (Sounds fun.)

In the winter, Mike found himself regularly training indoors at the Club and decided he enjoyed it so much that he wanted to teach. He got certified and started teaching at the LRAC/LRRC more than five years ago. He calls his time teaching “the highlight of my week”. His energy and enthusiasm is infectious and explains why it’s hard to find an available bike in his classes. But now that we’ve got four new bikes, there’s room for a few more.

The winner of this morning’s $25 gift certificate is Tony Fox.

I’m off next to Jeanie’s noon yoga class……ahhhhhh

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