Friday, March 12, 2010

Class #34 Cycling 6 p.m. Wednesday (Martha)

This class turns out to be memorable for reasons quite beyond the control of anyone in the room but I’ll get back to that in a minute. For the moment, I’ll remind you that this is my second bike class in a row as I just finished Krissa’s class a few minutes ago. I begin class significantly pooped out from the previous session hoping I can hang on through this one.

Martha is a good contrast to Krissa because she’s cut from the more business-like mode of cycling instructors as opposed to what I’ve called the “banter” group. Not that she doesn’t interact with the class because she does – it’s just that her commentary is restricted to the task at hand – no tales of the Oscars or Olympics, at least not tonight. She does use one interactive technique I haven’t seen before. At times, she calls on individual class members (she knows everyone by name) to pick an rpm or gear level and uses that input to devise the next exercise. It’s a cool way to keep everyone involved and on their toes.

When addressing the entire class Martha calls us “Wednesday”, I guess to distinguish us from the Monday group that she also teaches. As encouragement she might shout out “c’mon Wednesday let’s go!” It’s cute – I like it.

I first met Martha in yoga class as a fellow practitioner but later discovered that she also teaches yoga (regularly at the LRRC and as a sub at the LRAC). In fact, she usually goes to the M/W 5 p.m. yoga class and leaves a few minutes early to come teach her cycling class so she’s nice and centered when she walks in the room.

Martha Plaster has been certified as a cycling instructor since 2001 and has been teaching at the LRAC since moving to Little Rock from Biloxi in 2007. She and her husband Todd who is also a certified cycling instructor, share a passion for the bike both indoors and out. The interest in yoga has come more recently (Martha was certified by Turquoise Tree Yoga Center in 2008). Teaching yoga, Martha says, led to a decision to make a big career change, which finds her back in school as a full-time student working toward a degree in physical therapy.

As class nears conclusion one of our tennis pros, Linda Sneed sticks her head in the door and says “we’re under a tornado warning”. As a Club we try to let members know when the severe weather sirens are going off in case they want to get home or take cover. I don’t think too much about all of this, I’m more concerned with finishing class before collapsing. In that regard, as class wraps up, I take note that my wattage (i.e. work) level is down almost 30% from the previous class but my heart rate averages 133, which is identical to what it was in Krissa’s class. Interesting.

After class, as I’m getting everyone to sign up for the $25 gift certificate, things start to get really exciting. I notice out of the corner of my eye that outside the studio hordes of people are streaming by. It looks like what happens at a baseball game when the rain begins in earnest and people head for cover. Uh oh, this can’t be good, I think.

Sure enough, moments later, Cindy Waller yanks open the studio door and says in an urgent voice “we are under an imminent threat of a tornado and EVERYONE is being moved to the men’s and women’s locker rooms.” To my knowledge, in the history of the Club we’ve never done this before.

It turns out that with the sophisticated storm tracking systems operated by our local TV stations a warning has been issued that places a possible funnel cloud within a mile or two of the Club and headed our way. So for the first time ever, on a busy Wednesday night, just past prime time (about 6:55 pm) every single person in the Club is piled in to the locker rooms, which we have determined as the safest place to be should a tornado actually strike the building.

As you might expect I wind up in the men’s locker room and after about ten minutes I’m getting nervous – not about the weather but when these good folks are gonna revolt and say “Let me out of here!” Everyone’s watching the TV’s in there and sure enough the storm is all around us but no one likes being told to wait somewhere and not leave. Fortunately, a minute or two later, Justin, the Club’s Assistant Manager, sounds the ‘all clear’ with the caveat that storms are still in the area but the threat of a tornado has diminished.

As everyone exits the locker rooms it dawns on me that I could have been a little luckier in this matter. It occurs to me the emergency call could have come halfway through class and spared me the last 20 minutes of pain and no one would have blamed me for giving myself credit for completing the class. Oh well, I guess I should be thankful that the storm missed us entirely and gave me something interesting to relate in the blog.

I should also point out that the members were really great about the evacuation exercise. Everyone seemed to appreciate the caution that was taken and relieved that the storm skirted by us without causing any serious damage.

The $25 gift certificate winner for tonight’s class goes to: Emily Hartman.

For the second week in a row, I’m leaving town for a Thursday-Sunday trip in the morning but I want to get one more class in before I leave. Therefore, next up is the ‘oh so early’ 5:10 a.m. bike class. See you then.

Copied below is Martha’s playlist for tonight’s class:

3x5, John Mayer
Sanima Inanma, Sezen Asku
Mr. Blue Sky, Electric Light Orchestra
E Rubero' Per Te la Luna, Negramaro
One Way Out, The Allman Brothers Band
Rods and Cones, Blue Man Group
O...Saya, A. R. Rahman & M.I.A.
The Unit - Main Title, Robert Duncan
Green River, CCR
Runnin' Down a Dream, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Si viene e si va, Ligabue

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