As I stagger into class for the final time it’s hard to miss that one of the bikes has a colorful bouquet of balloons tethered to it. Someone, Krissa I imagine, has gone to the trouble to make me a seat of honor for this final class and I am appreciative. Basically, I'm happy to have arrived here at all and I’m ready to ride across the finish line (where’s the champagne anyway?).
Krissa teaches two cycling classes every week (Wed./Fri.) and splits a third class with Betsy on Sunday afternoons. She is an excellent instructor and her classes are among the most popular on the schedule. I really enjoyed the previous class I took with her (see blog #33 ) and I'm happy to wrap things up in her class.
The balloon-laden bike that’s been hand picked for me today happens to be in a back corner of the room and it’s one I used to ride on a regular basis in Carla’s M/W noon class. This bike, I happen to know, is one of the semi-magic bikes and it’s going to give me inflated numbers for my watts. I have studiously avoided “magic” bikes on the quest but it feels appropriate somehow to be on this one for the last class - I’m going to blow away my old average watts record.
Balloon-bike in the corner
Krissa sets a torrid pace for us right from the gate. She’s an excellent triathlete and is currently training for a half Ironman race in June so she’s in terrific shape and is coaxing us to ride in her slipstream.
Krissa’s style is playful and filled with an easy banter – she has a great personality and is very comfortable with a microphone and an audience. I enjoy listening to her as she alternately pushes us, asks how we’re doing (usually and endearingly she answers for us), interacts with individual riders and lets loose her infectious laugh. It’s obvious that she’s working hard because her gasping breath is audible but she’s also, somehow, having a rollicking good time along the way.
The class is nearly full and with everyone working hard the room is getting warmer, the A/C struggling (and failing) to keep up. I’m pouring sweat and my legs are weary but the adrenaline is pumping and I feel good. There’s not much reason to save anything for tomorrow because, well, you know why.
After a hard fifty-minute ride we downshift into an easy cool down and the deed is done. I check my numbers one last time to see another 500 calories incinerated, a magic-bike aided average watts score of 195 (my high score on a regular bike is 146), a maximum heart rate of 150 and an average rate of 127.
As we’re about to end the cool down the studio door opens and a large contingent of LRAC staffers, led by Krissa's sister, Lisa Cooper,who also happens to be the Group Exercise Coordinator, march in carrying a cake with the number 111 proudly displayed atop it. Someone initiates applause and the class joins in – giving a tribute to me and the now completed quest. Simultaneously I feel deep appreciation for all this warmth along with a familiar discomfort of being in the limelight, even for a few moments.
Celebrating with friends (that's Krissa on the far left)
Amazingly, one of the class members, Silvana Berlinski also produces a cake that she has baked to celebrate the occasion. Silvana is perhaps the most dedicated group cycling student in the Club – she attends an average of six cycling classes a week. Thanks so much Silvana!
As I mentioned, the class was near full with 22 or so in attendance. For this last class I thought it only appropriate to draw extra names for the gift certificate so I ask Krissa to draw five winners. Those five are: Lee Burrell, Heidi Tate, John Lang, Sabra Miller and Silvana Berlinski (instant karma).
Well, that about puts a wrap on things. I may check back in with a postscript now and then but my blogging and group exercising are (over)due for a temporary hiatus. I appreciate everyone’s interest in this project and for the loyal readers out there – whoever you are. I also greatly appreciate all of the kind and encouraging words that have been heaped upon me along the way. Bless you all.
Next up: I'll attempt to eat every item on the menu at the Blue Court Grill -- don't miss all the action!
See you at the Club!