Spinning the world away

When Mood Music
2012-12-19 19:40:00 Pre morning – Placebo

My spinning history
According to Wikipedia’s article on hybrid storage devices, a significant proportion of wear arises during the spin-up and spin-down processes. The same could be said of hybrid humans such as me. (I’m an Austrian/Australian hybrid.)

Today was my first spinniversary: my first ever spin was on Monday 19th December 2011. I started going to just this session each week. However in April 2012, I moved up to 2 sessions a week (Andy’s Monday and Wednesday evening sessions). Elly joined me for the Wednesday sessions: her first ever spin was on 18th April and she now usually spins on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday evenings. Currently I spin on four contiguous evenings:

  • Martin’s ‘Sunday sundowner’
  • Andy’s ‘Monday for all – Never give up your dreams’, followed by Fi’s Hatha Yoga session
  • Josh and Zara’s ‘Sportif Starter’
  • Andy’s ‘Big Wednesday’.

Spinning has become ‘my’ sport, more than swimming ever was*: it’s helped me through the months when my shoulder was in screaming pain, it’s got me fitter, given me enough stamina to take on a 70-mile sportif and has had me enjoying cycling to music in no danger from traffic. It’s even helped me wash more: after an hour in the saddle, sweating out all the nasties, even my history of pongy sulphur-chemistry can’t prevent me from longing for a bath or shower!
*I once represented Worcestershire at breast-stroke but that was way back in my teens. I don’t recall finishing last in that event but I certainly was way behind the winner. Since my left shoulder has become so badly inflexible, front-crawl, backstroke and butterfly are nearly impossible. Even breaststroke is difficult just now.

Pride goes before…
So I hoped that today’s session, which would be Christmas-themed, would be a throbbing climax to the week’s physical exertions and my first year of spinning. However, it didn’t turn out that way. For the past three or four weeks, I’ve not slept a full night: I can’t get to sleep until at least 2 am, then more often than not wake up in the middle of the night, ravenous and drenched with sweat. I do get back to sleep again but am often awake long before 6 am. Also, I’m stressed to high levels by coursework – to be submitted on 11 January, so I’m not looking forward to much of a break – for my current module (I can’t tell you how much I hate Access!) and needing to find time to work on a paper on my research. And to top it all, I’ve been nursing a cold.

… a fall!
So by this evening, I was utterly drained and probably should have stayed at home, relaxing with a good book or some bad sci-fi. But I wanted, oh, how I wanted, tonight to be one of those spin-sessions where it all just flows, where the music and pedalling combine to take me to that higher, excited, exalted place of sober inebriation. This happens about every 6 weeks – when it does, the feeling of joy and achievement just can’t be beaten. Anyway, I guess I had set myself up for disappointment: the session seemed to last forever and the last 20 minutes were just torture. (It didn’t help that I was on a ‘binary bike’ – one where the resistance goes from zero to ‘I can’t even budge the pedals’ in a small fraction of a turn of the control knob. Worse, the resistance wasn’t constant: moving the control to the same place changed the resistance differently each time. Elly was suffering too: she’s working her wotsits off, doing both a practical job (setting up Revenue Scotland) and a policy job (Scotland’s financial strategy) at the same time.

Picking myself back up again
Despite this, I’m going to continue spinning: I’m sure this was just a temporary glitch. The Lifescycle folk, both instructors and spinners, are encouraging and caring and make sport fun. There’s a place for me there, which I’ve never felt before about any sort of sport or exercise, in the same room as triathletes and national-standard cyclists. One of these days I’ll be able to dance on the pedals as fast as the other spinners and spinnerettes. And after all, everyone’s sweat is equally wet and well-earned. Even if I never raise my average road-speed above 15 mph, spinning will help me maintain this level and achieve greater distances with heavier loads, and I’m still intending to mark my retirement by cycling to India. Who’s coming with me?

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