I was intimidated at first. Intimidated by the crazy loud music, the up and down push ups, the young, gorgeous bodies with their flat, 6-pack bellies showing unashamedly. I am nothing like most of the clientele at Soul Cycle– they are thin, young, hip, able to sing along to songs that I have never heard before, yelling out “Whooop!” at all the right times.
I am a midlife cancer patient going through chemo, an oddity at the spin class—but no one knows that there. I was never a huge Soul Cycle fan before I got cancer. It wasn’t until recently it actually dawned on me that their logo was a wheel, and not a slice of lemon. Come on, who can blame me?
But against all odds at this crazy time, I have become a bit of an addict. At my lowest possible point, I am bald, a little out of shape, and a lot of tired. And I love the anonymity of the darkness of this spin class which allows me to be alone in a crowd, bald, working at my own pace, while still being a member of the group. Together, we push hard to the end a song, part of something, evidenced only by the whirl of the wheels.
I seek energy and power in these weeks of chemo, loving the pulse, beat and motion of these classes. It makes me smile when the teacher calls us “Boston” or “Friday” as a group (as in, “How we doing this morning, Boston?”) Despite the loud music, there is a zen to the class, that reaches me in the back row, that pushes me to do my best, to face what I have to face with courage and determination. I am not often into this mushy-gushy mind stuff, but somehow, in this class, at this time, it works. A class at Soul Cycle has become a “good luck” ritual before I head down to Dana Farber every third Friday for an afternoon of getting pink poison shot through my veins.
Last Friday morning, my earplugs were snuggly in my ears. I had wiped my bike off with antibacterial wipes, and had velcroed my Fitbit to the strap on my bike shoe. I had heard here (thanks, BA50) that in order to get Fitbit “credit” for cycling, one should wear the Fitbit on one’s bike shoe instead of the wrist where it normally lives. And these days, I needed credit for all the steps I could get.
Around five songs in, during a period of spinning hard and self reflection, I noticed the teacher walking purposely down the aisle toward where my bike was located in the back, Bike 53 out of 55 bikes—you get the picture. It was odd to see her venture so far back, and she was heading directly toward me.
While I didn’t seek attention, I started smiling in pride with the anticipation that she was going to give me a special, private, kudo for my special circumstances. “I see that you are bald.“ I imagined her saying. “Are you going through chemo? You’re unbelievable! Keep up the good work!”
She finally reached my bike. She bent down close and said something in my left ear. I couldn’t hear a thing. I held up my finger for her to wait as I took out my earplug.
“What’s with the light?” she said coldly, pointing to my left shoe.
“The light? Coming from your shoe?”
I hadn’t realized my Fitbit was flashing two tiny, bright, florescent green dots on it’s backside– that’s the part of the mechanism that is usually hidden by the underside of one’s wrist, where the pulse is being monitored. As I spun, it reflected brightly in the mirrors at the front of the room.
“Oh, it’s just my Fitbit.” I said.
“Well get rid of it,” she said, “It’s distracting.“
And then she walked back and continued class. I reached down, un-velcroed my Fitbit, and stuck it in my sports bra.
That’s why I really love this spin class.
When I’m not at spin class, I love to work out and stretch at home! It took me awhile, but I found an awesome fitness mat that is perfect for a home gym– really heavy duty, and great for my back! Check it out here. They also have a CompanionMat and a MobileMat that you can bring anywhere for on-the-go fitness!