Student shares spin class experience

Rachel Cooper

The overhead lights were off. “Counting Stars” by One Republic was blaring. A laser light machine created confetti patterns across the ceiling in red and green. Was I at a middle school dance? Nope. Spin class.

Normally the gym is the last place you’d find me, but my mom pulled a classic mom move and guilted me into joining her because “I could use the exercise.” Spin class has been her new obsession since it was announced that the family reunion next year would be an Alaskan Backroads trip, which means endless miles spent on a bike. So naturally, the training had to start nine months before.

I entered a mirrored room full of middle-aged men and soccer moms frantically pedaling, even though the class wouldn’t start for another 15 minutes. It was already not my scene. While my mom began adjusting her bike, the instructor must have noticed me standing in the corner looking pretty helpless and decided to come over. She was a tiny, fit lady with a very high- pitched voice, which again reminded me how much I didn’t want to be there. After helping me set my bike to “comfortable” settings (I can assure you there is nothing comfortable about those machines, no matter how much you adjust them), she gave me a “don’t push yourself” spiel. Of course I wasn’t going to push it. I had already broken a sweat climbing the stairs to get there.

After the lights had been shut off and our warm-up of “Counting Stars” was over, I could already feel the burn. Every muscle in my legs was begging me to stop, but the thing about spin class is that you never stop pedaling. After a couple more heavy EDM songs, I broke my barrier. I could no longer feel my legs and couldn’t stop the constant pedaling even if I wanted to. I was more comfortable adding resistance, even if I didn’t do it every time the instructor screeched “Turn it up!” The hour went so quickly and the endorphins were so high that by the time the closing tune of Train’s awful 2010 hit “Hey Soul Sister” played, I wasn’t even bitter.

I came out drenched in sweat with wobbly legs that no longer knew how to do anything but pedal. And even though my butt felt like one big bruise for days after, overall, I felt great. Exercise actually does do good things, although it sure doesn’t feel like it in the moment. By the time the trip dawns, and my mom has pushed me into a few more of these classes, I’ll be pedaling my way through the Alaskan wilderness so fast the bears won’t even have time to stop and look at me.