Sit and Spin
My friend, Kirsty, called me about six months ago and said, “Do you want to go to-“
“YES!” I said.
“I said YES!”
“Very funny, Lindsey. I haven’t even said where I’m going yet.”
“It doesn’t matter! Just YES!”
Isn’t it interesting how much of life is about timing? She could have been asking me to meet her in a third world country for oral surgery performed by a chimpanzee with a head cold and no pain meds. The answer still would have been YES because it would mean I would get out of town. And at that particular moment, I really wanted to be out of town. I treasure my family and my life. Truly, I do. But sometimes I yearn to be across the globe from them.
“Okay, cool, I’ll send you the details,” Kirsty said.
“Excellent. Where are we going by the way? Not that it matters.”
“Awesome! Remind me, where is Rajasthan?”
“Fantastic. Never been there.”
“I’ll email the itinerary.”
“Perfect. Gotta’ run. See you in Jabba-stan!”
After a cursory glance at the itinerary, I booked my flight to Northern India. Or possibly without the cursory glance, I don’t recall. I certainly meant to glance, but I’m not sure if I did. Life is busy for us humans! I may have forgotten to look at any information about my trip to India. It was apparently not my moment for mindfulness. Which sets it apart from very few other moments. But I’m working on it.
Then, a few weeks ago, I get an email from Kirsty, with the header, ’10 weeks to go!’ In it, she speaks of immunizations and adequate protection against malaria and rabies, as well as other topics that I actually read and that require me to apply another layer of deodorant. And then I get to this line: “…I really need to start some cycle training. 50km a day isn’t exactly a ride to the corner store!” *Hear needle scratching on record*
It should surprise no one that I didn’t realize I had signed up for a bike trip.
I shrug it off. I haven’t been on a bike in a while, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never ridden 30 miles on one. If you add up all of my bike rides in a year, then maybe. But come on, how hard can it be? I have plenty of time to get in shape. It will be fine.
A few weeks pass, tick tock.
Every morning I wake thinking, today I will cycle! And then I don’t. But the intention is always there, in the back of my mind. And so a few days ago, while at Youngest Child’s soccer practice, I take a peek at the YMCA fitness schedule. There is a spin class the next morning at 6am. Such serendipity!
I swagger into the spin studio at 5:50am. Why do I swagger? Because it is a fitness class at the Y. I will be the youngest gal there by decades and it won’t be overly strenuous. In my inaugural cycle training event, I will both meet success and build confidence. Success and confidence are essential for (unintended) fitness travel.
I pedal with vigor during the warm up to Rihanna. But before I know it, I am struggling over pretend hills and ignoring calls for bursts of speed on the ‘flat road’. And what are these ridiculous motions called jumps? Updownupdown. I am, of course, wearing bike shorts with the built-in crotch biscuit, but ouch. When would I replicate this move on a real bike? I vow to not ever stand and then sit again on the back roads of Northern India. In India, when I go up, I stay up.
I look around to see who else agrees that this move is jarring, painful, and absurd. It seems the retirees are not having this issue. In fact, they are lapping me, over the hills and on the mesas. They jump like they have springs for legs and are wearing special-order pants with a double crotch biscuit. For the love.
At about halfway through, I begin to hallucinate. I am positive the fitness schedule said this was a 45 minute class, meaning I only have 15 minutes left! I can do nearly anything for 15 minutes. Right then the instructor hollers, “We’re at the halfway mark, and guess what?” The music changes to something dark and unfamiliar, “The last half is a giant hill!” The retirees cheer. I roll my eyes. These people are really big on themselves.
At forty minutes, my mind drifts. I begin to wonder, what is the insurance code that corresponds to the procedure I will require later tonight – surgical removal of crotch biscuit. Wait a minute! Will that code fall under my deductible? Of course it will fall under my deductible! I am suddenly furious. I look at the screen as I pump my legs to Michael Jackson. My RPMs have doubled! And hey! The retirees are eating my dust! For a fraction of a second. Until I glance down again and see I have dropped 5 RPMs. What? I set my jaw. I need to get mad again.
I think about the money I fork out every year for the epi-pens that are prescribed for my kids but somehow fall under my deductible. A massive burst of speed! I nearly laugh out loud, which causes a significant slow down. Until I recall that visit to the ER when the only doctor covered by my cra-PPO was not available so my daughter got eight stitches by the only other doctor there, who belonged to some special sub-group, which caused him to fall under my high five-figure freaking deductible, which may as well be seven figures, because it restarts every time I sneeze! My knees are blurry! For less than a minute.
What else makes me angry? I am extremely thirsty and have emptied my water bottle. No speed increase. Youngest Child left a banana squished behind her booster seat yesterday. Nothing. I go through a few other scenarios but none can raise the dander like before. I am about to sob in frustration at my inability to summon anger when the instructor calls out, “Oh look! We have arrived at a lovely, meandering path which will allow us to cool down”. The music immediately turns cheesy.
I made it. The retirees are smiling at me like I’m part of a greater whole. I feel their love and inquire at the water cooler how long it took for them to become awesome. We bond.
The fact that one butt-kicking spin class equals half of one day’s ride in India? I’m not going to dwell on that. There will be a chase vehicle after all (I made it to that part of the trip description). Not that I’ll need it. But it will be a great way to relax and escape the heat helpful if I get a flat.
Kirsty, thank you for inviting me to India! We are going to have a fantastic time. With only six weeks left to prepare, I should probably try to hit a few more spin classes. Do you think it will be weird if I double up on bike shorts in India? Either that or I could bring my own bike seat. Which will be made entirely of marshmallows. How about this, let’s you and I make a pact – In India, when we go up, we stay up.