Thursday, December 24, 2015

Fun in cycling classes

On Monday night the person who was working the front desk at the facility where I teach called to check with me. Someone had called to reserve six bikes for my second class the next morning. None of them had attended my classes before although apparently some had experience in other spin classes. I indicated that she should go ahead and book the bikes but I groaned inwardly and perhaps out loud as well. There were many reasons to think bad thoughts about this turn of events. It takes a long time to set up that many new people and even if the new riders came early, as I always request, the regulars were going to have to wait a while for the class to begin. I also knew that my workout and music plan for the next day would not be good for beginners, no matter their level of fitness. I would have to shift to another plan and some of the regulars had done that same class with me very recently.

When I arrived for my 6:15 am class I was met by a room in disarray - it had been used as a dressing room for a dance performance the previous night. I had ten minutes to move a lot of furniture and get bikes back where they belonged. It was not a good way to start a day that I was already dreading. The first class went really well but when I showed up for the second class I learned that it was almost full. That's rare for that time of day but a lot of people are off work for the holidays. That meant even more pressure on me to get things going on time.

I will confess. I winced when I saw the group of six new riders approaching. They were clearly a tight unit - three women and three men. If something went badly with even one of them the whole group would be affected. I tried to figure out who the leader was, on the theory that if I kept her/him happy the rest of the group would also be satisfied. None of the questions which usually help me discern the opinion maker in a group helped. So I was at loose ends as I started their bike fit.

To make an already long story very short, I needn't have worried. The new riders were attentive, compliant, and fun. They were easy to coach and seemed very tolerant of the fact that their experience was likely quite different from what they had expected. They were incredibly polite - said please and thank you throughout the time when I was doing their bike fit. And they stayed pretty quiet during the class when the temptation would have been to chatter with their friends. At the end of the hour I asked the regulars, who I had placed in the back, to give a public review of the new group's performance. They gave a bunch of thumbs up and 'awesome's. One of the new riders stopped me on his way out and revealed that he is an alpine ski coach in Ontario. He was very impressed by my focus on the fundamentals - all the things I thought might make it a less satisfying experience for them.

One of my regulars would have really loved the class I didn't teach at 8:45 so I gave him the opportunity to come back in the evening at no charge. He did and enoyed the workout. It was a nice way to thank him for his support - he has recruited both his wife and daughter to my classes.

This morning we had one more class before the holidays. The Centre was opened just for us and the 6:15 am regulars were joined by people from other classes to create a full room and lots of energy and goodwill. We ended the session with muffins and coffeecake baked my me and juice provided by the Centre.

a portion of the December 24 group

I have a friend who regularly asks me if I am still having fun teaching my indoor cycling classes. It always sounds like she doesn't believe me when I confirm that I am having a blast. I wish she had been here this week to see the smiles and hear the laughter from both me and my students, including this one who dressed just for this morning's class.

Rudolph's nose flashed green and red

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