Spin Wisdom


I have been training for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and an unlikely thing has happened. I am getting a lot of my encouragement and insight into life from a spin class. I know, right?

This is a volume-up, painted black studio with disco lights and more mirror than I can comfortably live with. Ever. Out of my comfort for sure but so flipping close and really stocked with incredible instructors, heaps of bikes and clean, fresh space. Just makes a ton of sense and checks the boxes.

Here is what I already knew Day 1:

I was pretty sure I was one of the oldest riders in the class

I knew I didn’t have a bouncy ponytail I could flick as I pumped and dipped

I resented having to do a push up AND ride my bike all at once

I was positive I was the only one NOT in a bra top

But I showed up and I rode and I listened.

Now not all spin instructors are built equally. You have the “Let’s go – insert day of the week here - Morning” who are definitely high energy, motivate you to move, are encouraging and genuinely good at what they do.

And then you have Maxie. Thursday morning Maxie who motivates on a whole other level. She is all of the above with some wisdom beyond her years folded in. I get that old soul vibe from her and I dig it. And she swears. Tee hee.

Here is what I didn’t know:

This is where it gets sticky: She is always referring to an out of the saddle run or steep, slow climb when she says this but I had never really thought of it in the context of  adversity. Maxie always folds it back to life once everyone is spinning to the same beat (Full disclosure: I sometimes don’t ride to the beat. Out of the saddle. Running up hill). The thing with sticky is that if you stay with it, it will eventually get less sticky. Hard work, knowledge, asking for help = less sticky.

Resistance is Stability: I love this. Of course it is in the context of hill training – you are able to steadily and securely climb anything as long as you keep moving (and brace for the lactic acid build-up to flush and attack your unsuspecting knees). But is that not the juiciest metaphor? Keep moving. Use the resistance to keep moving. Challenges and obstacles can propel us as forward as we will allow them to.

Stay Woke: This may just be shit grammar but I love it. My take-away is to always be aware and conscious of yourself, what is happening around you and what place you have in all of it. We are powerful players in our own outcomes. Don’t miss it.

It isn’t cocky. It’s confidence: This is a room full of women or at least a grossly disproportionate number of women to a couple brave/smart men. Maxie was talking about how as women we train ourselves to be under the radar. And although we will often celebrate the success of our sisters, we rarely take pause to celebrate our own. She frankly told us she didn’t have the answer ‘why?’ to that one but she has me wondering the same.

Sometimes we find our wings on the way down: Well, I’ll be. Is that not the case? When we need our grit the most, it usually shows up. I have learned a ton from failure – I would argue more than success. Determination is bred from falling.

Find that dirty beat: I have no idea what this is supposed to mean but it made me laugh my sore ass right off. I may try to fold this into a conversation. See if anyone notices. “Pass the salt and find that dirty beat while you’re at it…..”

All of this to say – there is wisdom everywhere. You just have to look for it. Or listen for it in a dimly lit spin class. With house music pulsing in your 45 year old brain. Pedaling uphill.

Hey Maxie: I’m listening.

Michele Parent