Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sweat Box

Last week I took some leave from work to visit family in Sydney. This also meant that I took a week of leave from the bike as well.

Usually, I go through some phases when I stop riding for a few days. The first day is great because I get to sleep in but then I get progressively more and more grumpy as the days wear on. After 5 days I feel pretty fat and lazy and am slightly irritable. My wife says she can't stand it but I don't notice.  

This time, I wasn't going to let it happen and my brother in-law offered to take me to the gym and join him in a spin class. It had been a while since I had done one so I thought I'd give it a crack.  

When you ride a bike, you are outside, moving and rearing your own breeze. Even when you are just cruising along, there is a breeze of around 25kph to keep you cool. In a gym, there is an instructor yelling at you to go harder and the only breeze you get is from the fan that is pointed at your feet and swings in your direction every 20seconds. By the end of the session, my shirt could be literally wrung out and there was a pool of sweat under my bike.

Exercising in a sweat box also means that a lot of other people experience the same thing. So after years of housing sweating cyclists and soaking up pools of sweat on the floor, most spin class rooms have a distinct aroma of sweat and stale gym clothes. It is almost enough to make you dry reach. I swear that they should strip them down every few months.

Another problem with spin classes is the underlying competition with other participants. Everyone says they are not competing but secretly they are. My brother in law even checked my distance covered at the en of the session. The only thing is, everyone sets their own difficulty and no bike is exactly the same. This means that the 60 year old woman in the back corner that seems to be going way faster than you could be doing so with no resistance on an easier bike. The more you try to race people, the more frustrated you get as you comprehend how the chick in the track suit pants barely breaks a sweat.

 At the end of the session I walked out like someone had thrown a bucket of water on me but at least I had gotten some pedaling in to keep me calm for a few days.

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