Friday, February 17, 2012


2/26/12 has been highlighted on my calendar for a while. That’s 10 weeks before my fist race; the point where I need to get serious about training. Clearly I am in trouble so I just signed up for a spinning class membership at H.E.A.T 4 Athletes. I did a 2 hour class there a few weeks ago; it’s fine for a spinning class. They use the Real Ryder bikes that can lean side to side, similar to a real bicycle. The building is stark, nestled between other small buildings in an industrial park, no mistaking it for a pretty fitness center. The bikes are lined up in front of a huge screen where videos of group rides are projected. The music is good, by spinning standards. The spin instructor races. Tri, but still, that’s something.

Last week I rode a stationary bike in Traverse City, a very clever set up. They use stationary bikes made by Cyclopes where you can program target wattage and the computer adjusts resistance based on your cadence. The coach uses the classic method where the intensity of training progresses for a few weeks, then rest, then another progression that ends higher than the previous cycle. Each rider has different wattage and heart rate targets based on their individual power test. The coach downloads the data from each bike and later that day emails the riders advice or praise based on the data. This is clearly the way to go if you take racing seriously. I don’t but I left impressed.

The class is held in a room of a decommissioned mental institution surrounded by other rooms that have been turned into doctor offices, coffee shops, and even a single speed store. The architecture of the mental institution is striking. It is a very old building, stunning but spooky. I thought about the patients that would have been in that room 50 years ago. I believe most mental institutions have been decommissioned. I imagine institutionalizing mental illness wasn’t a good solution. Most people that suffer mental illness can be helped to some degree and integrated into society; the ones that can’t apparently move to San Francisco. I have been trying to introduce Em to classic 80’s movies; we recently watched Fatal Attraction. I thought about Glenn Close’s character. She seems more believable to me now than she did in 1987.

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