It’s not scientific yet, but all evidence leads to the fact that I was the very last woman in New York City to take a spinning class. And fellow investigators take note: it wasn’t even a class.
A number of weeks ago a distinguished physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital sent letters to the many friends of the late writer-artist-performer David Rakoff, asking us to join a “Cycle for the Cure” fundraiser.
Soon the doctor wrote again. Then again. Each time he addressed the masses with a printed “nudge.” How many times do I need to get nudged to move off my ass? Apparently the correct answer is five.
After five nudges I signed up to what I thought would be a quiet hour on a bike in a gym.
Having recently recovered my hearing, I can tell you that my experience wasn’t quiet, wasn’t contemplative, wasn’t “biking,” but was bizarre. To me.
Everyone else – maybe 300-500 people assembled into teams by various groups who’ve been touched by cancer – was an experienced spinner. Everyone there had spun. The centrifuge around whom the room spun was a taut pigtailed woman called Story (or Storie or Storee or Storey) who could ride and cajole and shout for 3 or more hours without breaking a sweat.
She made everyone sprint, and stand up, and tighten, and loosen, and scream and rise and fall and push push push. And pretty much everyone did as told.
The woman on my left pedaled so hard during the sprints that I realized she hated cancer even more than I did, and I hate cancer.
The woman whose bike I inherited wasn’t relieved she could sit down. Au contraire, when I assumed her bike (and realized it was a spinning thing, not a cycling thing) she kept moving, and joined the large group of dancers who were also marathoners.
Keep moving, keep shouting, keep going, keep fighting cancer.
Even I had sponsors, and I am happy to say I did complete 45 or 50 minutes astride the machine. (The timer was broken.) Afterwards, I was allowed to leave and saw Storie in the dressing room, where the taut, cheerful, tattooed (sure) woman told me she was one of the first spinning teachers ever, and that she had three kids and was 47 years old.
Then I couldn’t find my locker. I remembered the combination but couldn’t open this locker. Or maybe it was the one over there. I was operating in a post-spinning fog, feeling a little like the little metal ball in a pinball game. (Do they still have those?) The idea that the gym would be closing and I’d still be looking for my locker got more real by the moment. It was so noisy, so sweaty, so crowded that my only comparable experience was having gone to Studio 54 a long, long, long time ago. Luckily I found a woman with a magic key and I could eventually get my jacket and return home.
But now I’ve gone spinning. Thanks to Jonathan, Laurie, Peter, Diane, Diane, Mara, Mary, Dani, Michael, Elise, Neil & Anne, Lenny & Tory, Celia, Leonie, Harri, Barbara, and E. Jean I’ve raised $1180. 00 to go directly to researching the rare cancers that elude fundraisers and ribbons. Our team raised over $23,000.
And now I’m almost like a typical New Yorker, #becausespinning.
Next I’m thinking of trying yoga.