Two weeks ago Susan and I drove north to spend Thanksgiving with her extended family. Our two kids also came in (MC flew in from Virginia, James got the train from Indiana) and we had a lot of fun. Since the hotel we were using has a small gym, I brought indoor biking gear, planning to burn off some pecan pie on a static bike. When Susan's sister Nancy heard this, she suggested a spin class at the local exercise studio and actually had coupons for two free sessions.
Susan's home town, Morris IL, is the epitome of small town America. It's the county seat of Grundy County, and boasts a population of 10,200 and a powerhouse high-school football team. When I first visited in the early 80's there was still a downtown drugstore, cinema and grocery store. Now of course everything has moved out to the outskirts of town, handy for I-80 and US 47, and the stores on Liberty (aka "The Gut") sell knick-knacks and crap that indulgent grandmothers buy for their grand babies. Actually it's not as bad as some of the small towns I've seen in Texas - there are also cafes, a wine merchant, a book shop and of course the exercise studio, which brings me back to the subject of this posting, a spin session on a very chilly morning.
It was a balmy 29 deg F as I walked briskly across the road from my parking spot just outside the Gun Reloading store (seriously). I got a warm welcome from the owner/instructor Lynette, who pointed me to the one rest-room to change into my exercise gear. Her gym doesn't offer quite the same amenities as Lifetime Fitness back in Memorial, but the bikes were all new, she had two different models, and they all had a computer that picked up my heart-rate monitor.
I chose a bike that looked identical to the ones I normally use, set it up with the same settings and off we went. At first it was just me but pretty soon a good group had assembled, all women, all regulars who were on first-name terms. Lynette got us going at a cracking pace and in general pushed us harder than Zoe, her counterpart in Houston. The other riders clearly had no problem with the level of effort required, however, and kept up the banter. The two women on either side of me appeared to have a calorie-burning competition going on!
I managed the full 45 minutes but was very glad to get off the bike at the end. I tried to pay for my session (of course I'd left Nancy's coupons at her parent's house) but Lynette insisted that the first ride was always free, even when I pointed out that I had no idea when my next ride would be. Normally I'd cool down and shower after a spin class but that was not an option, so I changed out of my wet gear and dashed to my car, feeling virtuous and ready for some serious gluttony. I love Thanksgiving.