If I closed my eyes, listened to the music, the bass bumpin’ in my chest and the noise of the crowd, I might think I was at Saints Roller Rink. Roll, bounce! Bounce, skate! Man! They were gettin’ their work out on in syncopated cycling rhythm and enjoying every minute of it. I was sitting on the side, chair dancing showing my age and kickin’ myself for not getting here early enough to join in the reindeer games.
Outside the rain came down washing away the dirt of the city leaving parking lot puddles to dodge. I couldn’t get out of work early enough to get a bike. I foolishly thought just maybe some folks would stay at home because it was raining so hard. My calculations were way off. No one cared about the rain. Folks were in there like it was give away money day. The spin class was packed and the waiting list was long. It was an hour class but Briant extended it to 90 minutes to accommodate late comers like me. I caught the last 45 minutes of the class as people rotated out deciding they had enough.
The temperature in the spin area was about 10 degrees higher than anywhere else. The air was damp, hot and stale but not offensive. The entire class looked like runaway slaves fleeing to the north. They were worn out, beat down, sweaty and calling on Jesus.
I hopped on a bike between Chelsea and a muscle bound chocolate dude with huge triceps decorated with a tatoo.
I struggled to strap my foot in when a hand reached out and fixed it. It was Briant. He pulled the foot harness snug so I couldn’t escape. Shackles on my feet. Before he stood up entirely he asked me for a hard fast 10 count. When I finished the count, tricep dude leaned in and whispered, “Welcome to the club. It’s been this way the whole class.” I asked what happened but he just shrugged. Maybe the Rams lost yesterday. Mr. BKM loved the Rams. Whenever they lost we felt it.
The tricep dude looked like he had been in the shower with all of his clothes on. He started talking to himself. Motivational stuff to keep him going. I understood his science. You do what you have to in order to make it through. Then he started saying, “you ain’t bad enough to make me stop”. He must have been new. I begged him not to say that again. Not trying to be guilty by association.
Briant was doing old school dances in the middle of the floor. He was in his zone. Going around the room inflicting sprints everywhere. He seemed to come back to my bike too soon. He commanded me to, “Take him! Catch him! He don’t want none!” He pointed the audio remote at D. My pores could hear him. I started sweating a lot. I sprinted as fast as I could but like Kelly Rowland, I couldn’t feel my legs.
He went after Ava. She sprinted so fast her legs were just a blur. She didn’t think she would be lucky enough to get a bike so she ran two miles around the mall, in the cold rain. When I asked her why she ran in the rain her answer was simple. She had to get it in. I’ve never met a more determined group of people.
Then he was back, in my face. I could smell his gum. He wanted another ten. Rain or not I will never be late again. It’s hard to count aloud and exert yourself at the same time. Tricep dude reminded me how to breathe, in through the nose and out through the mouth. He urged me to keep going to catch my second wind. Second wind had come and gone I was working on my third. I glanced over at Chelsea. She was done, had sat down. I tapped her bike and urged her back into it. She never looked my way but she did get up. So the three of us; Chelsea. Me and Tricep dude who later told me his name was Guy finished the class strong.
Until next time….
A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods. ~Rachel Carson