Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How I Became Victim to the Cult of Soul Cycle

Cult (noun): 1. A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object 2. A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.  3. A misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.

Whilst trying to describe your willingness to cough up $30 for a 45-minute spin class to a group of football players, it’s hard to find any other appropriate word for it.  I never thought it would happen to me, “rational Al” as I’ve been known to be called.  Let me tell you how I got sucked into the cult that is Soul Cycle.

It began innocently enough.  I’d resisted the entire summer in New York, unwilling to risk over drafting my bank account in a city that was seemingly robbing me blind ($19 cocktails at The Rose Bar, I’m talking to you).  But opening at the Stanford Shopping Center in December, Soul Cycle was all anyone could talk about.   I figured that I could manage to pay $20 for the discounted first-time ride just to see what it was all about.

I wasn’t soul’d.  The clean yellow and white d├ęcor was nice enough and the merchandise trendy but I couldn’t quite understand the hype.  I didn’t find my soul. 

That is until I met Chris.  It was like love at first sight (until I saw the wedding ring).  While other instructors acquiesced about the need to stay on beat, Chris demanded precision.  Everyone must peddle on the same foot.  There really is something to be said about the power of 50+ people riding together with you.  And providing electronic remixes to Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” and Rihanna’s “Pour It Up” made it all the more fun to push yourself that much harder.  Oh, and the moment when he points to you as an example for the entire class to follow?  Priceless. 

The entire process goes a little something like this: Set an alarm on your phone for 11:58 am on Monday morning to ensure you get your bike when sign-ups open at noon.  Sign up for Chris’ Friday and Saturday morning classes despite the recognition that you’ll likely be tapping it back with the not-so-friendly hangover reminding you that you had one too many last night.  Throw on your Lululemon’s and head to the studio where you pay $3 to rent a pair of cycling shoes, reminding yourself to just buy a pair already.  Weave your way through the crowd of flushed Palo Alto moms and Stanford sorority girls leaving the previous class.  Enter the dark room, lit by grapefruit-scented Soul Cycle candles and set up your bike wondering if the person before you was a little person given you raised the seat a full foot.  Begin to sweat profusely only two songs in and wonder how you will possibly make it through the class.  Tricep dips, tap backs and isolations on a solitary bike?  That’s new.  30 minutes later?  Congratulations, you’ve made it to weights.  Marvel at how he manages to make 2-pound weights feel like boulders.  Listen to him tell you “how you ride is how you live.”  Leave sweaty and invigorated and onto your next bankrupting habit –a $6.50 “Greens 2” from Pressed Juicery.

*Photos courtesy of Soul Cycle

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