a peek inside the fishbowl

24 Feb, 2010

Spinathon for Heart & Stroke: a summary from a spinning newbie

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

The other day I mentioned a spinathon fundraiser for Heart & Stroke to which I had been invited.

I ate a light lunch and showed up at the Kanata Leisure Centre at the appointed time. First thing: the waiver(s). It wasn’t until this point that I realized I didn’t bring my puffer. Oh dear.

I signed anyway, found Allison (my host), and got changed into my gym clothes.

I was fully dressed and totally pumped for action when she told me that I was to be biking with her ultimate team. (Translation: I’d be biking with FIT PEOPLE. Crap.)

Soon it was time for me to pick my bike. There is strategy involved here. I scanned the room. Bikes were spread out all over the place. To be at the front, near the instructor, well, that was just asking for trouble, not to mention the fact that I’d have 20 people staring at my butt.

One group was just coming off the bikes so I scoped out a lady about my size (so I wouldn’t have to do a lot of adjusting), waited until she wiped down her bike, and got on. This was near the back at the room. (To be at the VERY back, well, that just means you’re a slacker or that you’re hiding something.)

First observation: several people had weird little buckets placed right next to their bikes. Could these be barf buckets? Oh. No.

Second observation: the lady who had the bike before me must have had legs that were quite a bit longer than mine because the seat was WAY too high. I figured out how to lower the seat and brought it down a couple of inches. I figured that if my leg is extended on the pedal, my knee should be slightly bent, right? The pedals also had straps for my feet. This was new to me too.

Just as I was trying to figure this all out, my part of the spinathon started. The first song was Born to be Alive. Oh, I love that song. How fitting.

And then I started to feel it: serious crotch distress and possibly some CHAFING issues. Some of you commented on a sore butt, but no one mentioned how much it was going to hurt IN THAT OTHER PLACE. I looked at the clock. It seemed to be crawling. We were only NINE minutes in. How was I going to survive another 50?

And that’s when my saviour arrived. One of the co-organizers came over to introduce herself. I asked her if I had adjusted my bike correctly. She asked me to stop pedalling and she immediately lowered my seat another few inches. (I can’t imagine what that other lady was feeling – or maybe her va-jay-jay was numb by the end?)

Anyway, lowering my seat provided an immense relief and I knew I would be able to make it the rest of the hour.

The lady also showed me how to perform an emergency stop (it involved pushing the tension knob). I’m still not sure why I’d need to emergency stop, but apparently if I tried to stop with my pedals I’d be sent flying over the handlebars. THANK YOU KIND LADY.

Clearly, I am my own tension knob.

And that’s when I was finally able to focus on Mr. Hard Core spinning away right in front of me. He was going to be spinning for 12 HOURS to raise money for Heart & Stroke. (!) And next to Mr. HC, was SPOONSIE, a lass I’d met a few weeks previously at a food blogger event sponsored by the Chicken Farmers of Canada. (Yet another thing I haven’t written about, sorry.) She has a love of bacon that matches my own AND she is a triathlete.

I KNEW I was going to see someone I knew, it always happens to me. Whenever I am at my very worst (in this case, sweaty and without makeup and looking worn out beyond belief) I run into people I know. It’s the LAW and this LAW SHALL NOT BE BROKEN. EVER.

No, all kidding aside, it was ok.

I found the format of the class pretty interesting. (Remember, this was my first spinning class. I had no idea how this was going to work.) Pretend you’re chasing group #2, now they’re chasing you, you’re climbing a hill, pushing, standing up, sitting down, etc etc. I liked it.

I should mention that the spinathon was happening in a perfect little environment (for me). The music was loud, there were disco lights, and the overhead lights were turned down. (PERFECT!) Also, volunteers walked around with snacks and refilled water bottles. (!) I indulged in only one snack (part of a blueberry muffin) since I was only pedaling for an hour it didn’t make sense for me to stock up any more than that.

I spun my heart out and didn’t fall of the bike like I had feared. The event raised over $14,000 dollars for Heart & Stroke.

My takeaways:

1) I am glad there are people like Allison out there.

2) I might take up spinning. (!)

9 Responses to "Spinathon for Heart & Stroke: a summary from a spinning newbie"

1 | Lynn

February 24th, 2010 at 12:12 pm


What were the little buckets for????

2 | Amanda

February 24th, 2010 at 2:47 pm


Sounds like you had fun! Glad somebody helped you adjust your bike. When I previously commented your butt may be sore, it was my nice way of saying watch out “down there” for first time female spinners ;)

3 | Carly

February 24th, 2010 at 8:54 pm


I too need to know what the buckets were for!

4 | Finola

February 24th, 2010 at 9:18 pm


I haven’t done any spinning since before I had my kids….you make me want to take it up again too. Such a great workout!

5 | Allison

February 24th, 2010 at 10:10 pm


Mr. Hard Core went for a run at the end of it all, can you believe it?! And the buckets, hee, they were for garbage from snacks that were passed around – particularly for the longer riders – although there was lots of chatter about who would be sick, lol!

Thanks again for coming out, Andrea! It was great to meet you!

6 | Nadine C.

February 24th, 2010 at 10:28 pm


Congratulations on lasting that entire hour and this was your first time spinning? That’s incredible!!! In my 20’s , I was that one in the front by the teacher and as the decades went by , I found myself receding further and further to the back (of course it had everything to do with people starring at my butt and my face turning blue). It’s been quite a while since my last spinning class; I do remember a feeling of exhilaration in the earlier years but the feeling of “numbness” (as you’ve mentioned) and that of almost passing out was somehow always greater!Maybe if I had lowered my seat…

Were those “spitting” buckets?

7 | Chantal

February 25th, 2010 at 8:58 am


Good job and excellent fundraiser! I tried spinning 3 times and it just about killed me. I clearly remember the numb va-jayjay. I guess my seat was too high! Maybe some day I will try it again… maybe.

8 | Spoonsie

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:55 pm


Hahaha! I love how you referred to @isfalk as Mr. HC!

You did great that day!! Especially for the first spin!! And don’t worry about it. Sitting on that bike for over 6 hrs left me with some serious chaffing issues!

I hope you keep it up, its a great work out and I love that you decided to sign up for this and spin your heart away for a great cause!

Well done girlie!

9 | Big Blogs Thank you’s! « Isa on a Bike

June 6th, 2010 at 4:07 pm


[…] Peek Inside the Fish Bowl.  I had been following her online for some time up until I was doing the 12hr charity spin last February and there she was, drafting on the back left of my stationary bike!  You definitely have to start […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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