My aversion to indoor cycling has been well documented in my blog.  It was not until recently, under duress from my friend Trevor that I reluctantly hauled out my trainer and travelled the road to nowhere in hopes of improving my cycling prowess. I’m happy to say that not only was I rewarded for my efforts by a great start to the Time Trial season, I also took my new found fondness of indoor cycling to the next level by becoming a certified C.O.R.E. instructor.

While this may seem like quite a leap in a very short time, it has in fact been something Sarah and I discussed often to give me something productive to do over the summer. In summers past I’ve filled my time as a camp coordinator and martial arts instructor. But the last few seasons have been training, competing and then recuperating from training and competing, I figured it was time to try something new.

I came across C.O.R.E. Cycling after wandering into In Gear Studio on Main Street in Newmarket. The instructor told me about the various forms of certification and where they are recognized. On his recommendation I contacted C.O.R.E. and after a brief conversation with co-owner and head instructor Clair Cafaro I decided to take a chance and sign up. Am I ever glad I did!

Although few and very far between, my past experiences with indoor cycling classes were not positive ones. Granted I can now look back and say the lack of success stemming from my first encounter was due more to my diet of extra-large pizzas and bags of chips than to a poor class.  The second experience of doing pushups over the handlebars however can definitely be blamed on the class! I shared my concerns with Clair and confessed that I was not an indoor trainer kind of guy. To my surprise, she was very happy to hear that.  Because C.O.R.E. Cycling is run by cyclists for cyclists, the fact that I had not picked up any bad habits from other indoor training was a definite bonus in her eyes.

After spending a few weeks reviewing the very extensive binder provided by C.O.R.E. outlining the theory behind indoor cycling, the physiology that goes into it and the essential components of a safe, enjoyable and practical training session, I was ready for application. The training and certification took place over two very long but gratifying days. The facility was great, but more importantly, Clair, her two instructors Joe and Karl, and the other students were fantastic.

Our Saturday started at 8:30 am.  After a brief introduction we were on the bikes going through an hour class led by Clair. The rest of the day was spent on and off the bike, putting theory to the test and starting to design a lesson of our own. We finished the day as we started, on the bikes, with each of us taking a turn leading the class through a cycling drill.  Then it was time to head home. No rest for the wicked though, as the next few hours were spent composing the next day’s ride for the practical exam.

Sunday’s class started at noon, but the refreshed feeling of a sleep-in didn’t last long. We were right back on the bikes, earphones in, and feet spinning to the beat. For the next few hours the class rode shoulder to shoulder without saying a word as each of us were plugged in and focused on our ride. Other than the odd mumble or scratch of pen to paper, the only sound emanating from the studio was the hum of six flywheels.

After a one on one consultation with the instructors to go over and fine tune the ride, we were ready to go.   Thanks to the leadership of Clair, Joe, and Karl, the confidence to get up in front of the class was evident in each one of us. As we took turn on the podium, the rest of the class showed their respect by following along and giving it all they had! Sure there were a few hiccups; a missed cue here, a dropped device there, but not once did anyone stray from their path.

Finally, after 100+ minutes of looking up at the podium, it was my turn to lead.  I had my music, I had my timer, I was ready to go!

I forgot to start my timer, my music device kept slipping into sleep mode, it was not how I planned it. I would say that the idiom “Never let them see you sweat” would apply here, but since I was leaving a puddle deep enough to attract ducks under me; let’s go with “The show must go on”.  I lead the class through a 20 minute ride covering warm up, a journey over rolling hills, and ending with a 9 minute steady climb that broke into a sprint to the top! It was exhilarating!

We gathered our gear and met upstairs for a group photo and debriefing. The last step in the process would be to complete the theory exam.   We had given it all over the two days. Butts were sore, legs were burning, but mouths were smiling! It really was an amazing experience.

Had I encountered an instructor oh so many years ago that had the same dedication to indoor cycling I discovered with C.O.R.E. Cycling instructors, my appreciation and enjoyment of training may have started way back then. Thank you to Clair, Joe, and Karl for all your guidance. Thank you to Vic, Alex, Sam, Cortney, and Mirella for your support and encouragement throughout the course! And for putting up with the flip-phone, sweat, bad jokes, and music choice!  

And speaking of music choice…if you are wondering what music I chose to lead my ride, you’ll just have to come out to one of my classes!

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You can trust me, I’m an instructor!

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