Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

Went back to Grossmont this morning to catch Steve K.  Could’ve caught him yesterday at Rancho San Diego, but I refuse not to sleep in on my first real day off. By ‘real day off,’ I mean a day of no work with another to follow. So yesterday, I ended up taking Timothy’s class at Imperial. What a gray day it was! The sky looked like dishwater. Was half afraid it would rain, but it did not. Timothy was a different animal. He warmed us up for 10 minutes of seated flat road style resistance, then punished us for the remainder of the hour. He’s very big on standing up straight and pedaling with no head and shoulder movement.

“Position 2,” he calls it.

It’s tortuous, and the Geneva Convention should look into it. But we all went along for the ride. At the forty-five minute mark, my right toes started cramping so bad I had to stop several times, and literally limped across the finish. Dialing the resistance down a bit, I was able to huff it out, but just barely. It made me feel old. It made me think of Tommy–the tall, skinny, shave-headed, bespeckled guy who spins at Grossmont. Tommy always starts the class, and seems to want to keep up, but he never finishes. Is that to be my fate? An old, broken down version of an athlete who only gets points for making an appearance, for putting up an effort, no matter how predeterminably doomed it may be?

And yet lo, Tommy made it out this morning for Steve K.  Cranking out ab crunches with a view of the parking lot, I saw him come up the walkway. An older, gray-headed man came down the walkway, leaving the gym as Tommy was coming up. Tommy greeted him and they exchanged cordialities in passing. Tommy seems to be well-liked and moves well amongst the gym population.

We all set up our bikes and began grinding away. Steve K. did give out his usual “this class is different, it’s more like an actual road ride” spiel. He doesn’t dispense this speech at Rancho anymore unless he sees enough new faces in the crowd. He did make us work, but nothing like his fabled Wednesday class. Getting kind of sick of hearing that class put up on a pedestal.

Tommy vanished around the halfway point again. I didn’t see him leave this time. Usually, I spot him as he dismounts and rolls his bike back against the wall.

After fifty minutes of fitful torture, Steve K. made one last reference to his Wednesday class.

“Back off the resistance and flush those legs out,” he said, still pumping away himself.

“If this was my regular Wednesday class,” he added, “I’d make you keep going.”



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