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That's the Nitty Gritty in Ashland City: Tour de France

While enjoying a long weekend in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, I took a spin class at the lodge’s adjacent athletic club. I needed to mitigate the damage caused by the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet - one that contained every breakfast item known to man from lox and bagels to grits and sawmill gravy, Belgium waffles to Spanish omelets, doughnuts to granola. It had it all.

After a day touring America’s biggest house, the Biltmore, I went to the nearby Asheville Athletic Club for a spin class advertised in the lodge’s list of amenities.

I got there right as the class was starting. The lights were already dimmed. Now, if you haven’t taken a spin class, let me explain. Basically, there are rows of stationary bikes lined up in a dimly lit room. Why dim lighting? Probably, so the others don’t see you sweating, grunting, and gasping for air. You hop on your bike and pedal your legs off, all while listening to the instructor shout commands over blaring music.

As class got underway, I realized we were situated in front of a wall completely covered by mirrors. I had never seen myself spin before. None of my spin classes back home have mirrors in them. I was shocked at what I saw. I was pedaling like a machine, comparatively speaking. I glanced around the room nonchalantly surveying the silhouettes in the darkened room and you know what? I was kicking everyone’s butt. The lean lady dressed in a black racer-back tank, probably some stock broker’s trophy wife. The tall earthy guy more than likely one of those granola, recycling, Birkenstock-wearing types. The curly-haired guy closest to the blonde ponytailed teacher who kept flirting shamelessly with her. The lady about my same build struggling to keep up.

I was throwing down. Lance Armstrong didn’t have nothing on me. I was giving it all I had, and these poor people looked like their legs were gonna give out at any moment. As I watched me smoke what I had deemed the competition, I thought about how far I had come since my first spin class where I thought I might just die. Now, here I was, out-pedaling every single person in class- including the instructor.

I was fierce. I watched myself in the mirror noticing how my athletic legs pumped the pedals, how my breathing was deep and steady, how my arms were beginning to show signs of muscle definition. Who would have thought it? I was untouchable, unstoppable, undeniably the best in the class. In my mind, I might as well have just won the Tour de France. I had smoked the competition.

With class over, the lights came on. That’s when I saw it, the sign that quickly ended my short-lived victory. “Silver Sneakers Spin.” My so-called competition were all over the age of 70, senior citizens, elderly, long in the tooth, whatever you want to call it. They were old as Methuselah. The svelte lady in the black racer-back, the tall tan gentlemen to my left, every last one of them.

Except for the instructor. She looked to be my age. I took that chick to school.

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