Event Recap: Never Alone Fitness and Ride of a Lifetime: By Mike Courteau

It’s either a sign that I have recovered from my recent knee injury (more on that in Part II of “Things Fall Apart”) or that I cannot keep myself off the bike, but I participated in two demanding indoor cycling events last weekend.

On Saturday, March 3rd, I participated in the inaugural spin class at Never Alone Fitness, which is a new facility in St. Paul that, according to its website, strives “to provide high quality exercise services with a focus on the individual, not the bottom line.”

Founder, fitness expert and former Minnesota Viking Walker Lee Ashley invited me to attend Saturday’s one-hour studio ride. As I have come to expect from Walker’s classes, the pace was rigorous and designed for participants to work through a variety of fitness zones starting with a moderate, fat-burning pace well below lactate threshold and culminating in a lung-searing, quad-burning sprint to the finish.

Walker’s spin classes have long been my favorites because he imbues each workout with positive reinforcement and by emphasizing community: “This is not a competition. We are a family. We are a community. All that we ask is that you do your best.”

If you are looking for a more intimate workout setting than can be found at the large, commercial gyms in town, I highly recommend giving Never Alone Fitness a try. For the rest of March, Walker is offering free indoor cycling classes with no obligation. He said, “Tell your friends to come down and check us out. If they like what they see and want to keep coming back, great. If they don’t, that’s okay too. I’m in no hurry. I want to put down roots and see what this tree looks like a year from now.”

For more information, check out Never Alone Fitness’s website neveralonefitness.com or find them on facebook at Never Alone Fitness, LLC.

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On Sunday, March 4th, I participated in the third annual Ride of a Lifetime, which is a two-hour indoor cycling event that typically boasts around a thousand riders. For the second consecutive year, the event was held at the RiverCentre in St. Paul.

The class was led by Lifetime Fitness’s founder Bahram Akradi along with a cadre of indoor cycling instructors from a number of the company’s locations across the Twin Cities metro area.

Participants were challenged by a series of exercises while a live deejay and percussionist provided a steady foundation a beats to keep the thousand pedals churning.

In addition to the music, a Michael Jackson impersonator and dance troupe took the stage about thirty minutes into the ride and performed a mix of dance routines to classic Jackson songs including “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller.”

By the end of the grueling, two-hour spin class, my legs were on fire, my cycling kit was ringing with sweat, and the man in the mirror was thinner.

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