Every now and then, you take a ride that rocks you to the core and stirs your Soul. Rockstar GREGG BARD spontaneously wrote and shared this beautiful post about his first Soul Challenge with Stacey Griffith (and we felt it definitely warranted re-posting on the Soul Blog!) Thank you Gregg -- accounts like these remind us why we do what we do.
This past Monday, was a night of many firsts for me. My first ride with Stacey Griffith, my first SoulChallenge (a 90-minute ride) and my first appearance in the newly renovated Upper East Side studio.
What I can say with 100% confidence, this was one of the top rides I have ever experienced at SoulCycle. One interesting thing to note is it had absolutely nothing to do with the actual ride, yet everything to do with the actual ride. Don’t ask me to explain that, as I won’t. I can't. IT JUST IS. I sat back row for this ride. This is not my usual bike # 2, where I can be found in TriBeca any given day of the week. But from time to time, I love sitting in the bleachers. I find I can absorb the energy of a class better when looking at it as a whole, a tribe, a team, a family.
What I look forward to the most is that special thing each instructor brings to his or her class. Whether it be a Charlee Party, Bethany’s Awesomely Happy Hour, ColeCycle, Kym’s Sick Abs, Sue’s tunes (from what I hear, I promise to make my way to the UWS soon), Lori’s skull crushing screams, Ayana’s voice, Janet’s guidance, Melanie’s courage, Christine’s tears, String’s challenges, Lindy’s fierceness, Lindsay’s smile, Daniel’s frankness, Jolie’s flava, Crago’s Shakes & Shacks, Jeremy’s smoothness, Rique’s climbs (and little turns to the right), Danny’s acrobatic antics, Lauren’s chillness not to mention absolute pure love for Danny and vice versa (we all see and are all jealous of), Ben T’s, well I hate Ben T ever since he made me curl four 3’s in a charity ride (j/k I wish he was in TriBeca more cause HE GETS IT) and of course, how can I forget Jenny (GoddessJ) who owns my soul but we’ll save that story for another day. So what did I get with Stacey? It’s simple actually. A reminder of why I started riding at SoulCycle in the first place and more importantly, a reminder of why SoulCycle has a place in my heart, and always will.
Ten seconds into Stacey’s ride, I knew. It was an AHHHHHH MOMENT. I knew this wasn’t just going to be a 90-minute ride. It was going to be special. I knew all of three people in that studio, but after 10 seconds I felt like I was with a family of 72. The whole ride was quite surreal. “DON”T WIPE THE SWEAT OFF YOUR FACE TONIGHT” was the demand of the evening. I obliged thinking sweat is nothing more than battle scars and tonight was going to be one hell of a battle. The music to start totally set the tone. It relaxed us. It calmed us. It called to us. Deep deep within. Eyes closed. Minds empty.
Beats pounding. It began. One of the more memorable moments of the ride was the 30 seconds of silence. Not a sound, just the wheels spinning. This happens from time to time in all SoulCycle classes and it always is my favorite part. It’s a reminder that once upon a time there were no cell phones. There were no Blackberry’s. No TV’s. Not even cars. Family & friends were first and foremost. Everything else was secondary. It always reminds me of a simple time. Although always rather quick, the silence seems to last an eternity. I love it. Close your eyes. Picture the silence. Nice, right?
Back to the ride. As mentioned prior, this was my first trip to the UES studio. All I have to say is WOW! Strobe lights. Disco BALLZ and a locker room that would make Puff Daddy jealous. I can only hope one-day all the SoulCycle studios replicate the UES studio’s greatness.
“CLOSE YOUR EYES. ALL OF YOU. TRUST ME. KEEP THEM CLOSED.” I admit, I have bad ADD. Keeping my eyes closed is not easy. CVDUB always asked, “Do you keep your eyes open when you have a first kiss? Well you should always have your eyes closed for the first song in any SoulCycle class.” I will always remember her asking that every time an instructor asks me to close my eyes. 30 seconds in, I always fail. This time around I was determined to keep my head down and eyes wide shut. About a minute in I felt someone else’s hand on mine. Remember, I’m in the back row. As I firmly gripped the bike handle determined not to open my eyes, all I heard was, “lift your hand up.” And I did. A bracelet was slipped onto my wrist that read #wecrushedtheridewithsg. Surviving this 90-minute ride would have been awesome enough, but I earned my stripes in Stacey’s 90-minute class. More to the point, she was watching everyone. She cared. She was responsible for us.
So as with any ride, it had to end. “LET'S GO HOME.” And home we rode. Eyes closed once again. This ride was all about fitness and this ride was nothing about fitness. This ride was about something greater than us all. You want proof? It was raining as we exited the studio. Sunny at 7 pm. Pouring rain at 9pm. I love rain. I’m not a religious person by any means but I think rain is a gift from God. It cleanses, it refreshes and propagates growth of beautiful things. I get excited when it rains and it was raining. Stacey, I won’t share with the world what I told you after class but what I will share is this. THANK YOU FOR THIS MEMORY. I hope each and every one of you, whether it be with Stacey or with one of the other extremely capable instructors, gets to experience what 70 something others experienced on this past Monday night in a studio on the corner of Third Avenue and 83rd in New York City... #wecrushedtheridewithsg
-- Gregg Bard (@GBofNYC)
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