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This Rider's Turn It Up Journey Is Next-Level Inspiring

ign-ups for this fall's Turn It Up challenge are now open! As we get ready to tap it back in 10, 20, or 30 classes in 30 days, take a look back at this incredible TIU story from 22-year-old Alyssa Tanorie, who completed the challenge and found love, healing, and happiness along the way.

My SOUL journey began in February 2015, when I participated in a charity ride taught by DANIELLE at PASADENA. The feeling of community, the sense of encouragement, and the butt-kicking cardio party got me hooked.

I tapped it back regularly for almost six months. Then, I tapered off into what would become a yearlong hiatus. I’d become distracted. I met a guy (let’s call him “Dream Man”), fell deeply for him and began planning my future with him.

Part of that future included a big decision to move closer to him after I was offered an exciting career opportunity in Houston. It seemed perfect — not only because it would allow me to use my degree in film and media studies, but also because I'd be in the same place as Dream Man. We could finally erase the distance between us. Then, on the cusp of me flying out to Texas to begin this big new chapter, our relationship crumbled. I was heartbroken. Shattered. Devastated. I couldn’t bear the thought of living there, without any family or friends, knowing he’d already moved on with someone else.

In retrospect, I’d been feeling inexplicably sad and just “off” for months… early warning signs of depression, I know now. But this blow knocked me down. I lost all hope and purpose. I felt consumed by a tsunami-sized wave of despair that I couldn’t control. I stopped eating. I stopped sleeping. I cried every day.

A few weeks later, in a desperate moment of weakness, I overdosed on my antidepressants and was hospitalized, eventually moving to the psychiatric ward and placed on suicide watch. It was a dark time. I knew I wanted to heal in the outside world, with my family and my friends, not in a hospital, and worked hard to get better. I’ll never forget how amazing the sun felt on my face on the day I was finally discharged.

When I returned home, there was email from SoulCycle in my inbox announcing the Turn It Up 20 challenge. I thought back to 2015, when I had clipped in on at least a weekly basis. I remembered the love I felt in the studio, the sense of belonging and the high of endorphins that carried me through my day. I signed up even though I didn't really believe I would complete all 20 rides in 30 days. But I was eager to return to something I’d enjoyed so much, and I was hopeful about recapturing a fraction of those happy feelings that I hadn’t experienced in such a long time.

Going back to NEWPORT BEACH for the first time in over a year wasn’t easy… after all, I’d met Dream Man right across the street from the studio. But I pushed those feelings aside and reminded myself how happy and triumphant SoulCycle used to make me feel. I had to work to regain my stamina, sure… but pouring out all my negative feelings and turning it into constructive energy on the bike was the best release.

After my homecoming ride, I decided to fully commit to Turn It Up 20. With all the pain and loneliness I’d been feeling, I knew that riding with the pack and aiming for a goal would not only keep me busy and distracted, but improve my physical and mental health as well.

I still have bad days, but having SoulCycle as an outlet for my depression is helping me, and it's encouraged me to connect with people again. It is so much easier to heal when you’re surrounded by riders who are facing their own struggles.

I’d like to thank instructors LINDSEY S., SUMNER, ALEXA, JOEY D., and DANIELLE for helping me come back from one of the hardest seasons of my life. I’m still learning to adjust to my new reality through counseling and medication. The heartbreak feels fresh. The loneliness hits me from time to time. The waves of sadness are still there. I know it’s going to be a long road. But when I’m clipped in at SoulCycle, pedaling through pain and resistance, that road doesn’t seem so rocky.

I completed ride 20 out of 20 on Friday, November 11th, 2016 with Danielle. I feel triumphant that I achieved my goal. And I feel triumphant to be alive.

Feeling inspired to ride? Grab a series HERE. Ready to Turn It Up? Sign up for the challenge HERE.

Article by Alyssa Tanorie
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