Every Tuesday morning, I attend my favorite spin class. I’m the only cyclist under the age of forty, and obviously the only American. The young Spanish teacher, now familiar with my face, lovingly refers to me as guiri (slang for foreigner). Class begins at 9:30, but the Spaniards casually roll-in twenty minutes late – here, time, especially exact time, is nothing but a suggestion.
The American music bumps throughout the neighborhood gym, shaking the spin room’s walls. I’ve never felt more motivated. The class sings along to Gaga and JT, belting in their best attempts at “English” lyrics. Without air conditioning, sweat streams from our foreheads to the uneven wooden floors. Sigue. Sigue. Sigue.
An older man, my favorite class character, screams at the teacher. Nada más! AYE! AYE! AYE! Madre mía! His pot belly hangs over his short shorts, jiggly as the RPMs creep higher and higher. He jokingly grunts with each increase in resistance. A characteristic fuzzy red sweatband sits, like a crown, upon his head. The “King” keeps me pedaling.
The beat drops. ARRIBBBA! The teacher screams and signals the sprint. My legs have never moved faster.