Where do I even begin when it comes to sharing about this weekend in NYC?
When I first purchased my Peloton Bike, I was in love. I had taken spin classes at the YMCA for years but this was different. Not only could I exercise in my own home but whenever I wanted to. As a mom of four children, this was such a game changer for me. As I explored more of the bike and the classes offered, I discovered Power Zone classes. The short description of PZ classes is that you ride in 7 zones on the bike instead of a set cadence/resistance and it's as close to personal training as you can get without actually having a personal trainer.
A member of the Peloton community helped to create a subgroup where she forms Power Zone challenges. During these 8 week challenges, you are put into a facebook group where you ride specific classes to help improve your fitness. You finish as a team and they have fun themes to help keep it interesting and enjoyable. It's a really motivating way to keep active on the bike, meet new people and to see how amazing the Peloton community can be.
I chose a four ride group for my first challenge and I had no idea how much that would change my life. The challenge itself was awesome but we bonded as a team and kept in contact after the challenge was over. Our dedication to each other was cemented after one of the members shared a specifically challenging situation and members reached out with numbers and offering support. We now text daily via WhatsApp and support each other.
We planned to all meet in NYC this year to ride in the studio. Not only would this be our first time meeting each other but we would also be celebrating milestones on our bikes. We flew in from all over to meet each other: VA, TX, CA, FL, CT, IL & even Mexico!
I am a very shy and introverted person at my core. This trip terrified me. Here I was flying to NYC to meet 14 people that I had never met and only knew online. It sounded crazy but I was excited. After a terrifying flying experience (yes, I was that one person crying on the plane!) I finally had to chance to meet my friends. We have affectionally called ourselves the Peloton Besties and use a unicorn emoji to find ourselves easily on the leaderboard. One member created amazing customized tank tops to wear for our milestone rides in the studio. Once we were all together, it was like we had been friends for much longer than just over a year.
We all come from different walks in life, different careers, different religions - but we all bonded together.
This was my very first in studio ride and it was even more than I could have imagined. When you are riding at home (live or on demand) you see your coaches on the screen and follow their cues. In the studio, they are super close and it's surreal. Our Unicorn crew was in the front row of the ride and the energy during that ride was just spectacular! I was hooked!
After the ride was over, we showered quickly and walked over to Forager's Market to have dinner with Angie (the member who puts the challenges together) and Matt Wilpers! I was over the moon excited to finally meet one of my favorite coaches! The way that Matt coaches resonates with me on so many levels. Now, I was sitting right across from him and sharing a meal in NYC with everyone. In one day, I had overcome my fear of flying and traveling to now sitting down with someone whom I admire.
I am so lucky.
I am so thankful that both of them took the time out to sit with us. It's such a meaningful moment for all of us. Matt patiently sat through tons of questions and offered up priceless advice. Both Angie and Matt were so gracious with their time and this is a moment that will forever be so memorable to me. I was able to sit at a table, surrounded by my best friends and my favorite coach in one of my favorite cities.
This night was the embodiment of how community based Peloton really is.
It's more than a bike.
People joke after the commercial they aired and how it's a bike that goes nowhere but for me, this bike brought me all the way to NYC with these people for this moment.
That is what it's all about.
The next day, we all walked back to the studio for the big ride we were excited for.
Today, we were going to ride Matt Wilper's 60 min Power Zone Endurance ride. We were all in the front row and excited to experience such a great ride together. The coaches for Peloton try to give shout outs to celebrate milestone rides. A lot of us in the group had milestones, including Karen, who was riding her 1000 th ride! I was only hitting my 250 th ride but I was celebrating in the best place possible. During the ride, I pushed way harder that I needed to but the energy was electric. In studio rides are fabulous! Matt was kind enough to call out our milestones, including mine! When I go back to take that ride again on my home bike, I will be able to listen to my shout out and that is such a cool thing for me! He called out our Unicorn Tribe and explained how important these relationships are. We hold each other accountable and that is what it's all about!
Afterwards, Matt posed for photos with us to celebrate the moment. He is really such a kind, humble and genuine person. This is my only experience meeting someone that I admire and I was not disappointed. I can see why he takes so much pride in his athletes and changing people's lives. What a great career to have, doing something you are truly drawn to.
That night, we toured Time Square, visited the One World Observatory and then met up in one of the hotel rooms for a pajama party. We sipped on Mexican tequila that Wanda had brought from home, exchanged gifts, enjoyed Lombardi's Pizza and chatted until the wee hours of morning. We knew our time was coming to a close.
Meeting these women changed my life.
I have a tribeof women who I can call my own. Together, we help each other stand up when the others need it, cheer each other on when happy times are here and support when the tears flow during sad moments. We are more than just a group of women who met on a bike in our own homes. We have become best friends and plan on making this an annual tradition!
I am so thankful for all of the help, support and love these women have showed me. They didn't ridicule me for my fears and they loved me when I was at my lowest. To find people that understand me is such a gift and I am beyond thankful for this group.
It's astounding to me that we were all placed in a 4 ride group for the challenge, at random, and it has lead to such amazing things.
On my last day in NYC, my husband and I just decided to walk and see where we landed.
We ended up in Chinatown. We heard drums, music and people celebrating and had no idea what was going on. It turned out that we were right in the middle of a parade to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year! The streets were beyond packed but the celebration was quite amazing. This was my second favorite moment from the trip overall.
Afterwards, we enjoyed Chinese food from Wo Hop in Chinatown. It has been open since 1938 and the food was so delicious. It was unlike any other Chinese food I had ever had!
We then spent the rest of the day exploring all over NYC, including Little Italy. We stopped at some shops for gifts for the kids, visited Soho and admired all of the street art. We ended our time in NYC at the American Museum of Natural History. There was no way that we could have walked through this in the short time that we had. We enjoyed learning about ocean life, different cultures around the world, asteroids, animals and more. It was pretty amazing the amount of work that museum has put into it's exhibits.
We landed back home at around 11:30pm. I was so excited be home and to finally see my children again.
This trip has been....much needed in so many ways.
It was a refresher for my soul and I learned so many things about myself.
I realized that it's okay to do things that make me feel uncomfortable. Putting myself out there more can lead to amazing things.
I am stronger than I realize. I exercised hard on the bike and then walked all around NYC for days. Although I am tired, I did it. I should give myself more credit.
I love spending time with my husband. Having that last day together to explore the city was so precious to me. We enjoyed ourselves without children, work or life. We look forward to more trips like this in the future.
Thank you to Matt & Angie for being so generous with your time and meeting us for dinner. We are all beyond grateful for everything.
Thank you to my Peloton Besties, or as Matt called us, the Unicorn Ladies.
You all have changed my life in many ways. Thank you for accepting me and helping me when I needed it. You guys mean more to me than you could ever possibly know.