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Girl on an adventure: the trip

Good’s wellness writer Rachel Grunwell is gearing up (literally) for her latest adventure – a 100km bike ride from Christchurch to Akaroa on March 25. Check out her latest blog in this series about the challenge ahead.

I’m in San Francisco, Northern California, cycling around the streets, sweat-soaked and on the ride of my life.

Huffing and puffing, but with eyes alert, I’m savouring looking at the beautiful colourful Californian houses, cable cars and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in this northern California wonderland…

I’m transported to a different world. Literally.

Welcome to ‘The Trip’, a stationary cycle class at Les Mills - where you watch a giant movie screen and are transported to different cities like San Francisco, to dream-like, Mars-like worlds and “trippy” planets.

Training in this “virtual world” has been one of my favourite ways to train for the LeRace event. And this statement means something. I’ve tried hundreds of different fitness classes throughout the years in my work as a health and fitness columnist and I haven’t loved a lot of classes this much. I’ll tell you about being a fitness columnist, or rather guinea pig, for a newspaper another time “chuckle” …

Back to ‘The Trip’. It’s a 40-minute stationary cycle class where an instructor leads you through virtual worlds. It’s a great way to work out if you are a cyclist. It’s safe because there’s no traffic. There’s no rain! It’s cooled and so on a hot scorching day outside you can avoid sunburn. And it can challenge you to work hard and fast in a short space of time because the instructor guides you on pedalling harder, faster and changing up your workout. The instructor drives you hard. And I mean H. A.R.D.

It’s also a lot of fun because music booms. You’re also beside a roomful of other cyclists who are being tortured as much as you. This is comforting! Working out alone can be lonely and boring sometimes. So seeing other grimace-faces make me feel at home.

The Trip is also visually stimulating. On the class I did with Amy this week (she’s the cool chick pictured to my right) we went through San Francisco and through a virtual world of giant mushrooms and a red planet. It’s so real that I felt like ducking when my “bike” went through a virtual waterfall and I gulped when the virtual rollercoaster ride I was on suddenly disappeared…

The music keeps you motivated to move at pace. And Amy’s humour during the class is refreshing.

“You can talk or check your Facebook during the class. That’s okay! This is not a movie theatre or a library,” she quips. Then she’s back to yelling “let’s go faster!"

Amy drives me during the class like a machine. I’m dripping in sweat everywhere and I can feel a constant trickle down my arms, chin and my top is drenched. Ew! My body feels like it’s melting butter in a microwave. So, I’m working my ass off. Literally.

My coach Richard Greer from Team CP says these classes help me to get stronger for my event.  He’s a big fan of gym cycle classes too because it’s a gutsy workout that’s time-efficient. That’s why he puts one of these classes in my training schedule weekly.

If you haven’t tried one of these cycle classes, you should. They’re out-of-this-world cool and an incredible workout. And they will kick your butt! 

Rachel is Good’s wellness columnist and the director of the lifestyle website . Follow her on Inspired Health’s Facebook and Instagram