A Spinning Success
Featured in Competitor Magazine: Roll Models "Four southern Californians prove that cycling can be life-changing— whether it’s indoors, in the mountains, in a triathlon or on a $100 commuter bike"
By Roy M. Wallack of Competitor Magazine http://competitor.com/
Spinning has been very good for Bryon Black, a 47-year-old IT manager from Carlsbad. It’s transformed him from an angry, 240-pound vodka-swigging couch surfer into an inspirational, super- fit 185-pound role model who’s raised huge sums for charity, become an accomplished cyclist and, as an instructor and leader, inspires in- door and outdoor riders to greatness on a daily basis.
Like many, Black did nothing athletic for years after an active college life. Alarmed by his bulk after a decade of “kind of turning into a housewife,” he started attending a gym, Club 1 (now Frog’s), and one day discovered Spinning class. “I wanted to puke after four minutes, but I was hooked,” he says. “Soon, as I got fitter and fitter, I became a fanatic.”
He attended Spin class nearly every day. He did back-to-back Spins. He became an instructor. He met Johnny G, the guru of Spin- ning. Spinning even became his social network. But after a few years, he began to wonder: Is this all there is?
“My wife went through the transformation with me,” Black says, “but eventually she left the cult for running because she was tired of being indoors. I understood. My friend Jim Karanas, the chief fitness officer of Club 1, told me, ‘If you want to get any better as an instructor and an athlete, you need to go outdoors.’ My first rides proved he was right.”
He joined the famous Swamis Road Racing club. He did a lot of centuries. He did the Solvang Double Century. He rode eight to 12 hours a week, in addition to three hours of Spinning. In 2007, he started racing, and reeled off a 28:11 time trial a year later at the Fiesta 20K time trial, winning his category.
Best of all, Black gave back. He took what he learned on the road back into class. “It’s so satisfying to see people grow,” he says. He taught his Spinners how to suffer, how to keep focused and then how to do as he did and take it outside. In 2006, he served as a group leader for the Qualcomm Million Dollar Challenge in which 100 cyclists (raising at least $10,000 each for the Challenged Athletes Foun- dation) rode 620 miles from San Francisco to San Diego.
Now Black has added the upper-body Krankcycle, Johnny G’s lat- est exercise-to-the-music sensation, to his repertoire. “It hooks you even more than Spinning,” he says.
When he has time to take a breath, Black is amazed at his transformation. “I used to be angry—but not anymore,” he says. “The Spinning, the cycling and the Kranking takes all that wasted heat and energy and uses it in a positive way.”
Photo by: Mark Johnson of ironstring.com/