She wanted to fly in to cycle with her younger sibling–but it would take a miracle.
Posted in , Jun 4, 2015
I didn’t understand the mysterious appeal of SoulCycle, the fitness craze that’s sweeping the nation. As far as I knew, it was just a bunch of people riding stationary bikes in a dimly-lit room—for up to $34 dollars a class. But then I saw the effect it had on my younger cousin, Lexi.
She’d always been an athlete, but SoulCycle gave her more than a good sweat—it gave her a purpose. After college, she’d struggled to find a passion, a career. She found it in that dimly-lit room. SoulCycle bills itself as an inspiring community, and for Lexi, that was true. Encouraged by an instructor who took her under his wing, she decided to become an instructor herself.
Out of hundreds of applicants, Lexi was chosen for SoulCycle’s eight-week training program in New York City. Only a dozen or so would make the final cut.
The program was intense—multiple rides a day to practice different exercises on the bike, hours learning how to choose the right “pump up” and “cool down” music for each session’s playlist, classes on how each instructor can improve their motivational skills and stern critiques of their performance.
A big milestone for Lexi was her first “community ride,” her first chance to lead a class. Of course, the whole family wanted to ride with her, but at 1:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, that was tough. Especially for Lexi’s sister, Leigh, living in California.
“I have to be there,” Leigh told me, even though she couldn’t afford to take more than a day off work. I called her crazy, but Leigh was determined to fly out Monday night, cycle with Lexi, then fly back home after.
On Monday, a storm struck New York. Leigh’s connecting flight in Charlotte was delayed, delayed again, then cancelled. The next flight she could get would arrive too late for Lexi’s class.
After a silent prayer, Leigh begged the gate agent to find some way to be there for her sister.
“One seat just popped up for a flight leaving now,” the gate agent said, “You might make it before they close the door.”
Leigh ran faster than she ever had before. She reached the plane just in time. Last one on.
From her hotel room the next day, Leigh sent me a text message. After she had checked in the hotel the night before, she ordered dinner and a Diet Coke.
Check out the photo she sent, of the word printed on her soda can: Soulmate.
Coincidence? Or Mysterious Ways? Leigh took it as a sign: Someone knew how much it meant for her to SoulCycle with her sister.
I went to Lexi’s class, and now I get the SoulCycle hype. Lexi led us up imaginary hills and spurred us to keep up with the furious beat of the songs she’d chosen. My whole body’s still sore—in a rewarding way.
What strange signs or last-minute aid helped you be there for the ones you love? Share your story with us.