RHINELANDER - It's barely 6 a.m. on Wednesday, and this group is already breathing hard.
About a dozen members of the YMCA of the Northwoods pedal fast and slow, their bike shoes spinning up and down.
Judi Linder is drenched in sweat. But class members like her keep coming back.
"It's been seven-plus years that I've been doing Sue's spin class," Linder says.
She's talking about Sue Koch who has led spinning classes for more than a decade.
"Once you start, you get hooked," Koch says.
Koch is the one pushing Linder, and other cyclists, to roll out of bed instead of hitting the snooze button.
"You get here, you're half asleep, you get the workout over, and your day is all yours," says Linder. "It's really a great way to wake up."
The class says it loves the early-morning workout, but they like something else about the sessions even more.
"The people keep me coming back, too, because you don't want to miss your buddies and friends and say hello in the morning," Linder says.
"Look at my class," agrees Koch. "Just a wonderful bunch of people."
Through hard breathing, they laugh. Through beads of sweat, they smile. They solve each other's problems--like helping plan one member's wedding.
"All he had to do was let his fiancé know that it's all set to go," Koch says with a laugh.
Koch says she's found spinning classes other places. But she's never found that kind of bond, that kind of spirit, anywhere other than the YMCA.
As she saw the Y's Annual Support Campaign coming up this year, she thought the class would feel passionate about the cause.
"I just brought it up one day, and without a blink of an eye, my class was right on," Koch says. "They're like, 'Yeah, absolutely.'"
The class collected money for the campaign, which raises money, in part, for scholarships allowing low-income Northwoods families to use the Y.
"That was really cool," Linder says. "It was really neat. It made us feel like a group and a team."
That group, that team, plans to keep cycling away. And their passion for the YMCA of the Northwoods promises to keep spinning--even after class time is over.
The YMCA's Annual Support Campaign continues this spring. To get involved, visit the link below.
YMCA of the Northwoods Annual Support Campaign