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Early morning cycling class a big hit

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Students in the TCU rec center's early morning cycling class hop onto their bikes as early as 6 a.m. (TCU 360/Veronica Laborde)

Students in the TCU rec center's early morning cycling class hop onto their bikes as early as 6 a.m. (TCU 360/Veronica Laborde)

At 5:59 a.m. Thursday, twenty students and community members waited anxiously in the lobby of the University Recreation Center for the front desk to open.

The 6 a.m. cycling class is notorious for drawing an unusually large crowd with some feisty people, several Rec Center staff said.

“I had one girl snapping at me wanting me to get her a class pass, so she could get down there,” Effie Bates, senior kinesiology major and Rec Center employee, said. 

Exactly at 6 a.m., everyone pushed forward as Rec Center employees swiped the first ID. Within two minutes, half the bikes were taken. Rec Center employee Audrey Swanson stood by the door to make sure people were not saving seats. 

For senior nursing major Kelsey Williams, Thursday was her first time to attend the 6 a.m. cycling class.

“It works best with my schedule, and I like having my workout done before the day even starts,” she said. “Oh, and I hear Jason is really great.”

Jason Eagar, TCU alumnus and former staff member, has instructed the 6 a.m. cycling class for the past two years and has helped out with Tri-Frogs, the TCU triathlon club, for the past five years. 

Sophomore biology major Joan Fernandez and sophomore business major Molly Sheahan are members of Tri-Frogs and attended Thursday's class.

“Jason was our faculty advisor, so we like coming to his spin class for another workout,” Fernandez said. 

The lights in the workout studio went out, and Pitbull blasted through the speakers as class started. Cyclers turned up the resistance on their bikes and began the 50 minute workout.

Eagar said he takes pride in his workout playlists. 

“I don’t like to stick to one genre or era," he said. “I make it fun but don’t back down so that it’s still a workout.”

Periodically, Eagar stepped down from his bike and walked around the room to observe technique and offer one-on-one encouragement. 

“Cycling can be intimidating, but I think that stems from the stigma that you will be yelled at a lot,” Eager said. “It’s not about what you are not doing. It’s about encouraging what you are doing and creating an atmosphere where there is nothing to be embarrassed about.” 

Eagar said he tries to build camaraderie between the members of his class. After the tough sections of the workout, he asked them to high-five their neighbors. Then he would end the workout with a few ab exercises. As people slowly started to file out, he stayed back and caught up with familiar students and community members.

Out of 27 students, on average half are regulars. Three or four are brand new, and eight to 10 are people that come and go, Eagar said. He also said he notices most of his students are female.

Eagar said he challenges the men of TCU.

“For some reason, there is a stigma that males don't take cycle, but if they ever came to 6 a.m. cycling, it would be a beatdown for them,” he said.

Classes are open to everyone on a first-come-first-serve basis, and workout classes end the week of dead days.

Eagar said he limited his class number to only one this semester due to the birth of his daughter, but he will be back next semester with two or more classes.

"The X-factor in the number of people attending workout classes week to week is spring break,” Eagar said. “It will be fun to challenge the group to keep coming after spring break.” 

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