6am Sunday morning I was bleary eyed and barely finished my morning Original Strength Reset on the back deck when a tapping came at my front door.  It had to be a mistake.  Who would be at our door at this early hour on a weekend morning?  Half dressed I went to the door to see who it could be.

The most rewarding piece of opening and running Empower is the amazing community of people that has taken root within our gym.  It brings me endless joy to watch our members interact and develop deep bonds.  And no other time zone is tighter knit than our 5am crew who rise diligently whatever the season to get their early morning workout in but, more importantly, to share a coffee together afterwards.

Over the past year, Empower Old Guard member and 5am originator, Dr. T turned the weekday 5am coffee crew into a weekend cycling crew going out on incredible weekend rides with him and his brother.  Their cardio has improved remarkably from these weekly excursions as have their friendships as they stop for a post ride breakfast together and return Monday morning with entertaining tales about their weekend escapades.  It sounds like such a remarkable experience to belong to such a wonderful social group.

Gym ownership can be bittersweet.  There is the joy of helping nurture and develop these fantastic friendships but it is usually as an outsider.  After the workout you smile as you watch members go off together to participate in enriching one another’s lives.  Then you lock up and go home by yourself.  Of course you cannot be a part of every member’s life, we have over 120 members and I have my own family to care for outside the gym.  There are only so many hours in a day, I just cannot say yes to every social invitation.

But Sunday morning the 5am made me an offer I could not refuse.  I opened the door to see the whole gang, Dr. T & his brother, Boomer, Road Warrior, Yeti, Lightning and Sandman all on their way to their weekly bike ride.  Only this time they came with a spare bike and helmet.  And HeeHee, my darlin wife, who was apparently in on it, produced a water bottle and cycling apparel.  It was a stunning set up and surprise.

Last time I owned and rode a bike was 1993.  Suddenly I found myself cycling through the quiet city streets on an early Sunday morning as part of the 5am weekend crew.  Not a coach, not a gym owner, just a guy trying to stay on his bike and hoping he could keep up. We took a lovely tour through Stanley Park while the day was still relatively cool.  It was a happy ride as I contemplated that there are few gifts greater than friendship and fitness.  And for one lovely moment I was part of the community that I have helped nurture.

So I felt like a bit of a spoil sport when I wrecked the bike they had just given me, bringing an abrupt end to my ride.  Accounts vary.  Boomer would like to claim responsibility for it as retaliation for bad coaching on Empower COVID Games event 21.3 but ever the pack leader,  she was nowhere in sight when things went wrong.  I prefer to explain that I wanted to impress the gang by showing off my great ninja rolling skills.  In any case, I was cruising downhill on Burrard Bridge when I took my eyes off the road for just a moment to admire the view.  Maybe I hit a bump because next thing I knew the front wheel wobbled and I could not get control.  Rather than run into the sidewalk or the barriers and end up in a messy spill I decided to go full kamikaze and launched myself forward over the handlebars rolling back onto my feet. 

I left a bit of skin on the pavement and took a bruise to my palm and elbow but came up otherwise unhurt.  Unless you count a badly fractured ego.  Sadly the bike was less fortunate as I managed to bend the front wheel and break the front fork.

At the foot of the bridge Yeti treated me to a consolation breakfast bagel and despite my embarrassment I was able to enjoy the camaraderie of a post-ride breakfast.  The guys assure me they will be able to repair the bike and will give me a chance to redeem myself.  My new Personal Best goal: complete a bike ride on the bike!

Despite the sloppy ending, it was a really great start to the day and left me full of gratitude.  Thanks 5am, it felt very special to be included!

Monday Make Up Day

1) Back Squat 5-3-1a
Back Squat

2) 30-20-10
GHD Sit Ups
Wall Balls @14/20#

3) Sasquatch
Push Jerk

4) Empower Reset #14
1 min Belly Breathing Face-Down
30/30 sec Head Nods/Rotations

3 mins
20 Cross-Touch Bird Dog
10 Elevated Rocks

3 mins
10 Egg Rolls
20 Cross Touch Dead Bugs

4 Rounds
Hands & Knees Box Crawl
Leopard Box Crawl

3 mins
10 Alt Sit Throughs
10 Full Body Rocks

1 min Ring Plank Hold
400m Overhead Plate Carry @15/25#