People’s Pierogi. Atwater beer. And cycling until your legs burn. If that’s not the recipe for an amazing Detroit event, I’m not sure what is.
That’s the warm welcome the Detroit Endurance Lab is offering those who participate in its (hopefully annual) Endurance Fest 2013. The indoor-bike racing party, which takes place Feb. 9, is one part workout and one part “How you doin’?” to the larger Detroit community.
Another fitness facility in Detroit? Wait, aren’t we supposed to be fat, lazy slugs? (By the way…thanks, Lena Dunham, for piling on. No pierogi for you.) What does a city that cannot fit into its rust belt (ba-dum-ching!) care about getting buff?
Apparently, quite a bit. As the city’s neighborhoods and centers start to grow, they’re generating not only new employers and retailers – they’re adding workout spaces.
Besides the awesome Boll Family YMCA, there’s a bunch of crazy classes out there. Trapeze and aerial skills? Detroit Flyhouse, of course. Yoga in Midtown? Got it. (Yoga Shelter, Be Nice Yoga). Don’t forget the Lab’s cool neighbor, Urban Solace. Zumba, Spin and Pilates in Corktown? Yup…Check out True Body Fitness. And there is soon to be a smattering of all that and then some at Come Play Detroit’s new Fitness Studio on Clifford Street.
Here’s the best part – just like the city’s retailers and restaurateurs are lifting Detroit up with cooperation, not competition, it seems the fitness facilities are going to do the same.
“The more, the better,” Kimo Frederiksen told me this week. Kimo is the genius behind True Body Fitness, where some of Detroit’s hardest-working hotties are working out these days. “The whole difference between Detroit and everyone else is we want to see each other succeed.”
Actually, Kimo and Landall Proctor, owner of Detroit Endurance Lab, have something else in common. Both of them told me that one of their prime objectives with their fitness businesses is to make people feel comfortable when they come in. Prices for classes and training are kept low, and instruction and inspiration are emphasized for beginners and professionals.
(Let’s be honest: They both might be able to run, lift and cycle circles around you, for sure. But they won’t kick sand in your face, so to speak. Sorry…couldn’t resist.)
Let me back up a moment. Meet Landall Proctor, owner of Detroit Endurance Lab, Detroit’s new fitness and training facility. It’s located in the historic Elevator Building at 1938 Franklin Street just off of East Jefferson Avenue. It’s a fairly average-looking building from the outside, located ideally within blocks of the Dequindre Cut, the RiverWalk and William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor. His neighbors range from a design studio to a yoga center (yup, another good one to check out) and a school.
Inside, however, Landall’s cycling center is perfect for distracting you from how much pain your body is feeling. It’s an expansive two-story loft with exposed brick walls, huge wood beams and a chalkboard wall. The first floor has a conference table and lounge (populated by sleek Ikea style, natch). The second floor holds the workout area, complete with a 55-inch television, six cycling stations and a bunch of spare bikes. It also (for the moment) has a Pack-n-Play for Hudson, the 1-year-old mascot and the Proctors’ son.
The Proctor family comes to us by way of Rochester (Mich.), where Landall’s wife, Jill, grew up. They previously lived just outside of Washington D.C., where Landall got his undergraduate and Master’s degrees. The family of three moved to Detroit just recently (they thought their DC-area house would sell in six months or a year – it sold after the first showing. That moved things up a bit). Jill is working downtown, and Landall is running Detroit Endurance Lab, which offers classes, coaching and a place for all cyclists to meet.
Like many newcomers here, Landall has come to realize something essential about Detroit – it’s full of people who want it to not only survive but explode with jobs, businesses, workers who want to stay downtown beyond the 9-to-5 grind. If you offer people places to eat, drink and then shed those unwanted Chardonnay-related pounds, you might just get a city off the ground.
And, rent is cheap. Really affordable for a small family with a dream of starting something in Detroit. And that’s great.
“I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to even start it,” Landall said. “I don’t know where else you could do this. In D.C., it would have been next to impossible.”
Quick background: Landall was a baseball guy all the way from elementary school through college. But it was around his junior year of college when Landall realized he wasn’t necessarily going to go pro. Right about then, he got a notice about a triathlon. That’s when he really got into cycling. Really. Got. Into. It. He not only liked the actual sport, but he liked reading about it. Studying it. Examining the science of it. Because if he’s going to do something, he is going to be educated to the extreme.
If that’s what you like in a coach, then here you go. The Lab will do individual and group training as well for big events, like the Motor City Triathlon in June. He also will whip your tookus into shape for the Freep marathon. Basically, Landall will be your best cheerleader and your worst nightmare. That’s because he doesn’t let people slack; he has technology that forces you to do your best – every time.
There’s a little something called a CompuTrainer on his side. I won’t go into all the detail, but it does something basically like this. Your bike’s back tire is set into this deceivingly small device. Landall programs it with your weight, age and the basics he knows about your ability, which he gleans from an entry interview before you start working out. Then, the man and the machine figure you out. They put you on a pace that will help you get through whatever level of training you need.
“For indoor bike training, there’s really nothing else like it,” Landall explalined. Plus, a group of riders can be working together, going along a famous ride via the TV screen, and each person can be following their own set schedule or regime, thanks to the CompuTrainers. There is no wasted effort. There is no cheating. You will be ready to race/bike/meet your goals and ground them into nothing. And that’s very Detroit.
About Endurance Fest 2013: You better sign up early. And you better grab the pierogies before they’re gone. Race, tournament style, against your fellow Detroiters. Beginner (no racing experience) and Intermediate/Advanced Categories. Prizes for the fastest. Registration Includes: Race entry, pierogies from the People’s Pierogie Collective and and all-access pass to the Atwater keg. Loaner bikes available at no extra charge.