Sure, you can fly in an airplane but have you ever considered flying trapeze?
Megy Karydes, founder of Wandering Tastes, is always up for an adventure so when she saw Trapeze New York Chicago was offering trapeze classes, she couldn’t resist signing up. But rather than just signing up herself for a class, she also signed up her husband who, whether he likes it or not, often ends up being her co-pilot on these adventures. (Tundra Challenge or Roller Derby, anyone?)
This year was a year of many firsts when it came to fitness adventures: half marathon, two obstacle course races and a roller derby class. Before 2012 could come to an end, she wanted to squeeze one more in. Flying Trapeze won out. I always found the performers of Cirque du Soleil and Midnight Circus amazing and wondered: could I do that, too? I wanted to find out and this class provided me the opportunity to give it a shot.
I called the day before and Bonnie hooked us up with our first class the next day. Come wearing long form-fitting pants and top, she said. Free parking can easily be found near the Broadway Armory or plenty of metered parking can be had right in front (this is important to know because Chicago’s parking can be notoriously difficult in some locations).
As soon as we arrive and sign our life away with a waiver, we get our harness belt on (super tight so, you know, you don’t fall out of it). Pete, our instructor, gives us the scoop and within minutes we’re climbing the shaky (or maybe that was me shaking?) ladder to the sky (that’s what is seemed anyway!) to the board where Shawn provided me with endless words of encouragement. “You’re going to be great,” he said. “It’s so much fun. Are you ready?” He was talking as he’s latching on the safety cords to my belt. Jonathon is below, holding on the other part of my harness in case he needs to pull me to safety (I think?). Shawn pull the bar closer to me. I’m shaking. Literally shaking. I can hear my heart beating through my chest. I’m sure Shawn can hear it, too. I won’t let go of the railing. He slowly encourages me. I finally get both my hands on the bar and then, I’M OFF! Oh. My. Goodness. All I can think of is DON’T LET GO!!! Jonathon is below giving me directions but I have no idea what he’s saying. I am holding on to dear life. Finally he tells me to jumo down. WHAT? You have to be kidding me! But, it’s true, I have to eventually let go to get down so I let go of the bar and fall into the safety net. Round one is over. This class is TWO HOURS though.
There are seven of us taking turns today on the bar, three of us are first timers. We watch as those with more experience do things we think we’ll never ever be able to do. Then, halfway into the class and we’re asked to try to do a “catch”. A what? A catch is where another person on another bar tries to “catch” you. Sounds much easier than it is. Actually, it really doesn’t sound easy at all.
Back on the board, heart racing, I jump off immediately upon being told (because timing, we’re told, is everything to a successful catch so no lollygagging allowed). I try twice and was very close both times. By my last jump, though, my arms and legs were like jelly. They were so exhausted that I could barely finish my last jump.
Trapeze is tough. It takes a lot of trust to let someone hold you and think you’re not going to fall 25 feet below you. You need good arm, stomach and leg muscles to be able to stay on that bar and get your legs over the bar and hang. It’s not as though you couldn’t do it without strong muscles but having strength in those areas helps.
Special thanks to Pete for teaching us the ropes and encourages us to try the catch, Jonathon for holding the lines, Shawn for encourages us on the board, Bonnie for being so great and scheduling us and Annie for the really awesome photos. We never looked so terrified in our lives but it was worth it!
We did it. We survived. Flying trapeze was fun, definitely gave us a workout (two days later and my arm and abdominal muscles were still sore). Would we do it again? Trapeze New York Chicago offers classes in the summer on the beach. Guess what we’ll be doing come summer in Chicago? You got it…we’ll be flying high on a trapeze bar!