There is a calm, cool and collected demeanor to Steven on the surface. Beneath that though emanates an undeniable energy that speaks to just how much depth there is to him. It’s subtle – but if you’re fortunate enough to pick up on it, it’s easy to see this guy will show up for whoever he is with and in whatever he does.
Steven’s first ride resulted in what he refers to below as a “large river” of sweat. As if Kari didn’t need a reason to go all out for a ride, this particular one was a trifecta – it was REPEATS, 9/11 and Steven mentioned before class he used to teach what he called a “more traditional” cycling class. She knew he was either going to love it or hate it. Fast forward to now, and we are fairly certain we know the answer.
There is a craft and attention to detail that goes into Steven’s rides. He will sneak in little gems for riders, put his own *spin* on movements and finds a way to insert his unique dry sense of humor and sharp wit into his instruction. He keeps riders on their toes but always ensures a ride that moves quickly and will 100% kick your ass. His Friday 5:30p Classic RINSE is the best way to close out a week and get the weekend rolling.
Surprising, strong, charismatic, creative, passionate, and always up for a challenge, meet Steven.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in upstate NY, specifically in a little rural town called Scotia, which is right outside of the Albany metro area.
Can you remember your first RINSE class?
Oh yes. After hearing about RINSE and deciding I finally wanted to check it out, I went to the website to sign up. Based on the descriptions, a REPEATS class seemed the hardest, so that's what I signed up for. A little thing about me is that when it comes to exercise (and several other passions), I tend to go all out. I had no idea that the bikes moved and had never used weights in a spin class... needless to say, I got destroyed but in all the best ways. A quick little shoutout to Allison and Kari for their graciousness in cleaning up my large river of sweat that evening.
How long did it take until you realized you wanted to become an Instructor?
I was reasonably new to RINSE when Kari asked me if I'd be interested in instructing. I'm pretty sure that I had 7 classes under my belt before trying out and was VERY intimidated to do so. So if I needed to point to a specific moment that I wanted to instruct, I'd say that week leading up to the tryout that I really decided more than realized. I could have walked away pretty easily, but I made the conscious decision to fight through the fear/anxiety, go for it and own whatever happened. I needed a change in my life which is part of the reason I decided to check out RINSE in the first place and when the opportunity came up to instruct, well I'm not sure I'd call it fate but the chance to train and join the community was exactly what I needed when I needed it.
How would you describe your teaching style?
"All in & All out." In my opinion, hustle and feeling strength in a community is very contagious. As an instructor, my goal is to create a space of energy but also a sense of togetherness. I believe that once you enter that dark little room, you aren't alone if you open yourself up to that. A belief that "you are strong enough to do this" is a significant first step but my goal would be to encourage "you are strong enough, and when you feel a little weak, you've got people around you to help you feel empowered."
Best part of being an Instructor is…
First off, having the opportunity to help someone achieve their goals and believe in themselves a bit more is incredible. Everyone that walks into the room is looking for something different and providing a direction for them to find is pretty special to me. Secondly, to be up front and see riders just going all out is so inspiring to me, hustling with you all is the best part of being an instructor.
On a personal level, the best part is that it forces me to get out of my comfort zone. I'm a timid and introverted person so instructing really makes me lean into that part of myself that is uncomfortable but it is always rewarding in the end.
Track you've had on repeat
A track you could spin to: "It's Only (feat. Zyra) [ODESZA VIP Remix]" by ODESZA / A track you couldn't spin to: "The Daughters of Quiet Minds" by Stars of the Lid
AM or PM rides?
The early PM is my favorite time to ride or teach. I've grown to really rely on that end of the day recharge/reset that an evening class brings.
Favorite way to sweat outside of RINSE?
I really love to play soccer and play pickup from time to time when I'm not on a spin bike. Running is another one of my go-to workouts though recently I'd rather just ride. I also enjoy popping in some earbuds and zoning out to some relaxing music while riding my road bike on a trail somewhere and which if you know me, usually involves some sweat.
How has becoming a RINSE Instructor changed you?
As previously mentioned, I tend to be on the more shy/introverted and instructing has taught me to be more confident when stepping out of those personality traits. In general, I've always struggled with confidence, even in the things I know I can do. Becoming an instructor has allowed me to believe in myself in a unique way I've never experienced before and have confidence that I can do the uncomfortable things, I just need to not let myself get in the way of doing them.
That sense of strength comes from within, but it also from the authentic community that RINSE is. Having space just to be myself and if I fail sometimes, its OK because I have people around me that are still there for me no matter what. I don't know if that last sentiment is related to being an instructor or not, maybe it comes from a sense of belonging. Either way, RINSE has changed me in pretty profound ways.
Go-to quote or words to live by?
"Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that damn mountain."
Who motivates you?
My wife and close friends but when I'm instructing, the riders absolutely do.
Currently, "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brené Brown.
What's your #1 life hack?
If you really want to do something in life - whether that is a goal, a dream, or whatever. Decide what you really want and GO ALL IN on it.
Where can we find you on a Saturday afternoon?
I work from home and am sitting at a desk most of the time, so I like to get outside as much as I can. So you may find me on a hike, on a run or just doing something relaxing. Nature is very inspiring to me, so I like to find times to get out in it as much as possible.
Any hidden or not so hidden talents?
Hmm - I play in a band, does that count? I also make a mean breakfast sandwich.
If you could brunch with any person (past or present), who would it be and why?
I'm not a super huge U2 fan, but off the cuff, I'd say Bono. He seems to be a kind, genuine & laid back person that would be easy to talk with. It'd just be fun to pick his brain and listen to stories from his life's experiences. Seems as though he'd have tons.
Best memory since you joined RINSE?
There have been so many, it is hard to narrow down one. From an instructor standpoint, my first community ride was pretty special. It was the first time I did a class on my own and not in a team teaching format. I went to a place that I'd never been to before mentally/emotionally, and it shook me a bit. It is hard to explain, but I almost caught myself off guard with what I was capable of.
#1 piece of advice for someone looking to have a killer ride?
From the moment you walk into the room, determine you want to have a killer ride. What takes you to that place is very personal, and I don't want to begin to suggest what that is for you but be absolutely intentional with that goal for the full 50/60/75 mins. Leave what you need to leave outside the room, leave what you don't want to take with you on the bike.
What has you excited about life right now?
As I mentioned previously, I'm in a band, and we've got several awesome things coming up this year, including a European tour. I love to travel, so I'm pretty stoked to visit some cities I've never been to before and play music with my friends in them.
What does RINSE mean to you?
When I think about what RINSE means to me, the word connectioncomes to mind. When I walk through that front door, I immediately feel like I'm apart of something extraordinary. Having such a strong community is everything to me, it really is. The energy and unique personalities that make up the community are just so wonderful, and I have such a strong feeling of belonging.
The smiles, the laughs, the hustle, the friendships, the teammates …it's all there and it's continuing to grow, and I'm incredibly grateful to be a part of it.