SANTA CRUZ -- The vigorous spin classes at Santa Cruz Power Fitness on Saturday morning did more than raise heart rates and burn calories.
The 70 people who participated in the series of 30-minute spinning classes held at the Water Street gym also raised money for the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Each person was asked to contribute $10 for Ride 2 Recovery, a national effort to generate money for buying bikes for veterans. Similar spin class fundraisers were held at gyms across the country.
"There are so many people in this country sacrificing so much," said spin instructor Melissa Stevens, who brought the Ride 2 Recovery fundraiser to Santa Cruz. "It just feels so good to do this."
Money raised will be used to purchase bikes for spinning rehabilitation labs and outdoor cycling programs at military and VA locations.
Ride 2 Recovery is produced by the nonprofit Fitness Challenge Foundation in partnership with the VA Volunteer Service Office.
The high-paced cycling class helped motivate folks like Karen Guest of Live Oak, who jump started her dormant exercise routine by joining the fundraiser.
"I probably won't be able to walk tomorrow," Guest said. "But it was fun and of course, the vets can always use our help."
The spin class was a first for gym employee Joe D'Arrigo, who wanted to give it a shot to help veterans.
"They did so much for us," he said. "It's
the least we can do to show our support for what they've accomplished."
Jessica Carder, 33, was happy to hop on a bike and break a sweat to help the men and women who've served our country in combat.
"It's a win-win for everybody," Carder said. "I get to try something new and it goes to a good cause. The class is only half an hour, so it's not that intimidating."
For information, go to www.ride2recovery.org.