“I started dreading going to work. It wasn’t “burnout” either; it was more of an “I don’t belong here” anymore. A part of me just wanted to pretend, like my circle still fit into a square, but it didn’t.”
Hello, I’m Christine Curtis-Carr, owner of FireCycle Abilene, the premier boutique indoor cycling studio in Abilene, Texas.
The story behind why I started FireCycle might surprise you. But I need to tell you my story because when I made that decision three years ago, I started on a path to empowering the riders of FireCycle to reach their full potential both in the studio and in their lives. To let their inner light shine a little brighter.
There are so many reasons why I started FireCycle, but out of all of them, only one stands out.
You see, my goal was never to be a full-time entrepreneur, and if I am being honest, I thought I would serve as an Executive Director until I retired and own a small indoor cycling studio on the side. Both were fulfilling, and I loved the difference I could make in teachers' and riders' lives. Plus, keeping FireCycle Abilene small allowed me to serve as director of Abilene’s education foundation and still have time for myself.
Before I became known as an indoor cycling instructor (aka “the pusher”), I was the Executive Director of our local education foundation, serving the students and teachers in our school district. And even though I loved this leadership position and spent many years cultivating it, I could feel a spark inside me trying to ignite and a voice whispering, this isn’t it. Not anymore.
Somewhere between late 2019, the shutdown, and finally, in December 2021, I shifted.
Something or someone was off, and I suspected it might be me. I started dreading going to work. It wasn’t “burnout” either; it was more of an “I don’t belong here.” I wanted to pretend my circle still fit into a square, but it didn’t. People ask me about my decision to leave a career and a leadership position; I had spent many years creating.
Was it one person, one thing, or the pandemic?
The truth is it was all of it and also none of it. The more I got curious about the whisper, the more the spark ignited, and the more I realized what I wanted to create and bring into the world. The gifts I had to offer no longer fit with the organization I had tied myself to. And wow, it was a great organization.
You see those memes “people don't leave companies; they leave bad work environments” or “bad bosses,” but the people at the foundation were terrific. Surely that could be enough, right? A fantastic team, board, and teachers to serve? I wanted it to be, but by the end of Dec. 2021, I knew it was a lie.
The change was already happening.
I was a director but morphing into the leader of my indoor cycling studio, cheering my riders on and creating a solid supportive community. My identity was changing until it no longer aligned with who I was. My spark was burning brighter, and that whisper spoke a little louder. I realized I could no longer hide my light. A wise woman once said, “It's time to ignite the light and let it shine!”
So I had two choices, make peace with the fact that if I stayed, I would be playing my life small (according to what I wanted), or go ahead and invest in what I knew to be my calling: Impact that moves mountains—inspiring others to let their lights shine.
I remember the day I finally decided I would leave. I cried a lot. Yes, from relief, but also because I knew I would have to take the time to grieve the loss of this identity, this chapter I had created, cultivated, and the work I had at one point deeply cared about. I also loved serving our teachers. Truly. With my whole being.
I knew what waited would be precisely where I needed to be, but the transition would be tough. I’d have to give up control to create. I’d have to stay firm in my resolve and not give into the fear telling me I was crazy. It was the boldest and kindest act of self-worth I had ever done for myself. I felt terrified, secure, and excited all at once. And I knew without a doubt it was exactly my next right move.
Still, that’s not the real reason I started FC.
After leaving behind my old identity and job, I fully embraced my calling to create an impact that moves mountains. I cultivate this in other ways besides cycling, but this blog is about FC so I will keep it on topic.
And when folks discover I own a cycling studio, they ask me the same basic four questions…
1. I tried spin once, and I hated it, lol. Well, not really a question. Still, cycling is not for everyone, but only people who haven't tried FC say they hate it. For real, try us. Our instructors and overall vibe are what you are looking for.
2. Have you tried Peloton? Yes, I have tried Peloton, but I don't own one. I understand the hype, but I want to encourage you to try FireCycle Abilene; we aren’t your average spin studio. We also LOVE peloton riders, so bring your shoes. If you ride at home (any program), a live in-person ride is an excellent way to mix up your routine since you don’t have to have a membership to ride with us.
Picture this; you come to class one evening after a long day and are greeted by an instructor who helps you set up your bike to your specifications, no guessing! The lights go down, and the music goes up. The room darkens, and it's just you on your bike, moving to the beat of the music. Forty-five minutes fly by, and you let go. The ride ends, and you feel refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle your to-do list or not be so deflated when you get home to your family.
3. Spin hurts my hiney too much. Sore Saddle is a thing that usually goes away in three rides. Try one of our cushions, but stick with it. That is part of getting stronger. Trust me. No one would be into it if the sore saddle were a forever thing, lol.
4. Why did you open an indoor cycling studio? So this is THE question! And the answer I give can vary depending on how close I know you, but I typically say, “I wanted to bring rhythm riding to the Abilene market.”
But that isn’t the truth. Well, not exactly.
The truth is I created FireCycle for YOU.
I know. But yes, I mean YOU. If you’re reading this and you have never set foot in our studio, YES, I am talking to you. If you come once and never again, I am talking to you. If you have been on a bike at FireCycle, 600+ times, I am also talking to you. Because somehow, the universe has brought us together. And I know Why.
Just after my 41st birthday, I looked up in the mirror and thought, who is that? Not physically, I still looked the same, but my inner light was dim. I was hiding, and I knew it, but I also didn’t know how to brighten my inner light.
I’ve always enjoyed working out hard; I’ve trained for marathons, half marathons, races, and bike races. I love to sweat, and I love the feeling I get when I sweat and push my body so hard that I get out of my head.
But when I say I created Firecycle for you, this is what I mean. FireCycle is a place where you can unplug whatever is going on in your life and find some frickin’ clear space in that head of yours.
Whether you are experiencing loss, grief, celebration, joy, or just going through the motions, you can bring it all into this space on a bike to nowhere, in the dark, to some killer music with people who want to see you succeed.
And even if you have nothing going on and are here for the calorie burn, guess what? You can be grateful that you can move your body. Because what you do for a living, if you are a CEO, in between jobs, a mom or a dad, married, a caregiver, going through a divorce, a college student trying to find their way, struggling with infertility, single, can't find two matching socks to save your life, living with your parents, or your dog just died, whatever - all those identifying markers don’t mean a damn thing in the middle of a tap-back, double-push combo. All that matters in this room is that little light inside of you. You know the one, the real you. The one who says if I can do that double tap back push, what else could I do?
Or did you forget about her?
Well, in here, she is in the driver's seat.
That is the primary reason FireCycle exists and why reading this matters. We can’t replace all the other stuff, like caring for your mind, body, and soul. We can't take away the pain of life or reach your goals for you, but we are a place where effort, while we sweat our butts off, pays off because somewhere between the ride and the joyful movement and the music and the fun, you remember what makes you light up. So yes, I created FireCycle for YOU. THE REAL YOU. THE ONE WHO IS SMILING WHILE READING THIS.
Let your light shine. Let’s ride y’all.
- Christine ♥️