Last Sunday, without any expectation, I went to the gym and found a new gem: the Treasure Valley YMCA in downtown Boise. OK, so it's not exactly "new." It's been here for over a century. But here's the secret: on a weekend afternoon in the middle of August, no one is there. Ordinarily, I wouldn't be there either because I'd be tearing through the trails of the Boise foothills on two wheels, working my aerobic engine, fueled by simple carbs. However, I can't get a new bike until I sell my old one on eBay (1299 hits, 83 watchers, 3 bids, and 23 hours to "sold," but who's counting?), so I went to the Y to pedal a few stationary miles and rock out to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" on my iPod.
For a good part of the year, the downtown YMCA's parking lot is overflowing with bumper-to-bumper spot seekers, the pool is drowned with splashing kids and every packed yoga class ensures intimate knowledge of your mat-mates. But if you need an endorphin fix from hoisting iron bars, if you want to break a sweat with a fan blowing in your face or if you want to run a 10K without touching pavement, now is the time to visit the Y.
On my way out, I asked the friendly front desk staff where they thought all the 50,000 members were. It doesn't really matter, though, now that I know where they aren't.