An endorphin high for all involved, the September 15th SoulCycle charity event with Danneel and Jensen Ackles was an amazing experience. Nerds and Beyond had two writers on hand to bring you a first-hand report of the day! Together, those involved raised an impressive $28,000 for Random Acts and Out Youth, an Austin based charity that provides support to LGBTQ+ youth.
There were two classes for the event, and we were in the last class. Before riders even reached the spin room, Danneel and Jensen greeted everyone and snapped pictures with those leaving the 3pm class, and ensuring new arrivals felt welcomed.
As you entered the spin room with your special bike shoes (that you feel like you will fall over in), upbeat music played in the darkened space. Staff walked around to help set up bikes correctly and explain how SoulCycle works. Waiting for the class to start, riders sat on their bikes grooving to the music and pumping their legs to get warmed up.
As we waited, Danneel welcomed each and every biker, walking around and shaking their hands, asking names and thanking them for their donations and for being there. Jensen was equally welcoming and helped riders set up their bikes, handed out seat cushions and ensured everyone who needed water got it. We were a little hesitant on how exactly a SoulCycle class worked but our class instructor, Chris Chandler, made sure everyone felt welcomed and included during the entire workout.
The mood of the room was nervous excitement, but the second that Chris started the class, the atmosphere shifted. He cranked up the music to a barely tolerable volume, the room went almost completely dark, and it was just you, your bike, and the beat. If needed, you could easily see everyone around as your eyes adjusted, but it was not necessary except for being able to look at how much fun our hosts were having with all of us.
This SoulCycle class was specially tailored to the Supernatural fans present with the playlist including several classics. We kicked off the session with one of Jensen’s favorite jams, “Alive”. We rocked out, head-banged and punched the air with him as he encouraged everyone to work hard. We kept the momentum going with “Personal Jesus” as people were invited to sing along. While Jensen clearly got his workout in, he made sure to sit back and engage with cyclers, pointing and smiling as we jived to the music.
Chris attempted to lure Jensen off his bike for the next song, “Eye of the Tiger”, but he opted to remain on the bike. Chris would not be discouraged and convinced Clif, ever the good sport, to dramatically cat-walk across the room. Jensen did, however, rock out hard to the song and even did his famous ‘Eye of the Tiger arms’ to the cheers of every rider.
Knowing his audience, Chris also included “Carry On Wayward Son”. Every single biker screamed the lyrics, jamming in unison with Jensen and Danneel as we pedaled to the beat of that fan favorite. Chris would have us slow down to an almost crawl in some spots to sing our hearts out, and then have us sprint during the instrumental sections. It is surprisingly difficult to do both simultaneously; only Jensen and Chris seem to have mastered this ability.
Chris prefaced the next song by looking at Danneel and asking, “You like Zepplin right?” The whole room laughed and cheered as she shrugged lightly adding “just a little”. We all waved our towels above our heads as “Rock and Roll” began to play, and we committed to our biking journey once more.
Our next song was the arm workout. Riders were provided with small weights to use if they were so inclined. Chris walked around the room and described the movements and choreography while Jensen demonstrated with his 5-lb weights. The song for this arm workout, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” was made to move to. Jensen refused to sing the lyrics himself, but coyly snuck glances at Danneel, who was singing every word, with a small smirk on his face.
Toward the end, Chris played the powerful song “Boys in the Street”. Lights were turned out completely, and we were told to pedal slowly. In this class, in that moment, we could be exactly who we were and nothing else. Feel exactly what we needed to and never hold back our emotions.
Our final big workout song before cooling down was “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Chris had us sprint as hard as we could during the instrumental sections. We caught our breath and belted the song out during the vocals. Chris and Jensen pointed out people that were really getting into it (including our writer, Hailee). The final 45-seconds of the song was an all-out sprint to the finish line as everyone tried to complete the workout with bang.
We cooled down and stretched to “Ironic,” while Chris gave one of the most inspirational talks we have ever heard when exercising. The theme of the entire class was to be the best you that you can be and give all of your energy to being the version of yourself you want to see.
When pedaling, the riders were encouraged to work out as hard as they could, but this was done with absolutely no judgment or expectation of what that should look like. Everyone received the same praise whether you sat on the seat and slow-peddled the entire class or if you were as much of an expert as Danneel and Jensen. The energy of the room was one of acceptance and comradery rather than the typical disconnected gym mentality.
After the class we gathered outside for a great group photo taken by SoulCycle.
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Thank you to all who rode with us yesterday @soulcycle 🚲 We were able to raise 28k for @outyouth and @randomactsorg These two organizations are very dear to our hearts and we are very honored that you chose to support them as well. We had such a good time meeting and laughing with all of you yesterday. Your energy and positivity was overwhelming!❤️🌈 A big THANK YOU to the staff #SoulCyceDomainNorthside We love you guys! And another big THANK YOU to our instructor @christopherjacobchandler and his husband Brad for helping to make this a truly special day! #randomacts #soulcylecrew #outyouth 📷 5pm class
We (Brianna and Hailee) also snapped a few photos with Danneel and Jensen, joking with Danneel about her glitter covered hair and shoulders due to her sparkly headband.
We then got down to business asking two staple questions of Nerds and Beyond. Firstly, we asked Jensen his favorite dad joke. He thought seriously for a few seconds and said, “You know what, I’m kind of anti-dad joke.” Not to be discouraged, we also asked Jensen what kind of light saber he would have if he could design his own.
Again he thought for a moment and definitively answered, “Lightning bolt,” as he waved his hand through the air mimicking the jagged movement of lightning.
We then grabbed Danneel’s attention to ask her the same question. She thought hard about it and then stated as if it should have been obvious to her, “Oh! Of course, rainbows!”
Both Danneel and Jensen made sure to give every single person there a fantastic experience. They were attentive and utterly focused on whomever they were talking to or taking pictures with. Jensen doubled checked that everyone got a picture before he even thought about gathering his things to leave.
Chris was also willing to take pictures with people and answer any questions they had about the class and SoulCycle in general. He urged everyone to come back, visit their own SoulCycle or just get out and moving no matter the circumstances.
Overall it was an amazing affair full of high energy and love. Plus, we were able to help Jensen get prepared for the Bad Idea Tour and raise money for two wonderful charities. This experience is one that no one who participated will ever forget. Many thanks to Danneel and Jensen for hosting and everyone involved in the organization of this once in a lifetime event.
(Co-written by Brianna Lester and Hailee Jordan. Written at the fantastic Family Business Beer Company.)