Some people come into our lives just when we need them, and without knowing it change us forever.
I awoke this morning to news that Clare Veronica Walsh, one of my most beloved and inspirational SoulCycle instructors passed away yesterday.
Clare and I were not close personal friends, yet for the too brief time I knew her she made (and continues to make) a huge impact on me. Her smile lit up a room. Words of encouragement and praise from her would make my day.
I first encountered Clare in August of 2010. After walking past the TriBeCa studio every day I had finally decided to take a SoulCycle class. I was terrified as I clipped into my bike for the first time ever. For the next 45 minutes I had the privilege of watching Clare rock out, ride, and dance with so much heart, soul, energy and passion. She pushed her riders to go to the next level. You couldn’t help but rise to the challenge. Clare’s class got me hooked. I went back to SoulCycle the next day, and the next, and the next…
SoulCycle has since become a HUGE part of my life and I have Clare to thank. If that first class with her had not been so incredible I may have never gone back.
This year I had the honor of spinning with Clare on my 30th Birthday. My sweet husband talked to her ahead of time, and Clare was more than happy to make it extra special for me. When she put on “Party in the U.S.A” and said “Happy Birthday Sara” there was no place else I would have rather been.
A few months ago Clare told me she was moving to L.A to open up the WeHo SoulCycle. I was devastated. Her classes had become a part of my week I could not live without, especially her amazing “Saturday Night Dance Parties.” I knew L.A. held great opportunities for her, and it gave Doug and I an excuse to make the trip out west to take her class!
On December 23rd I unknowingly took my last class with Clare. It was the Friday morning before Christmas. I arrived stressed, tired, cranky and strung out. I had a bike front and center so I knew I had to bring it. No phoning it in with Clare. As always, her class lightened my load, cleansed my soul and put a huge smile on my face. As we rode home to “All I Want for Christmas” I caught my smiling face in the mirror. Clare’s amazing passion and energy had once again transformed me.
Clare left this world long before her time. I am eternally grateful for the little time I got to spend with her. She inspired me to live fully in the moment and with great passion.
Tomorrow and every morning when I clip in I will think of Clare. If I close my eyes I know I will be able to see her dancing in front of me, whipping her hair back and forth.
Clare, for everything you taught me, everything you gave me I owe you a world of gratitude. Rest in peace.