From the studio to the race route, cyclist Attila Fruttus leads the pack.
Ride along with this South Bay road warrior.
- Written & photographed byKat Monk
The Survivor song blares while shoes are clicked into their pedals, furiously spinning in a dark room filled with a mass of stationary bikes. Arms slowly raise above heads, and the class starts stretching in preparation for spin class. As the song ends, instructor Attila Fruttus starts the regular portion of his spin class.
This is Attila’s signature start to each of his classes—all extremely popular and typically full to capacity. Many members of the Bay Club have to get there at least 30 minutes early just to grab a bike.
Spin is indoor cycling where an instructor directs cyclists to vary their resistance and simulate settings such as a flat road or a steep hill. The classes are designed to promote strength, interval or endurance training. There are different types of spin classes, but Attila’s are based on road cycling.
Originally from Hungary, Attila left the then-communist country when he was 18 years old. After serving his required 18 months in the military, he was fortunate to land a great job as a photographer for a cruise line.
Over the course of the next six years, Attila did three world tours and traveled to all seven continents. At 26 he went back to his hometown with a population of 27,000 and found himself at a crossroads. He discovered he had outgrown his home and was ready for a new adventure. So Attila moved to Los Angeles, where he worked in the entertainment industry for the next 15 years.
In his 20s Attila became an avid mountain cyclist. Mountain biking is the sport of riding bicycles off-road on dirt and rough terrain. Attila trained in the Santa Monica Mountains, which offer significant training real estate more suitable for dirt riders.
Life changed for Attila when his daughter came into the world 14 years ago, and he decided to stay more local. So he took up road cycling.
Mountain cycling is much different than road cycling. While mountain bikes are designed for rough terrain and have much thicker tires with a grip, road bikes have thinner wheels and go much faster. “Mountain biking you can go downhill pretty fast and do all the jumps; road cycling is all pretty much speed,” shares Attila.
The drawback of road cycling is that you have to be very in tune with and aware of your surroundings at all times—most importantly always being aware of the cars and trucks that lace the streets. “If you think you will never crash, don’t. You will at some point! Unfortunately there are a lot of accidents,” he says.
In 2012 Attila joined Big Orange, a nonprofit club dedicated to racing and rider development. Teammate and vice president of Big Orange, Greg Seyranian, shares, “As a bike racer, I got to watch him climb the ranks.” Attila has now been on the Masters team since 2015, where he is competing against at least a dozen ex-pros, Olympians, state and national champions. But Attila holds his own and is very competitive.
“Attila was never intimidated by Masters racing,” Greg adds. “He brought the same confidence and fury that he had in the lower categories. He is an animator, an aggressor who can be counted on to make things happen. He is extremely intelligent and knows how to read the dynamics of the race and respond appropriately. This is incredibly valuable in a teammate.”
Attila is already a Category 2 racer (ranked 1 to 5, with 1 the highest level). Category 1 and 2 often race together. Attila won the Cat 4 State Road Championship in 2013—a huge accomplishment.
“Bike racing is very different from other sports,” says Greg. “It’s a chess match conducted at maximum heart rate. It’s not enough to be strong. It’s not enough to be smart. You have to be both at the same time. And that describes Attila to a T.”
Attila just completed a 230-mile round-trip ride from Manhattan Beach to Santa Barbara in 11 hours and 48 minutes. “It tested the legs out, and it was the last race of the season,” he says. “I went into it because I knew that resting season was coming up.”
With resting season comes more spin classes. Attila uses his classes to physically prepare himself for the competition season.
“Because Attila is a road cyclist, he brought that mentality into the classroom—so it wasn’t just your everyday, run-of-the-mill ‘gym cycling’ class,” states Terri Cisneros, a fellow spin instructor at the Bay Club. “Attila has what we call that ‘it’ factor. It’s an attitude of confidence, providing a class that is not your typical cycle class, bringing the best in road cycling to the members, and making them feel good about the training they did in the classroom.”
Attila’s Year in Health
Vegetables and protein are in my everyday diet. These are essential to a healthy body. You won’t see much carbs and sugar (except fruit) in there. I try to cut pasta, bread and processed sugar out of my diet. They sure taste amazing, and I could eat a large pizza or half a cake, five Snickers bars, three bags of M&M’s easily. But I don’t.
That is something I do not have a whole lot of. I try to live fully and utilize every minute of my hour. The one thing I truly enjoy is sauna. If/when I have the time, I sit in the sauna and read. I do have one at home (the real kind—straight from Finland), so it is convenient. Sauna is extremely valuable for your mind and soul—not only for the body. Peaceful … try it!
Love wine and cheese! I will never give them up.
Next Health Goal
Yoga isn’t my thing, but I am considering giving it another try. I would like to work on the mind and body connection on a deeper level.
The 21st annual Valentine Ball, a gala event to benefit the Norris Center for the Performing Arts, honored long-time supporters Marilyn and Frank Schaffer, who received the Kenneth T. Norris Jr. Key to Our Heart award during a special presentation. Guests experienced the ultimate in food, wine and entertainment and helped raise more than $100,000.