Rick Zambrano was training for an IronMan triathlon. Esther Collinetti was mustering up the courage for a career change.
Both found what they were looking for when they met at a spin class Collinetti was teaching at Merritt Athletic Clubs in 2013. The two struck up a friendship and, a year later, a business partnership.
Zambrano completed his triathlon, and Collinetti left her job as a scientist at the Smithsonian Institution to throw herself fully into spin instruction. Together, they opened Rev Cycle Studio in McHenry Row in January 2014, with Zambrano handling the business operations and Collinetti teaching classes. The studio now employs about 15 instructors, and they plan to open a second location in Canton later this year.
Collinetti, 40, of Federal Hill, said she started bicycling as a child in Santiago, Chile, where she was raised, to train for horseback riding. She became a spin instructor as a side job while studying biology at Colorado State University. She continued teaching classes when she moved to Baltimore, and soon realized fitness instruction was her calling.
"I loved to be a scientist," she said. "But when I was teaching and leading classes, that's when I was the happiest."
Both said they love Baltimore for its small-town feel and try to recreate it in the studio. "The big thing for us is building a community," Zambrano said.
Collinetti always figured she'd end up in Europe or South America after college. But after moving here, she stayed.
"You can still be someone in the city; you're not unknown," she said. "If you're able to get out of your door, there's a whole network of people to support you. ... You are able to be who you are without anybody judging you."