Media Release: Owner Kathryn Zajac Receives Alexandria 40 Under 40 Recognition


Owner Kathryn Zajac Receives Alexandria Chamber of Commerce 40 Under 40 Recognition

Ascend Cycle is the city’s longest-running cycling studio and one of its only non-franchise boutique fitness studios.  

WASHINGTON – Kathryn Zajac, founder of Ascend Cycle + Underground, a cycling and strength training studio in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Va., will be presented with the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce 40 Under 40 award this summer. The annual program recognizes rising stars in the Alexandria, Va. community who are helping to shape the city’s future. The awards celebration will take place Thursday, July 11, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST at United Way Worldwide, located at 701 N. Fairfax St. Alexandria, Va. 22314.

As one of the Washington, D.C. area’s original boutique fitness studios and the longest-running cycling studio in Alexandria, Ascend Cycle has longtime loyal riders and strong ties to the community. A testament to this loyal following is the 100 Rides Wall, where clients who have taken 100 classes in the cycling studio are given the honor of writing their name on the wall.

“I first came to Ascend because I was ready to make a physical and health change in my life, and I wanted to find a community to be a part of, not just a gym,” said Hugh Nicholson, Vice President of Sales & Booking for The Washington Redskins and a member of the 100 Rides Club. “I had never taken a spin class before, but I was ready to make a change physically and for my overall health. As a former football player, I work just as hard in class as I did in the gym.”

Zajac opened Ascend with the intention of creating a tight knit community of supportive individuals who would inspire one another in and outside the studio.

“I wanted to create a welcoming fitness environment where people could unplug from the outside world and focus on realizing their strengths,” Zajac said. “Our classes are inspired by great music and top-notch instruction for everyone to challenge themselves individually.

As a fitness professional, I believe cardiovascular and muscular strength are equally important, so I created Ascend Underground to offer strength training classes that complement the positive effects of cardiovascular exercise on the bike. In Underground, the main focus is building muscle, preventing injury, and achieving a lean body composition by focusing on form and smart programming.”

Zajac also makes a point of giving back to the community, hosting frequent charity rides in which she donates studio space, studio time, instructor time, and all proceeds from the rides to the nonprofit. (Unlike many small business fundraising events, Zajac does not take a cut of the proceeds from charity classes.)  

The most notable of these rides have been with Redskins legend Santana Moss to benefit his nonprofit 89 Ways to Give, which Nicholson was responsible for organizing.

“Ascend has genuinely changed my life,” Nicholson said. “I found the love of my life there. I have made lifelong friends and attended Ascend community happy hours, cookouts, and even weddings.”

Nicholson and Ascend Cycle lead instructor M.B. Schepp met at his second class at Ascend Cycle and have been dating for over a year.

Ascend Cycle is located at 2413 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria, Va. 22301 with Ascend Underground two doors down at 2417. For class times and more studio information, email, visit the website, or download the Ascend Cycle app.


About Ascend Cycle + Underground

Ascend Cycle + Underground is a premier boutique cycling and strength training studio that offers both spin and strength-based classes. Located in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, it promotes community and the potential for every individual to ascend in and out of the studio. Ascend Cycle was originally established under a different name in 2014 as a cycling studio by personal trainer Kathryn Zajac, who holds a Bachelor of Exercise Science from the George Washington University. The studio became Ascend Cycle in 2016 and expanded to include its strength and interval training studio, Ascend Underground, in early 2017. Using top-of-the-line Stages Cycling bikes and training equipment to offer cycling, HIIT and total body workouts, Ascend Underground classes are thoughtfully designed to provide a strength foundation, prevent injury, and progress each client's fitness in a smart way. Ascend Cycle + Underground aims to produce a well-rounded fitness program for every client with the combined benefits of both cardio exercise through cycling and strength training through interval classes Underground.  



Contact: Kim Barbano,, 703.819.9861

Kimberly Barbano