Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Word of the Day

Oh, my, is that one of my shirts? I'm sorry.
But if you'd like one go here.

There's a word that seems to be burning through the cycling world these days. You probably already know it. The word of the day is suffering. Now I understand when lay people hear us speak of this word at the cafe or see us wearing a t-shirt relating to it they might hear and see something completely different. Yes there is bad suffering; cancer, poverty, depression. But there is also a good kind of suffering. The kind that makes us stronger, creates bonds between strangers, cramps our legs into the shape of Bavarian pretzels, and can at times make us giggle manically due to the early onset of bonkdom.
Yeah, there is something special about suffering on a bicycle, and it's different for everybody, it's relative. One man's slight rise on the horizon is another man's 13%. I found this 60's Tour documentary on Competitive Cyclist's blog this morning and absolutely fell in love with it. The beginning shows spectators having picnics with wine, bread, and cheese, nun's giving the thumbs up, and of course the publicity caravan. Now wait until after the Bar/bistro bombardments and we get to the crash segment which leads to the suffering. Wait some more and you get to rider #20. I have never seen anybody push themselves like he did. I don't know if it's courageous or foolish. I won't spoil the rest of the video for you, just watch and learn.

Andy Hampsten was made famous for suffering
during the 1988 Giro.

I know I may have not felt exactly like #20 but I've come kind of close, well not even close, but remember, it's relative. On an out and back ride we had 30 mph head and cross winds on the last half of a 62 mile ride. First half of ride we had an average speed of 20 mph, that nasty second half was an average speed of 9 mph. Not fun. Correction, not fun at the time but now I can look back on the ride and laugh about it and look forward to the next bought of accidental stupidity.

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