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Monday, June 26, 2006

The Four Hour Window

guinea pig

Yesterday, me n' the Bella went out for a long, luxurious ride in the dirt. The day before had been a Pesky road race full of zipping descents and grinder-climbs. Bella had flatted early in her race and I just had flat legs my whole race.

The geezer field wasn't all that frisky, but eventually a break got off and there wasn't much I could do about it. We blacky-Safeway-ites only had a couple guys in the field - ReedO was upchucking some serious jetty-lag from a Copenhagen flight and Lothar had been moving into his new house all week and gotten an average of 3.4 hours sleep for the duration. I know they are both tough guys ... but that's asking a bit too much of them.

I did my best to keep myself in the race, but I straight-up didn't have the mustard to overcome the ob-stack-els. Heading up the finishing climb, with 4 guys up the road a good minute, K.MetCalf took his chops to lop off my testicles with about a dozen machete-swing accelerations up those final few Ks of climbing. I wanted to reach over and smack him, cuz i was NOT in the mood to feel that much pain.

Webcor's Scotty Count Frak-ula clawed his way back on with a few hundred meters to run and it was a 3-way jingle-jangle for 5th ... whoopee. Frakula went sprinty-like up the last 200 meters and I sighed with a bit of, "oh man, do we HAVE TO?" He kept the gas on and with 50 meters to go I had to decide if I was going to put out the effort to move the bike past him.

oy ... i just couldn't muster the will power.

Suffering, to me, I envision as this giant tachometer. The more you race and train and put yourself through the ringer ~ the more familiar you become with exactly how far you have to push the engine into the higher RPM's to achieve specific goals. The more you train and race, the more familiar you become with the sensations required to reach certain RPM's ... the pain required.

Cycling is haaaaarrrrrrd.

- - -

So, on the long dirt ride with my woman yesterday ... in the 4th hour of pedaling, she starts pouring on the power up the climbs. I mean, riding much harder and with much more grit than she does in our shorter rides and certainly more than she did in the beginning of that day's ride.

On the TachoMeter of suffering, when we're fresh ... we can hit 6 or 7000 rpms and go pretty damn fast. You know how it feels ... the race is just starting and you go out there and open up the throttle and juice up the hills big and beefy ... and fast. But at the end of races, after a couple few hours of ouch and zowwy ... to reach that same speed ~ you need to push the TachOMeter up past 7K, towards 8 ... or higher. Fatigue slows us down and we have to dig deeper and deeper to find the speed. Letting more pain creep in.

You know what i'm talkin' about.

What I've noticed about some bike riders ... is that, once the hours have traveled past and the world's colors have altered from lenses shaded in hurt ... they allow themselves to suffer more. They release the inhibitions about what should and shouldn't be painful, because they now allow that everything should be painful. They free themselves to feel the hurt and do not fear the consequences of it flooding through them.

... and they revel in it.

That damn tachometer then gets pinned to 9 ... looking for 10. All the time, a gritty-toothed smile etches between pulled back lips, hungry for more.

that shit rules.


Jed said: said...

the queen is weird like that.

She'll be all slow n shit on the road climbing and whatever then she'll finda big ole dirt fireroad climb and just kill it.

How do it know?

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Yeowch. That's a great analogy.

Thanks for the mid-climb holler on Saturday. I needed it right then to keep me honest.

Velo Bella said...

ouch o meter?

you silly.

velogirl said...

Of course, everyone knows women have better endurance than men. It's all that extra adipose we're packing.

Nate Rogers said...

flat legs eh? Making a field suffer on the DOWNHILL is flat legs? looked like you were dragging the pack by the scruff of their to watch! good job out there mike.

X Bunny said...

not in the mood for pain

next thing you know you'll tell us you weren't in the mood for beer