Climbing. Going up hill. Let’s all put on leotards and go hurt ourselves! Honestly, it’s ludicrous. Cycling. Is it really any different than any other cult, like the Hare Krishnas, the Kardashians or CrossFit™?
But before you get your chamois in a knot, let me say, I love it, too, the going up, the long, hard climbs of mid-summer, that one horrible bead of sweat swaying off the end of your nose, your heart settling in at something like 4,000rpm, and the up, up, up. If you’ve gone really hard, you reach the top and let the pedals go slack, rolling along at who-cares-what-speed while your head lolls around and your chest heaves.
What is good about it? I don’t know.
I mean, I could say it’s the challenge, the getting-to-the top, but I don’t know that’s the part I enjoy. I think I like the rhythm of it. I like finding the edge of my red zone and trying to find a calm, quiet place to work from.
Of course, when you don’t have the legs there is no darker place to be than stuck on the side of a long, unrelenting steep. At least year’s D2R2, I was struggling to get any good riding done, and the days longest, sustained hill nearly killed me. I stopped and put a foot down two, maybe three times. When I got to the top where my friends sat waiting, I climbed off and sat down in the sand at the edge of the road. Someone said later that they knew what I will look like when I’m dead. So yeah, climbing.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what do you love/hate about climbing? What was your best ever climb? Your worst? What do you think it is that drives so many people to seek out the most difficult terrain? Is it as simple as finding places to test oneself? Are we crazy? Or really, really crazy?