Posted by: fizzhogg | March 5, 2012

It Never Gets Easier, You Just Go Faster

The awesome Steve’s recent post/link on Velominati’s cycling “rules” reminded me of something Hova told me when I first began the Unfat Project bak in 2010.

It never gets easier, you just go faster. 

I set a goal to drop three pounds this week. I wanted 210. I did not make it.

210.5

I lost two and a half pounds. Didn’t make the goal, but setting the goal served its purpose. I ate well and rode The Goat, and dropped the most weight I’ve dropped in one week.

So I’m good. And I continually reminded myself It never gets easier, you just go faster.

This means, obviously, that cycling – training; riding; climbing; et al – doesn’t ever get easier, because as you get more fit and better on the bike, you go faster, thus, pushing yourself more. I said in an earlier post one of the things I love about cycling is that I am just like Levi Leipheimer and Andy Schleck and Jens Voigt… okay, NO ONE is like Jens Voigt.

But the point is – they suffer just like we suffer. Only they are going faster. When Levi won Leadville – arguably the single most difficult one day bike race in the country – he said, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never suffered so much.”

Guess what? That’s the same thing the person who finished 884th said.

Though, I am back on the bike consistently, and eating much better, I am suffering more on my rides than ever before. I was thinking that this phenomenon might discourage others who are experiencing it. But I am here to tell you it is a sign that things are improving.

I can feel myself pushing harder on my rides. My average speed at the end does not necessarily indicate a huge difference, but when I am out there rolling along – I used to cruise at a pretty consistent 14-16mph. I am now almost always at 18mph or more.

I am still a slug on the hills, but that is because of my weight, and because I am trying to climb faster. Or at least steadier.

This weekend I put 75 miles on The Goat. I climbed nearly 7,000 feet. But the best part was that when I clipped in at the beginning of my rides, I had no idea where I was going, or how far I’d ride, or if I’d even climb at all.

I just started riding. And once out there, it just feels so good – seriously, is there anything better than being out on the bike? – to know that you’re getting healthier and stronger, and that your body craves to be pushed. So I sought out hills. On Saturday I climbed “Stunt Road” – a 4-mile climbed that averages about 7%, but unlike other climbs where there are certain recovery areas, Stunt is pretty consistent in its constant 7% grade. It has five switchbacks and a bunch of turns, and when you get to the top, you get this:

I had never ridden Stunt prior to this weekend. I had been too scared. But I felt so good after conquering it, I raced down it – the best part of climbing is descending! – and then on my way back home, decided to hit another hill, something we in Cycling Mecca call 7 Minute Hill. It got its name because the top level riders in the area try to climb it in seven minutes. I don’t know its length or average grade, but my best time is about 13 minutes.

Then on Sunday I set out again with no destination in mind. I ended up at Rock Store. I climbed it. It hurt. I can so feel the extra seven pounds I’m carrying compared to when I rode it in 20:50 last summer. But still, I did it. And at the top, you get this:

If you open the pic you can just see the Rock Store road snaking up from near the lake.

Then I descended Rock Store.

Have I mentioned how much I love descending?

Then, on my home, I took a detour – on a road I had not ridden before – and found the BIGGEST LOSER compound. That in itself was an inspiration. I rode more. Climbed more. And eventually made it back home. Exhausted, sore, and never feeling better.

Tomorrow I plan to ride again, but no climbing. Just long and flat, high cadence, lots of speed. Who knows where I’ll end up? Maybe at the base of a climb?

No matter what, though, I’ll be suffering. Because it never gets easier… you just go faster.

Eat better.

Ride your bike.

Glory through suffering.

 

Watch out for the road idiots

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Responses

  1. Nice post, though I could hardly call riding suffering…the last 1k in a half marathon, now that’s suffering. I love it like you do so it’s fun…I guess I never really looked at it that way.

    Nice ride too.

    • “..though I could hardly call riding suffering…”

      Maybe I’ll let the folks around here respond to this.

      Or maybe Levi.
      :)

      • I promise I’ll call it suffering when I find someone to pay me to ride my bike, scouts honor ;). No offense intended to you – or Levi. Right now it’s what I do to drop the stress of the daily grind – it’s my freedom.

        We’re looking at the same dollar bill from different sides, methinks.

        Either way, it’s all good.

  2. Wow, what beautiful pictures! My Dad has been riding seriously for the past 30+ years and he never gets tired of it. Some things we just gravitate towards.

    I look forward to following your blog. Check out and follow my blog at healthcoachmeg.wordpress.com to get some tips and tricks to help you along the way :)

  3. Fantastic progress this week! I eagerly look forward to some future day when I can just set off on a ride knowing I’ll be strong enough to still get home after setting off for a nice ride without a destination and, inevitably, getting horribly lost. Those are some stunning reward views.

  4. Very fine post, thanks. I see your comments on Gerry and Steve’s blogs and when you signed up to take over Gerry’s life followed you back here. So ballpark for me about where these gorgeous photos are. Colorado maybe.

    Yes yes yes, on the never easier but faster. But, d*** it, easier or not, I would like to ride uphill faster! And now after a weekend with family and the VASA ride, I have pounds to shed before that happens.

    • Ah, the lovely Suze has arrived. Welcome.

      Those photos are from Cycling Mecca, of course. Which is located in the Santa Monica mountains between Malibu, CA and Santa Barbara, CA.

  5. [...] post from March — It Never Gets Easier, You Just go Faster – was the most visited post of the year, getting 37 more hits than the next closest (from [...]


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