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.
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.
Ride your bike.
Glory through suffering.
Watch out for the road idiots