Posted by: fizzhogg | July 30, 2010

Never Give Up

I rode today. First time in several days. I ate prior. I hydrated – that’s fancy cycling talk for drank water.

Newbie cycling secret #44 – It is just as important to drink lots of water BEFORE you ride as it is to drink during.

So off I went. I started out on the road-formerly-known-as-the-Pyrenees. I knocked that out, but not in the lightning 24 minutes of last week. I did it just under 29 minutes. At the moment it struck me as odd. I didn’t feel bad. Yes, there was a small headwind, but it was… small. Maybe a minute or two small, not almost five minutes.

I kept riding.

I finished the RFKATP and continued on through an area I had never cycled before. Let me pause here to say that’s one of the great things about cycling – going new places, seeing new things. You can’t do that jogging. Well, you could, but you’d have to jog a long way.

So I’m rolling along this nice new area, and I can tell it’s hot. And humid. How hot? We’ll get to that in a bit.

Another five or six miles into the ride I came to an area I had ridden previously – see this post.I knew there was a huge hill coming. See the third photo in that post.

I had heard about the hill. The Tour de Cure folks had a training ride out here. They told us, “The hill is rather steep… you can try it, or just turn around and go back.”

Nothing scares the Contador out of newbie cyclists like a statement like that. Of course we wouldn’t try it! If you scare us, then give us the option of not doing it…

I kept riding.

I rounded the first corner if the hill and found that it gets much steeper as you go. Now I really have no clue how to gauge grade percent on hills. I watched the TDF and I know some grades of a few hills (and one mountain) I’ve climbed, but when I tell you that Chad is 5 or 6 %, I’m talking out of my bibs.

Some cyclists around here have said Chad is 5-6%, others have said it’s 7-8%. Whatever it is, it isn’t very long, thank Jens. I don’t know its actual length, but I can be fairly sure it’s about a 3-iron for me. So say it’s 200-220 yards. Give or take.

I’m digressing about Chad so you have some perspective of the Tour de Cure hill I was scooting up today.

See, if Chad is 5-6%, then I can accurately estimate that this hill  starts out about the same for the first 100 meters, then curves around and suddenly becomes 8-9%, easy. This goes for close to 100 meters, then it flattens out a bit for a 100 meters, then another turn and it ramps up to maybe about 4% for 500-600 meters before the last turn and then the final ascent is probably 5-6% for at least 50 meters.

I was suddenly in a very bad mood. I wanted to stop. I wanted to turn around. There was no end of this masochistic mound in sight.

I kept riding.

Finally, at the summit, or within a couple of feet of it, I stopped. I couldn’t even ride over the summit. I just stopped. My breathing was out of control. I felt like garbage. I couldn’t even get my breath enough to drink. I just stood there, straddling the Unfat Machine, hoping a car would come by with a bucket for me to vomit into, or better yet, just hit me and put me out of my misery.

When I finally managed to calm down enough to drink, I did. I had just Gu’d up about ten minutes before the hill, so it wasn’t time to eat. But drink I did.

I turned around and zoomed down the hill. Eventually – and here’s another great thing about cycling – eventually I recovered.

Newbie cycling secret #21 – You will ALWAYS recover.

As I rolled through the wooded flats again, feeling better. Not good, but better, I thought about heading home. I had ridden about 12 miles. Therefore I knew going home would give me a nice 24-mile ride with the conquering of the Tour de Cure hill. But something happened when I came to the fork in the road where I could either return home on the RFKATP, or continue on in another direction.

I kept riding.

Refusing to go home. Refusing to give up. Mike Iaconelli flashed in my mind. My son and I have watched him fish and our family always uses his cry of “Never Give Up!” Apologies to Jim Valvano fans.

I rode to the levee trail and felt like this guy as I rolled with a nice tailwind for four miles. I got to the end, and felt… tired. Again. But I refilled my water bottles and instead of going home…

I kept riding.

Into the headwind. I don’t know how mighty a wind it was, but despite exerting my wattage to its max (that’s fancy cycling talk for pedaling as fast as I can) I never got the Unfat Machine above 10mph. It sucked. I felt like I was going to throw up.

But I kept riding.

Eventually I made it home (ending with Chad) and saw I’d ridden 34.9 miles in about 2 1/2 hours. I checked the weather and saw I was riding in 92 degrees with a 106 heat index. Now I know why I was so cooked.

But once I was home and recovered I was SO GLAD that I never gave up. I had numerous opportunities today to go home. To quit. To only do so much. But I pushed myself. Why?

Because I’m tired of being fat. I’m tired of not fitting into clothes. I’m tired of being embarrassed around other people.

So I kept riding.

Eat better.

Always keep riding.


Fair winds and following seas, Willy


  1. Great job! Once you give in, you make it just a little bit easier to quit next time. And before you know it quiting becomes a habit. Having said that, it’s important to listen to your body and know the difference between “good pain” and “seriously, if you don’t stop now we’re going to the hospital” pain!

  2. Nice message on recovering. We always recover. I’ll remember that.

  3. […] finally, the brutal Tour de Cure Hill, of my famed “Never Give Up” post. Guess what? Not 8-9%, with some 4% and 5% sprinkled in. Noooo. The TDC hill starts out […]

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