Does any word feel as good? While I miss, dearly miss, Cycling Mecca and its amazing climbs with their unsurpassed views, there is something about riding in your own ‘hood that feels… just good.
After a spin with my son and a ride where Hal 9000 wasn’t working properly, I finally set out for a full-on Rapha Ride to celebrate my return home.
I rode over familiar roads that felt like old friends. I discovered that the RFKATP has major construction on it and thus, I cannot ride its full 6 miles. Almost in the exact middle they are redoing the entire road and there is literally nowhere for a cyclist to go.
That really bummed me out because now that I have become a Strava member, I was really looking forward to challenging myself on its rollers. But there were many other old friends to get reacquainted with.
There was the TdC Hill, which I have now re-named “Ossenfort.” Makes sense, since that is the name of the actual road, and the TdC thing is sort of dated now (since that was from my first ever group ride back in 2010), and well, let’s be honest – Ossenfort is just a cool name for a climb.
Ossenfort… sounds like a Giro climb. Or a Bond villain. “Do you expect me to talk, Ossenfort?” “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.”
And the climb is definitely a Bond villain. To remind dear readers – Ossenfort is a half-mile climb that averages about 11% with pitches to 18%. According to Strava, I am the 159th fastest out of the 205 Strava riders who’ve ascended Ossenfort.
“Do you expect me to suffer, Ossenfort?” “No, Mr. Fizz. I expect you to fail.”
But I digress.
So I went up Ossenfort, went up the Wild Horse Creek climb – a (Strava) Cat 4 climb of about a mile and a half, went up the Six Flags climb, and another short stinger of a climb called Orrville. The next day I tackled my old nemesis Hog Hollow. And while I went up it faster than I’ve ever ascended that stinging little sonofamother, I was still slogging up the thing, suffering, as if I was carrying an 25 pounds on my back… oh, that’s right. I am.
The climbing was a lot for my homeland (nearly 3000 feet), but nothing more than bumps compared to the Mulhollands, Piumas, and Stunts of Cycling Mecca. Bumps they may be, but I am still grinding up them, sweating and suffering, and loving every painful second.
Oh, did I mention weight earlier? Yes. That’s right, I owe you all a weigh-in.
Yes. 200. I checked it twice. Not 199, not 201, 200 on the nose.
A combination of joy and frustration pedaled through me as I stood staring down at the numbers. Joy for having gotten to within a single pound of the lightest I’ve been since I began this project… and frustration for getting to within a pound of the lightest I’ve been since I began this project, but not cracking the 200 mark. Ah, what might have been.
But getting down to 200 is incredibly motivating. For those of you out there battling the same Whispering Jabberwock, here are a few things to remember:
1 – Everyone goes through their time on the edge – just ask Jules and Billy Hicks from ST. ELMO’S FIRE. Meaning… we all screw up and fall back and make mistakes – just check the archives of this blog to see that – so don’t let it throw you. Just start over again the next day and do better.
2 – No matter how incredible the bad food tastes in the moment, it NEVER compares to the incredible feeling of success and satisfaction when you deny yourself and see the pounds drop.
3 – No matter how much you’re hurting or struggling on the bike, you can always go a little longer. Endure a little more. Always.
4 – Never do it globally. Do it One Day At a Time. Not a cliche – it’s true. Fact. One day at a time. You will ride today. You will eat healthy today. You will not make any excuses today. One day at a time.
And most importantly of all…
5 – You are better than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can.
See you on the other side of 200.
Ride your bike.
Never ever give up.
Fair winds and following seas, Willy