Saturday, May 4, 2013
I like climbing.
Climbing goes part and parcel with cycling in Colorado It doesn't matter what kind of cycling you do. You have to climb around here. We have these Big Things called the Rocky Mountains. They're kinda high. Because we live close to those mountains the terrain here isn't flat. At least not for very long. Sooner or later, on any given ride, you have to climb.
Yeah, it hurts sometimes.
If you ride a bike around here, climbing is something you have to make peace with.
I have a love/hate relationship with climbing. As I approach a climb, there's a certain loathing I experience. Something in me doesn't want to do the Work. I think about walking the climb, or I'll consider possible alternatives. However, at some point, usually just before the slope changes, something automatic kicks in and I just start working.
I start enjoying myself.
When I finally summit the climb, even a short one, I feel an exhilaration. I feel like Caesar.
Veni. Ego ascendit. Vici.
It's kind of silly-sounding, but climbing with a bike is serious business. It takes strength, endurance and intelligence. You have to have strength to push yourself ever higher, be able to carry on to the end, and smart enough to do it right.
I find climbing a useful tool. I ride a number of climbs regularly and I find that as time goes on I get through these climbs faster. It's never easier, either. It's like Greg Lemond said.
It never gets easier. You just get faster.
Climbs that a year ago, would kick your ass, still kick your ass, but the difference is that as time goes on you don't have to endure the ass-kicking for as long.
And that, dear friends, is progress.
It shows that I'm getting stronger, my lungs are improving and maybe, just maybe, a tad smarter.
I like that.
I also find that once I make it to the Top, that I've been having fun.
I like that, too.