Sunday, September 30, 2012

Most climbing so far!

Today I completed a 67 mile ride that was among the hardest things I've ever done on two wheels. "Only 67 miles?! what's so hard about that!?", you are probably thinking.

The part about a total elevation gain of 6,900 feet (the elevation shown below is debatably accurate, although much higher). That is a ton of climbing. Six summits, to be precise, plus a handful of smaller climbs to keep things interesting.

And, I will say that I am actually thoroughly enjoying the fact that I got completely and totally beaten up by the elevation on this ride. While I know that I am not slow (I am sometimes frustrated by being the fastest person on a ride), I felt like a brand new rider again. It was like I was learning the true meaning of climbing, and seeing a mountain for the first time - both at once. Aaaannnnd... then I experienced what felt like total body failure at the end of summit 5 (with still about 1000 feet of climbing left to go on the ride back to New Haven.). Everything hurt, and every time the road pitched upwards even slightly my legs felt like bricks. The last long climb seemed to go on forever. A gap would start forming between me and the [notably all elite or pro level racers] group, and then I watched the formation of what felt like an abyss. At some point, one of the strongest riders doubled back for me and rode behind me, periodically launching me forward by a hand on the small of my back. By this point I was beyond cracked and beyond caring about the patheticness of such help. I was only thankful. Since getting back, I've been thinking about the incredible strength it would take to ride up a mountain AND periodically push a 123# weight. Pretty wild. At the time, I was in too much pain to think about anything but the top.

It's nice to be totally, completely and absolutely humbled. And, that I am.

No excuses about Crohn's or having an ileostomy, or nutritional deficits related to the prior. All of that is my back story, and certainly effects my stamina. But, the real determinants of strength and speed are time spent on the bike, sweat, pain, and the will to inflict more suffering on yourself. The only way to get stronger is to put in the effort. So, I'll consider this ride an investment.

Check it out:

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