The human mind is designed to forget how much things suck. That is a fact. If women had the capacity to retain meaningful data on how horrible things can be, there would be exactly zero families on the planet with more than one child. This has nothing to do with how wonderful children are; it has to do with how birthing a child is the most painful thing one can do in this life and live to tell the tale. Or so I’m told. But women happily bear a second or even a third child; with each labor a fresh-faced surprise at how much the birthing process blows on a visceral level.
On the other hand, we are very good at remembering how great things can be. Like sex. Which is an ironic counterpoint to the above paragraph. I swear I didn’t plan that. (I don’t “plan” any of my writing. I do this for fun.)
I ostensibly observe at this stage in the article-writing-process that maybe I should start planning some of my writing. Because this is going nowhere.
I am vocally quiet about my uneasiness with Strava from the perspective that it causes us to focus on doing good times on segments of our rides which is in conflict with the discipline required to Train Properly. That said, Strava can be a lot of fun in the sense that it provides a kind of passive-active competitive nature to Cycling. To that point, I have been riding with the group out of Hedrick Cycles in Greenwood, Seattle recently; the owner, Carson, is on a rampage to collect the KOM‘s on the local circuits.
KOM is an oxymoron because none of these targets are climbs; he is chasing after the descents.
Seattle has a lot of good descents hidden around, even within the metropolitan area. Mostly because it is a very hilly area to the extent that I can’t find a satisfactory “flat” route to spin on for a recovery day. Which means I’ve learned to “recover” on climbs. Which feels a little bit like bragging. You’re welcome.
As a non-GPS-using rider, I have been very happy to help Carson in his endeavor to bag some tags on the local descents as lead-out monkey and I have to admit it is one hell of a cortisol fix. The descents aren’t even about the KOM anymore, the whole group just attacks one another over and over again all the way down the descent until we reach a stalemate and we start to work together, burning ourselves out and rolling off the front like a worn-out banana peel.
Based on the opening paragraph of this article, I understand that the following claim is unprovable: these descents have put me further into the hurt locker than many climbs I’ve done, barring Haleakala.
Which brings to bear an important reminder: descents are not for recovery. They should hurt every bit as much as the climb, if not more. And if you misjudge a corner, it will hurt a lot more than the climb, possibly for a bit of a while because road rash sucks.
Ride hard on the way up; ride harder over the top, and ride like you stole something on the way down. That is all.
Vive la Vie Velominatus.