I've never been a fast rider. Granted, there was a time when I thought I was fast, but then I rode with people that actually ARE fast and realized what fast looked like.....and I'm not it.
I'm ok with that though. (ok, I'm lying. It kinda bugs me that I'm slow) because although I'm not fast, I have this innate ability to plod on despite overwhelming outside influences....in short, I can suffer. If I had a super-power, it would be in my ability to suffer....I have this built in skill that allows me to just put my head down and keep making circles even when everything in my body is trying to talk my brain into stopping and lying down.
I first noticed this superpower back when I was younger and got into running. Back then I was tall and skinny and didn't know about hydrating and proper fueling so there were times, especially in the summer, when I'd go out for my afternoon run through the hills and I'd end up at some point stopping on the side of the road and throwing up. Of course it never happened near home so despite the fact that I was probably bonking or dehydrated or overheated, I'd still have to turn around and run home. Granted, my pace would suffer, but I'd always make it home. On other occasions I'd start out for a run with the weather showing cloudy and sure enough, the skies would open up and I'd end up running the last few miles in a pouring down rain.
More recently, the first time I did the Death Ride, I mis-managed my intake and started cramping up partway up the second pass. In keeping with my past history, I just got off the bike, but continued walking up the hill until it passed. I then got back on the bike and continued to repeat the process until I had completed 3 passes which was the very minimum goal I had set for myself. Ride, cramp, walk, repeat...
In every case, my willingness to suffer through has paid off in a weird sense of accomplishment. Almost like continuing on, despite the desire to quit and despite the desire to lay down on the side of the road, is some sort of victory. In addition, on many rides the suffering will usually pass which leaves me to enjoy a great ride. At the very least, the willingness to suffer ends up proving that I can which leads to future rides where I can look back and know that this too shall pass.
This past Sunday I wanted to get out and ride. I knew that by the time I finished church, got home, changed and got out to the trail, the cool part of the day would be over and I'd be riding in the heat. I also knew I hadn't ridden in about 3 weeks so it was going to hurt.
As it turns out it was hot, about 90 degrees, and it did hurt. The amazing thing though was that since I've got this amazing superpower, I was able to make it up Brandon (suffering the entire way) and down the other side where surprisingly enough, I quit suffering and started enjoying the ride. by the time I got back to my truck an hour and half after I started, I was filthy, sweaty and beat but I was also very glad I ahd gotten out. Mentally, I was relaxed and ready to begin a new week....