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Old 05-22-05, 07:23 PM   #1
geneman
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It's rare that while reading a book I stumble upon a passage that makes me stop, read it again, and then read it a third time. I'm especially fascinated with the topic of pain and competitive cycling. Tim krabbe provided a brilliant summary for me the other day while reading "The Rider." Here's the passage ... tell me you're not moved.

-------------------------------------------------

"How can that be: suffering is suffering, isn't it?

In 1910, Milano-San Remo was won be a rider who spent half an hour in a mountain hut, hiding from a snowstorm. Man, did he suffer!

In 1919, Brussels-Amiens was won by a rider who rode the last 40Km with a flat front tire. Talk about suffering! he arrived at 11:30 at night, with a ninety-minute lead on the only other two riders who finished the race. That day had been like night, trees had whipped back and forth, farmers were blown back into their barns, there were hailstones, bomb craters from the war, crossroads where the gendarmes had run away and riders had to climb onto one another's shoulders to wipe clean the muddied road signs.

Oh to have been a rider then. Because after the finish, all the suffering turns to memories of pleasure, and the greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure. This is Nature's payback to riders for the homage they pay her by suffering. Velvet pillows, safari parks, sunglasses: people have become woolly mice. They still have bodies that can walk for five days and four nights through a desert of snow, without food, but they accept praise for having taken a one-hour bicycle ride. 'Good for you.' Instead of expressing their gratitude for the rain by getting wet, people walk around with umbrellas. Nature is an old lady with few suitors these days, and those who wish to make use of her charms she rewards passionately.
That's why there are riders.
Suffering you need; literature is baloney."

--------------------------------------------------



Read it again.

Mark

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Old 05-22-05, 08:11 PM   #2
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Not a cyclist, but that's magnificent.
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Old 05-23-05, 02:02 AM   #3
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Very good.

When you are done reading, look at tapes of stages 13 and 14 of this year's Giro. Over thirteen and a half hours in the saddle, and ten thousand vertical feet of climbing (up to 2758 meters) in two consecutive days is pretty close to today's equivalent, I would think.

I have called these guys heroic, but lately I think that may not be strong enough.
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Old 05-23-05, 05:39 AM   #4
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I love it. I especially appreciate this description of one of my pet peeves: "Instead of expressing their gratitude for the rain by getting wet, people walk around with umbrellas." When presented in parallel with the rest of the topic it brings the concept of embracing suffering on the bike that much nearer and dearer to my heart.
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Old 05-23-05, 07:19 AM   #5
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Beautiful.

Voluntary suffering feels so ****ing good.
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Old 05-23-05, 07:37 AM   #6
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"the greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure."

True enough. The harder we climb, sprint, etc... the more serotonin is released. When that horrible ride is done, kick back and enjoy....
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Old 05-23-05, 08:24 AM   #7
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Voluntary suffering feels so ****ing good.

Amen!!

Mark
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Old 05-23-05, 08:36 AM   #8
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"The Rider" is a classic in that genre, and I have it in my cycling library.

I used to suffer greatly as a competitive runner, but I no longer suffer as a competitive cyclist. I love being on the bike so much, that I am able to put my suffering aside. Recently, I ran a TT competition averaging 97% of my max heart rate. There was more than enough pain there if I were to allow it to impinge upon my consciousness. Instead, I forced myself to think of my grip on the aerobars (I would be clenching it), and then relaxing my hands. I would then work through my body relaxing the parts, I would think of my pedal stroke checking to see if it was as efficient as it could be, I would see the road flying by, and allow the clapping of the spectators to enter my consciousness, and finally, I would picture myself on the podium in first place. I found that by replaying this sequence, I felt nothing but elation, and not until I let out a resounding retch (I am told that it frightened a police officer who thought I was having difficulty breathing as I whizzed by) at the end did I finally acknowledge the pain I had apparently suffered.
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Old 05-23-05, 09:07 AM   #9
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According to this guy, we don't really suffer.

Pain Tolerance/Threshold = BullS#!t
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Old 05-23-05, 09:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggard
According to this guy, we don't really suffer.

Pain Tolerance/Threshold = BullS#!t
Maybe he doesn't. I admit I didn't read that thread but I imaging you could spend your whole cycling life riding below your threshold of pain and be perfectly content ... that is, if you're a wuss

Alternatively, you can transcend your pain like "skydive69" and bring your performance to levels rivaling the best.


Here's my best "pain" face. I'm the guy in red and black on the left. I got nipped at the line by the guy on the right and needed 5 minutes before my breathing and heart rate returned to "normal" levels. I've replayed that sprint at least 100 times in my head and it gets better every time. Ah to be alive!

Mark
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Old 05-23-05, 10:16 AM   #11
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How can there be ecstacy without agony? How can there be joy without sorrow? Why do we suffer? We suffer because we live.
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Old 05-23-05, 10:20 AM   #12
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It's like anything else in sport, or life in general: The lows make the highs higher. We as humans, need them both.
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Old 05-23-05, 11:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geneman
Maybe he doesn't. I admit I didn't read that thread but I imaging you could spend your whole cycling life riding below your threshold of pain and be perfectly content ... that is, if you're a wuss

Alternatively, you can transcend your pain like "skydive69" and bring your performance to levels rivaling the best.


Here's my best "pain" face. I'm the guy in red and black on the left. I got nipped at the line by the guy on the right and needed 5 minutes before my breathing and heart rate returned to "normal" levels. I've replayed that sprint at least 100 times in my head and it gets better every time. Ah to be alive!

Mark
mark - that's an awesome picture! props to the photographer. man, i wish i could get some pics like that during my races.
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Old 05-23-05, 12:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggard
According to this guy, we don't really suffer.
You overlook the subtle difference between suffering and pain.

Pain is cramping up on mile 53. Suffering is mashing up three more hills and ten more miles while still cramping.

Pain is falling down and smacking your knee. Suffering is getting up and riding on with blood pouring down your knee.

Suffering is getting caught in a sudden, frigid downpour and pushing even faster even though the cold rain pelts your face, making you gasp for air like a cold shower, wet seeps into your shoes, drops obscure your view and still you push harder.

Suffering is extreme discomfort and pain ignored.
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Old 05-23-05, 01:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by timmhaan
mark - that's an awesome picture! props to the photographer. man, i wish i could get some pics like that during my races.
Thanks. Do you think it makes my butt look fat?
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Old 05-23-05, 02:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudobrit
You overlook the subtle difference between suffering and pain.

Pain is cramping up on mile 53. Suffering is mashing up three more hills and ten more miles while still cramping.

Pain is falling down and smacking your knee. Suffering is getting up and riding on with blood pouring down your knee.

Suffering is getting caught in a sudden, frigid downpour and pushing even faster even though the cold rain pelts your face, making you gasp for air like a cold shower, wet seeps into your shoes, drops obscure your view and still you push harder.

Suffering is extreme discomfort and pain ignored.
Pain is your legs filled with lactic acid while hammering up hill.
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Old 05-23-05, 02:36 PM   #17
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Pain is your legs filled with lactic acid while hammering up hill.
Oh how I love that burn.

That's it. I'm going out right now to hammer a hill in too high a gear.
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Old 05-23-05, 03:03 PM   #18
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Suffering is going off the front in a fast crit alone and holding off the pack for over 2 laps while running a HR over 95% max. Suffering is going a little deeper to push out every ounce on energy in a sprint, pain is going beyond your physical limits and doing something so bad you collaspe, pass out, throw up after.

I can not say I like pain but I will suffer because of the reasons you stated...

Of course all the suffering went away for just a second when I looked back and could not see the peloton...
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Old 05-23-05, 03:25 PM   #19
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That's it. I'm going out right now to hammer a hill in too high a gear.
Much better now. And it rained on me too. Ah the glory!
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Old 05-24-05, 05:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geneman
I've replayed that sprint at least 100 times in my head and it gets better every time. Ah to be alive!

Mark
Imagine how good it would feel if you had won

I'm the exact opposite of skydive69, during max efforts I tend to get tunnel vision and the only sound I hear is my own breathing. Different yet equally wonderful!
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Old 05-25-05, 12:55 AM   #21
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ok, i'm gonna take the antagonist role in the forums i think. It just makes me laugh as you guys don't even subtly try to make yourselves out as badasses, you blatantly try to boast. IT seems as if skydive is something of a badass, but the rest of ya just make me laugh. Geneman, maybe you would have won your race if you didn't waste your energy contorting your face to make yourself look like a hardass, try replaying it that way
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Old 05-25-05, 06:22 AM   #22
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ok, i'm gonna take the antagonist role in the forums i think. It just makes me laugh as you guys don't even subtly try to make yourselves out as badasses, you blatantly try to boast. IT seems as if skydive is something of a badass, but the rest of ya just make me laugh. Geneman, maybe you would have won your race if you didn't waste your energy contorting your face to make yourself look like a hardass, try replaying it that way
Ouch!

My prior jab at Geneman was for fun as I've ridden with him (and sucked wind way too much following him up hills...). He's a billygoat and the fact that he was contesting a sprint on a flat course means either 1) his competition was poor, or 2) he has the ability to push himself to place high on a course that is not suited to his riding style. I can tell you the correct answer is the latter.

I'd encourage you to post a picture of your perfectly composed race face, my guess is it more like your "sex face". In your mind it might look great but would have you losing poseur points upon objective review... (try to provide a wide enough angle shot so we can see how many riders are in front of you )

And to answer Geneman's original question "ENDORPHINS"
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Old 05-25-05, 06:50 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado
ok, i'm gonna take the antagonist role in the forums i think. It just makes me laugh as you guys don't even subtly try to make yourselves out as badasses, you blatantly try to boast. IT seems as if skydive is something of a badass, but the rest of ya just make me laugh. Geneman, maybe you would have won your race if you didn't waste your energy contorting your face to make yourself look like a hardass, try replaying it that way
I don't race and I make a conscious effort to keep my face calm when struggling.

Of course we come here to gloat. Normal people don't "get it." Most people are shocked at the thought of a mere 30 mile ride.

Who else will listen and understand how it feels to truly suffer except wackos like us?
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Old 05-25-05, 04:36 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado
ok, i'm gonna take the antagonist role in the forums i think. It just makes me laugh as you guys don't even subtly try to make yourselves out as badasses, you blatantly try to boast. IT seems as if skydive is something of a badass, but the rest of ya just make me laugh. Geneman, maybe you would have won your race if you didn't waste your energy contorting your face to make yourself look like a hardass, try replaying it that way
You think I would purposely try to look like that?!?!

I think you're right and that I should take up golf. ...

Thanks Steve (Mojo)!

Mark
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Old 05-26-05, 09:16 AM   #25
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Suffering is always for the soul.

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