October 20, 2011

The Essence of why we Ride.

Rapha Continental USA Pro Cycling Challenge Stage 2 from RAPHA on Vimeo.

Another day, another beautiful Rapha video. This one stands out for me in the team spirit within the guys. They know the day is going to be hard but there is an anticipation of that. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be real – or something in that vain.

2 weekends ago we took off on a ride towards Franschhoek. 200km long and along some of my favorite roads in the area. The route reminds me of good times, great rides and best friends. We had some riders join for parts of the route but essentially it was just myself and Matt for the entire way. It was a challenge and it was one of the key rides for me for what would be Challenge Cape Town.

We ride because we want to see where the limits lie. Sure, it’s fun at times but without limits we wouldn’t ride nearly as much. On that day, some limits were definitely discovered. At times, it was that the limits I had set for myself were too low. At other times, that they are possibly too high. Unless you test them, how will you ever know where they are? They are a reference point and a moving reference point at that.

Some great lessons can be learnt in just a few short hours (not that a 200km ride is a few short hours) on the bike. For me, more so than on the run. The bike allows me to learn lessons day after day. I am not conditioned enough to run 2hours a day, ever day. I`ll leave that to the Ryan Sandes’ of the world. No, for us, the bike is the easiest way to learn what the body can do and cannot do.

I really like the line where he says… “That was the most brutal, beautiful day…”

Sums it up nicely. That haze which hangs over your vision for the afternoon after a 5 hour smash in the saddle, the joy of putting 2 500 calories in your face for lunch and not even blinking throughout the process and the 40min nap that feels like a full 8 hour sleep shortly afterwards. Sure, we are shattered but wow, what a feeling.

This morning I had to ride intervals for the first time in roughly 6 months. It hurt more than I care to remember and was a reminder that in the next 2 weeks I am going to hurt a lot. Those limits are not very high at the moment. I have a great diesel engine, prepped for an Ironman distance race that needs to be molded into something resembling speed before Triple Challenge in a few weeks. Limits. Essences. Beautiful, brutal days ahead.


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