I read an interesting quote about cycling today, it punctured my cycling dreams. It said ‘Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster’ – Greg Lemond. That made me feel a little bit sick. I dream about the day when I’m averaging plus 20mph on a long ride and it’ll just feel like I’m sauntering about. But according to said quote this zen state of cycling is unattainable. I mulled this over for some time.
Then I mulled it over some more.
And I came to the conclusion that it never gets any easier because you don’t want it to. That sounds idiotic. I’m sure you could actually cycle around a park or something and if you were fit and fairly able then that would get easier over time. But if you love cycling then you won’t cycle aimlessly around a park for the rest of your life. You’ll have a trajectory that goes something like this…
Aged 5: First bicycle, red with yellow tyres. Ride around the garden all day.
Aged 10: Long term loan of older brother’s bike. Cycle around neighbourhood trying to go really fast around that cul de sac corners and getting some airtime by jumping off the pavements. Starting to feel good.
Aged 14: First proper mountain bike. Red and White Trek with no front suspension.
Aged 15: Dad puts suspension on Trek bike for you. You spend a good few hours in the garden spraying the forks white so that they match the rest of the paintwork. Whilst trying not to spray the flower pots or anything else that mum will kill you for.
Aged 16: Start mountain biking properly and regularly in the Wiltshire countryside. The love builds.
Aged 16 and a half: You start to feel that the bike might be more than a bike. That it might actually be more like an extension of your body than a piece of grouped together components.
Aged 17: Family trip to the Welsh mountains to go biking. You now know the bike is an important part of your life. Awkward. No turning back.
Aged 20: You buy your first road bike with your own money.
Aged 21: You decide to ride Fred Whitton in the coming summer.
Because loving cycling means that you don’t carry on riding that tiny red bike with yellow tyres forever – you look for bigger challenges, ones that will test you and grind your body under the millstone of your will. That millstone never gets any lighter. Thus, it never gets easier because you don’t let it, nay, you don’t want it to. The challenge is in the hard work and the sweat and thats where the enjoyment lies too.
Over the next five months I’ll be training for the Fred Whitton challenge. 112 miles in the Lake district including the mountain passes of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Winlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose. 112 miles of pain. In one day. Actually probably 111 miles of pain. I can imagine enjoying the first mile or so before the hills begin. I’ll keep you up to date with training, weight loss, bike alterations, friendly advice etc.
If it doesn’t get any easier then I’m going to do my darn hardest to make sure I go faster.