Ohhhhh yea. The stairs at InnoTech crushed me this morning. If any of the desk-clowns I work with attempted the stairs, they would have looked like me on this fine, rainy day. Huffing, puffing, pushing off my knee in a futile effort to rise easier.
But why? Aren't I a strong cyclist-type with legs of steel? Apparently not. How could I be humiliated by 4 short flights of stairs? It's as if a child could flick my knees and I'd implode like standing on a coke can, or better yet, that steel building #7 at the World Trade Center. My excuse? A tumultuous 14 hour week on the bike came to an end yesterday.
This is new for me. This notion of 'base miles' and 'power intervals' but without a new film to work on, I've emersed myself in cycling and training. And on those rare off-days it feels good. But for the love, in between when I'm grinding out the efforts it's anything but easy. Anything but fun. And sure as hell isn't cool. How do the pro's do this? First thing they don't get paid enough to. They don't get the social support or praise for it. It's sheer work. Painful. Mind-numbing, somedays humiliating (enter today).
I wonder more how non-pro's do this season after season. But this is what it takes to climb the ladder in cycling, especially when you're blessed with a sub-70 vo2 Max. And I guess that is the answer to my question. So few people have a clue - even many who ride. Hell I didn't really understand until I followed this country's best while filming ORTA yet I had 'raced' for years. Cycling has got to be one of the hardest sports to progress in. It simply has to be. I cannot imagine many other sports where the top athletes are actively engaged in doing it for 20+ hours a week. Maybe I'm just clueless about that too. Either way the point is that to claw my way out of cat 4 or to climb the podium as an expert - this is what it will take. I think some part of me must love the overwhelming challenge of it. It's along the same lines as "Oh, so ya wanna be a movie director huh? Do you know what that takes???" Should I blame my parents for this masochistic gene? Is Darwin cursing or laughing at me? Well he can get in line with the rest of my co-workers.
Come to think of it, this is why cyclists justify owning 6 bikes. Or paying an extra $150 for carbon brake levers when the aluminum ones that came on the bike do just as fine of a job (and sometimes weigh less). When you spend as much time on the bike as we do, you need reasons to flog yourself further. You need carrots since we can't eat doughnuts. So to speak. And the vicious cycle continues. For me the new toy is a Fuel EX9. So far it's lived up to the hype surrounding it. Minus the 2 blowouts in one ride. After an entire season blow-out free, I'm sold on tubeless. Saturday night I tweaked and tuned my new beauty. Switched out the stock cassette for the ultra-light Sram with nifty red spindle (matches the nifty red skewer), sported new Nevigals from Kenda (the best tire ever made) and soon I'll replace the lame XT cranks with a chi-chi Noir from TruVative. Bet you didn't know Shimano is Japanese for "LAME" and any company that makes fishing and snowboard supplies should stay away from cycling. There. Someone said it.
Oh, besides all the riding I found time to make 2 new bird houses that will hopefully attract Bluebirds. I think I'm going to hack my useless back yard into a mini-eco-system. If nothing else it will give my cat more things to chase when she's out on her leash. Photos later today...