Finding Toughness

I have not been very tough the last couple of weeks.  Mountain bike riding last weekend I gave up on a climb that should have been a piece of cake.  I couldn’t will myself to go up the hill anymore, the others were at the top far out of sight playing in mud holes and I was struggling to move forward.  I turned around and rode back to the car only to be caught and passed a mile from the trailhead.

I can’t blame it totally on my weakness, I tried a dedicated mud tire that had rolling resistance of tank tread and I didn’t eat enough causing a full on bonk, but giving up is my fault.

Fast Forward to last night, I had planned to ride with Eli in the dark on the rail-trail but it was sprinkling.  I joked with my car-pool buddy on the way home from work that I was off the hook.  When I called Eli to confirm we weren’t riding in the “awful” conditions I found it wasn’t even sprinkling, just a heavy mist.  You can’t back out of a ride because of heavy mist.

It turned out to be a great ride and like usual Eli pushed me well past my comfort zone.  I really regret not wearing my heart rate meter because it felt like I was pushing 160 bpm the entire ride.  The heavy mist turned to a full on light rain but I was soaked from warm sweat and the unseasonably warm 54 degree night made the rain welcome.

Finding Toughness has got to be easier when you ride with others.  Having someone to push you keeps you from just phoning it in.  I’ve been lifting weights for about 2 years and haven’t upped my weight much in about a year and a half.  Part of this is because I nearly quit lifting in warm months, but a bigger part is I just put what’s comfortable for me on the bar and lift, and also I don’t care about getting “ripped” I just do it to burn calories.

It usually seems like the guys that lift together and lift to the point of failure get stronger.  Last night I pushed myself to the point of muscle collapse.  About a half mile from the turnaround point I was done and started dropping gears.  Eli threw out some encouraging words and I found a strong pace to finish with, it was  like getting a spot on that final rep.

IF you want to find toughness, find someone tougher and hold on.

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About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
This entry was posted in Barn Door Cycling, lifestyle, Mountain BIking, Rides, Stories, training and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Finding Toughness

  1. fiofiofiofio says:

    You’re definitely right about finding toughness with others. Riding with other people really helps to take your mind off the misery. It could be that there’s something about the communal suffering that makes it easier to withstand it–or perhaps we just don’t want to let go when our partner/group is still going. Either way, I enjoyed the read.

  2. Pride is a powerful motivator. NO ONE wants to be the one to say “let’s slow it a little, huh?”!

  3. Steve says:

    There’s much wisdom here and in the replies. Playing off Miles’ pride theory, you could just announce on your blog that you are going to do something stupendous. You then have no choice but to do it or face condemnation from your readership! This is precisely why I post my yearly mileage on my blog. When the odometer doesn’t turn, I am forced to confront it every day.

  4. Freels says:

    This is why I do much of my road riding with JW3. He keeps pushing me to keep up a semi-respectable pace when I’m begging to slow it down & limp on back home . Did I mention that he’s on his 30lb single-speed “training” road bike during these excursions? Sheesh… I’ve got a loooong way to go to “actually” keep pace…

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