Sunday, August 12, 2012

Doesn't that hurt?!?

When the subject of my cycling comes up  and people find out how long I ride for (six hour training rides, occasional races or mountain riding days much longer), the topic inevitably turns to how much that saddle would hurt them if they tried that. 

Guess what?  It hurts me too. 

Okay, it no longer hurts me as much as it would hurt someone who doesn't bike a lot to go that long, I admit.  But the dirty little secret in the cycling world is that you really don't ever get to the point where it doesn't hurt past a certain point.  Well, maybe there are some people that do, but I really don't think so. 

What I think is that you get your body used to it and it will stop hurting very early in your rides after a few weeks.  Then you'll go a few months where it only starts hurting after a couple hours but you can handle an hour or so of the pain before it gets to you.  Then you kind of come to an either love to bicycle enough that you learn to ignore the pain or you don't and you never ride more than that couple hours plus maybe a tad of pain, depending on how much fun you're having with your buddies.

Guess what?  That's fine.  Contrary to what some cyclists might imply, it really is fine to make that choice.  It doesn't make you less tough, it just means you probably don't love to be on that bike quite as much as some people.  And there's nothing wrong with that.

Me?  I've found a love of being on a bicycle that let me push through that pain because I wanted to.  I sure never had to.  I don't feed my family with a bicycle.  Nobody is holding a gun to my head and making me do it.  My riding group is a little nuts, but we all have time constraints that limit riding time for whatever reason and nobody ever complains about it. 

And yes, once you make that decision that you're going to push through it, in a few months you do extend your time before it hurts some more.  To maybe four or even five hours.  And then it starts to ache here and there and you find yourself finding places to stand and pedal for a while, you fidget, you might complain to your riding buddy (which never does much good, because he's in the same boat as you, most likely), and you fight on through.  Why?  Because there's just something a bit magical about riding a bicycle.  To some more than others.

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