Dishing Out The Pain

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Two days after the first race of the season and a lingering cough that sounds like I have been a smoker for decades remains.  On my last post I said that I had learned a few things from the first race and my Garmin.  Today, I discovered another.  Racing, competing against others and thinking about the next time we all meet on a starting line, is fine motivation. 

As I was running errands this morning, trapped behind the wheel of a car, I saw an older gent on a road bike, all kitted up and rolling along at a smart clip.  Envious, I prodded the go-pedal a little harder, speeding up “The Brave Little Toaster,” my ’06 Scion Xb, and hustled home, to kit up, and get out there too.   All I have to do sometimes is see another rider, out there, on the bike and I get inspired.

Inspired by this rider, my thoughts turn to musing about the recent race and I find myself thinking,  “I wonder what the other guys- especially those eleven race-rivals – are doing today? How hard are they training?”  These thoughts are reminiscent of the past, when I would use thoughts of other competitors to spur me to work a little more and a little harder – an extra set, another climb, a few more miles.

It had been a busy day doing things other than cycling, so with a declining sun on a partly cloudy day, I suited up, aired up and warmed up for a hard ride – at least one harder than “those other guys” – or so I hoped. 

And gleefully-hard I went. 

Thirty six miles in 2:11, with an average heart rate of 137bpm.  Twenty of those minutes are warm up and cool down, so this ranks as a pretty hard one.  The movie running in my head has me riding hard tempo.  I have been called to the front by the Directeur Sportif, to set the pace and fry the legs of Team Other Guys.  Phil Liggett’s British accent fills my head as he commentates –  “Hart has moved to the front, pounding out the pace, ticking over like a big diesel engine.” Paul Sherwin chimes in, incredulous, wondering aloud, “James Hart is dishing out the pain. Just where does he get the strength?”  

The things we do to amuse ourselves.

All I wanted to do when I arrived at the finish line called home, was eat and get horizontal.  

To answer Paul Sherwin’s question –  I get the strength from the freedom I’m allowed to focus on training, from the Phil and Paul soundtrack, from an unnamed gent on a bike.  And, from eleven unknown cyclists who melted me down at McDowell Mountain Park this Saturday past.

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