The Art of Suckage

My friend Lindsey and I headed up Cypress Mountain. This ride can be summed up in 3 letters…W, T, and F! I think my competitive swimming back ground is playing a role in my suckage. When swimming, I went out hard and then tried to hang on for dear life…if you didn’t want to hurl it wasn’t a good race. Here in lies the problem. Never having experienced the ride up Cypress, I hit it as if I were swimming. I should have known that while going  up a mountain it is better to pace yourself from the beginning and not “giv’er” off the  first peddle stroke. By the 3 km mark I was ready to chuck a lung. Lindsey was a trooper. Steady Eddie. She was smooth and strong and kept a good pace. Me? I was all over the place….literally. I was contemplating  doing the zigzag maneuver to get me up the damn hill. The only thing steady  for me was my cadence at about 30 f-bombs a minute. During a serious pity session of “What the hell am I doing?” followed by an “If I barf up both lungs… could I still be a functioning human being?”, I was passed (no surprise there) by an exceptionally handsome man in a “F Cancer” jersey (www.letsfcancer.com  : Did you know that 90% of cancers are curable when caught in stage 1?? Fascinating!…yet severly disturbing). I saw that as a bit of a sign to suck it up and stop whining. On ward and up ward.

Over 1/2 way there and again Linds was rocking it. I find out now that apparently she LIKES going up hill!! She likes getting into the groove and zen-ing out. I always knew she was a titch crazy but I never thought she was completely nuts.  In my world “hill” is a big fat 4 letter word. As my self-pity started to seep deep into my soul and my cadence upped itself to 60 f-bombs a minute, I was once again passed (SHOCKER!) by yet another handsome, and exceptionally cheery, man in a vividly pink jersey telling me to smile…will a grimace do?? (Side bar: Are all roadies good-looking? Is it a prerequisite to buying a bike? And if not… do you become better looking as you become more roadie-ish? Let’s discuss…). Anyway…back to my pity session…This time it was for Team Finn ( www.teamfinn.com).  First Mr. F-Cancer and now Mr. Team Finn-Just-Keep-Smiling. I lost my mum to the beast of breast cancer and I swear, as those men rode by I felt my mum smacking me up-side the head.  Half way up a mountain and it was time for a HUGE reality check.

Job, kids, husband, friends, family, life, and training. It has all been a little overwhelming to balance. Then, while grunting up a hill, I am faced with the fact that I am one hell of a lucky woman. An amazing husband who pushes me out the door to go for rides (nail scratch marks are evident on all door jambs), a fantastic job(s), brilliant friends who are willing to do a gruelling race by my side, and beautiful, healthy, happy kidlets. So, as I train and feel my legs burn, my back aches, and my lungs want to explode I remember that all of it is self-inflicted. I have a choice to stop the merry-go-round (or in this case the pedals and wheels) unlike some people in the world.

I have gone up Cypress again and this time I ripped a page from Lindsey’s book and pulled out the slow steady zen card. My cadence dropped to 1 f-bomb every few minutes (can’t give them up completely…wouldn’t be me if I did) and I actually enjoyed the climb. Appreciated it all…the climb, the burn, the descent.

P.S. Since writing this I have…

A. Rode in the PrimaFondo in Squamish. My first ride with over 5 riders! Yeah me! It was an amazing day and a fantastic ride. Thanks Corsa Cycles! (Once again, I pose the question of attractiveness and roadiness)

B. Rode 114 km out and about to Brittania Beach. Things I learned? First: Big ringing it up Taylor way (intentional or not) is not the way to go. Secondly: Big rigs who honk while coming up behind you (while you are without a doubt in the bike lane!!) can suck my _ _ _! Thirdly: Post ride…keep fingers and small children away from my mouth…they WILL get eaten.

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