“The greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure. That is nature’s payback to riders for the homage they pay her by suffering. Velvet pillows, safari parks, sunglasses; people have become woolly mice. They still have bodies that can walk for five days and four nights through a desert of snow, without food, but they accept praise for having taken a one-hour bicycle ride. ‘Good for you’. Instead of expressing their gratitude for the rain by getting wet, people walk around with umbrellas. Nature is an old lady with few friends these days, and those who wish to make use of her charms, she rewards passionately.”
A beautiful paragraph, that. So true. And it made me feel so guilty for missing the training ride today.
I have ridden through blinding heatwaves and crushing hailstorms. It’s not the physical suffering that bothers me. In fact, whenever an auto putters by, or a truck rumbles past, I give them a 20 second head start, put my head down, get on the drops, clench my abs, force myself to take slow, deep breaths and shoot after them like a bat out of hell. Man against machine, meat against metal. Often they get away, sometimes they don’t. A smouldering fire slowly seeps into my legs, a nagging, dull ache that demands to be felt. It can’t be blocked. It hurts. A lot. But I love it. Every bit of it. I’m an endorphin junkie through and through.
What really bothers me is that I am required to share the road with a horde of multicoloured air-conditioned tin cans running on dinosaur juice, carrying obese woolly mice with alcohol oozing out of their ears (I exaggerate, but sometimes that is how it is.). I have seen Adi Kaul’s scars. Didn’t like the look of them. Heading out on the highway in the half-light of a cloud-covered, drizzly dawn is not the best of ideas.
But I don’t want to lose the power that took so much pain and sacrifice to build. Time to get a turbo, perhaps?