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No Easy Way Out

January 15, 2011

It’s 5:30pm on a Friday. The bars across town are just starting to stir from the white collar 5 o’clock whistle. Comrades are striking up cheerful conversation over beer and maybe talking bad things about their bosses behind their backs. Me? I’m throwing on my wool kit getting ready to hop on my rigid single speed and head down to the greenbelt for a long night ride. It’s cold out, and drizzly. I make it to the trail and let the gray day burn off its last bit of twilight before switching on my Ayup lights. The fast trip through downtown left me wondering if my wool jersey and arm warmers would be enough to keep me warm, especially since it was drizzling, but that became an afterthought as the treesĀ  broke the wind and the demands of the trail elevated my heartrate. Soon, it was just me, some rabbits, my bike, a little bit of mud, and a lot of very slippery rocks out in the Barton Creek Wilderness contemplating the night. The overgrown vegetation was happy to share its excess moisture with my shoes and leg warmers. No biggie until another hour passed and all of sudden my legs and feet felt cold. Hunger began to enter my stomach. My body was feeling the fatigue of a week full of hard workouts after much time away. No matter. I put these superficial feelings away in the hurt locker, but not before throwing away the key. My prize is greater than warmth, food, or rest. It is knowing that when the time comes, I’ll be ready to overcome such adversities. There is a lot of truth in the saying about football: “It’s 10% physical and 90% mental.” That doesn’t quite translate to mountain biking, but in several instances the difference between 1st and 5th is decided by mental grit.

There’s no easy way out in this sport. You want results? You gotta work for them. When it’s cold, dark, and rainy, but it’s the only time you have to ride, you gotta leave that trainer at home and suck it up. When you’d rather watch TV than do an excruciating strength session, don’t expect to beat that guy who always beats you because he pays his dues. You get the picture. Now sit back and enjoy the greatest training montage of all time from Rocky IV. It came in fromNetflix yesterday and I was super pumped I got to watch it one more time…

Now, turn your computer off, get up off your rump, and go do something.

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