Suffer Face


These guys were suffering

I know I certainly have had many moments of pain and suffering during riding a bike.  For me the latest occurred during the infamous Powerline climb that occurs around mile 83 of the Leadville 100 MTB Race.  The first two false summits had to be walked due to steepness, slickness, fatigue and train of other riders walking (hmmm…am I making excuses).  Once over the second false summit I climbed back into the saddle to tackle the rest of Powerline to the top of Sugarloaf pass.  I forced myself to ride it out while watching many others off their bikes slowly pushing the climb. One rider was in the woods keeled over, puking, calling for someone to send a medic.  I saw several others sitting by the side of the trail, heads in hands, physically drained.  During the struggle in my mind of not getting off my bike I remembered what Ken Choubler said at the pre-race meeting, “You are better than you think you are, you can do more than you think you can”.  I believe that deep down in every cyclist there is a pleasure for pain.  Lance Armstrong was quoted as saying, “Cycling is so hard, the suffering is so intense, that it’s absolutely cleansing. The pain is so deep and strong that a curtain descends over your brain… Once, someone asked me what pleasure I took in riding for so long. ’Pleasure?’ I said. ’I don’t understand the question.’ I didn’t do it for pleasure, I did it for pain.”  I’m sure, as I climbed Powerline, I was wearing a suffer face similar to the one captured in the above photo taken at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.  I’m not sure what mine looks like because that is something that you cannot just create on a whim.  Maybe someday, somebody will capture my suffer face.

2 Responses to “Suffer Face”

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  1. Marina says:

    You have really interesting blog, keep up posting such informative posts!

  2. Well said!! ‘I do it for the pain’ .. I think mountain bike racing must be a lot like giving birth.. (at least from what I hear). It’s incredibly painful and difficult, but afterwards you go and get pregnant again! :)

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