Thursday, July 1, 2010

Love/Hate or just Hate?

My Relationship with Cycling
I'm new to cycling.  I haven't even owned my road bike for a whole year, yet I like to consider myself a "rider."

Before I came to Italy around a month ago, I had only ridden on the flat terrain in Florida.  No hills.

Coming to Florence and riding throughout Tuscany with Ged has completely changed my perceptions about cycling.  It's really freaking hard.  I have a new respect for the sport, but it seems that with that new respect there has also developed a slight hatred of it.

This was me pouting before our ride on Monday afternoon in Elba.  Thanks for the candid shot, Ged.

There are times (quite often actually) where I dread going on a ride.  There's something so discouraging about turning a corner after just finishing a steep climb and seeing yet another steep road ahead.  And by the time I reach the top (about 30 min. after Ged), I can't breathe for about five minutes.  It can be nauseating, infuriating, exhausting.  I guess one can argue that those are all elements of a good workout, right?  Yes and no.

I like being challenged physically and pushing myself.  When beach volleyball was in season, I would spend all day under the hot South Florida sun chasing after a volleyball and sweating until my body felt as dehydrated as a raisin.

But there's a difference:  I loved volleyball.

I'm not sure I love cycling.  But I do wonder if I can learn to love it.

You know, kind of like what happens in an arranged marriage:  As more time passes, the potential of developing tender feelings grows.

I have this awesome road bike and all of these hills.  Couldn't I appreciate this sport and come to enjoy it after spending enough time with it?  But do I even want to spend my time on it, because what if I never come to enjoy it?

Light at the End of the Tunnel
I must say that I did have one of those "breakthrough" moments yesterday.

Ged and I went for a ride after he finished work.  We did a part of this ride--a ride we had done exactly a month ago.  I can remember how hard I thought this ride was the first time I did it four weeks ago.  I remember hating the world.  I remember wanting to barf.  None of those thoughts or feelings resurfaced yesterday as we rode to Imprunetta and finished our 35 km ride.

I felt great climbing and getting out of the saddle to haul myself up to the top.  I even felt, dare I say it, happy.

Despite the good ride I had, I'm almost certain that yesterday's feelings of accomplishment will disappear by the next hilly ride.  I'll be too busy thinking about gradients and being able to breathe.

So, I guess what I'm asking is is there a point where you find out if you like or don't like a certain sport?

As a newbie, I know that any sport is going to frustrate me at first, but I have never found it so difficult to motivate myself as I have with cycling.  I want to keep pushing myself in hopes of eventually loving this sport, however, I don't want to set myself up for self-destruction either.

Any thoughts/opinions would be much appreciated.


1 comment:

  1. ride at your own pace especially up hill. I used to hate the same dread but if you just keep to a pace riding up hill is no longer hard. Also when you start getting faster and better its a great feeling. Dont give up just yet keep going!