Friday, 5 June 2015

If you've never been a climber, can it start today?

I will admit that I have a BMI which does not match with Contador.  Not even in the same universe.  And by no means would I ever compare myself to any elite rider who can ride a bike for a living, or even race at an amateur level for that matter.  I just want to make the point that there is no way in hell that I could ever climb like a climber.  I am just under 5'10" and I carry more weight than I should - I think of myself as stout with big quads.  Therefore, my power to weight ratio is a "challenge."  Even if my legs are full of power, they are never going to be strong enough to haul this fat ass up a hill with any great speed.  On the other hand, flat roads or downhills are pretty good for me.  But if the grade goes above 3-4%, my speed drops tremendously.

I think everyone who rides wants to get better and faster if they enjoy road riding.  Whether they want their top speed on the flats to rise, their descending skills to improve, or to be able to keep up to their group on moderate climbs.  Nothing difficult comes easy, right?  I'm not scared of hard work and I realize the only way to get better at climbing is to do it, over and over.  In addition, losing a few pounds and strengthening my cardiovascular system should help right?  Here's the problem ... I really do believe that some people are just not meant to be climbers.  I have been riding a lot over the last 6 years and forever before that.  Climbing still sucks.  I love the torture of it and the challenge, but the results seem to be out of reach!

I'm at the point now where I have to do one of two things.  Either, I need to hire a coach and nutritionist to point me in a new direction (unlikely).  Or, I need to accept the fact that I'm the guy who will pull the group in the wind on the flats until the climb starts, and then fade off into the sunset as they leisurely pull away from me up the hill.  If I can at least keep a decent pace up the hill, maybe my fat ass will help me descend back close to the group before they hit the next climb.  Maybe this is a defeatist attitude, but I see no actual value in deluding myself.

I tried to lighten my bike to help with the hills.  Yeah I know ... "it will never turn you into a climber."  However, I enjoyed spending money on light weight components and making my bike look great.  At 15 lbs, it isn't the lightest, but it's pretty light.  In fact, I'm sure there are thousands of people who have done exactly the same thing as me, and have similar results.  In fact, I see every group ride why this is false hope brought on by the marketing geniuses of the bike industry.  There are riders in my group who are over 6 feet tall, weigh less than me, have bikes that are double the weight of mine (one even has a single speed bike), and they are MUCH faster climbers than I.  I also believe that they are all younger than me too, but that has nothing to do with it though, because I refuse to age.  Just ask my wife about the childish behaviors I exhibit most of the time.  

In the end, I don't take cycling too seriously.  I love riding.  I even love climbing.  But really, I love the bikes, the tech, the group riding, the gran fondos, working on my bikes, and wearing tight clothing that makes me look fast (fat?) when I'm standing still.  I also really enjoy supporting charities through cycling events that raise funds.

Just remember, if I pass you on the road with a serious look on my face, it's only because I know you will kick my ass on the next climb.

Hope everyone is having a great riding season here in the northern hemisphere.

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