Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I Do It for Pain

Cycling is so hard, the suffering is so intense, that it's absolutely cleansing. You can go out there with the weight of the world on your shoulders, and after a six-hour ride at a high pain threshold, you feel at peace. The pain is so deep and strong that a curtain descends over your brain. At least for a while you have a kind of hall pass, and don't have to brood on your problems; you can shut everything else out, because the effort and subsequent fatigue are absolute.

There is an unthinking simplicity in something so hard, which is why there's probably some truth to the idea that all world-class athletes are actually running away from something. 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.

From Lance Armstrong's autobio It's Not About the Bike.
Words that are partly why I seek to climb so much. Partly why I do the things I do.


RK said...

Actually, running marathons (or half marathons) produce the "runner's high"; that combination of pain in your body, and pleasure in your head! You should try it, you will never look back. Use the run/walk method- Run for 2 min, walk for 1 min... When you finish a race (no matter where you finish), the feeling is something that cannot be described!!

Deepa Bhasthi said...

Ritika, I so know what you mean. I used to run, not much anymore. Climbing has taken that place. That high of pain and pleasure is why I climb and walk like crazy!