Are you familiar with the strangely alluring sensation of suffering as you dig deep into your reserves to make it up a gruelling climb? No thoughts of the summit, not yet, your mind is fixed on the strip of tarmac in front of you. Learning to enjoy suffering sounds oxymoronic, but it translates into a pivotal advantage in life. Plus, it might even make your yoga teacher share a proud smile.

Being mindful, decelerating, being aware – buzzwords that purportedly promise a better existence. But despite their prominence in our lexicon, they’re usually reserved for a weekly yoga class, one started with good intentions but has now become a chore, undertaken simply to join in conversations with the cool kids at work. Course, it might help that the yoga teacher is pretty hot too. Yet in our day-to-day lives it’s too easy to overlook mindfulness – and it’s the same when we’re on the bike. Forgetting the present, fixed on the pain. Regardless of how many watts you’re pushing, or how fit your last FTP said you are; it’s your mind that determines winning or losing, whether you enjoy the ride or simply endure it, how long you plan to stay out for and how long until you call it off.

The Welder Moody embodies this attitude. A watch without any of the technical frills for sport, but one that possesses a propensity to remind you how and why you’re doing what you’re doing, whatever that might be.

Imagine the following scene: out of the saddle, you swing round the 7th hairpin on the way up Alpe d’Huez, willing your mind not to dwell on just how much suffering lies ahead. You glance down at your heart rate, realising you’re in the red, already. The numbers are telling you to back down, retreat; you break out in a cold sweat. The 14 remaining corners rise up like a wall of impossibility. You make a futile effort to change gear but you’re maxxed out on your compact already. You’d embarked on the climb with due respect, but the negativity crescendos, a deafening hum in your mind that escalates into terror. Fuck.

Objectively there’s nothing preventing you from conquering those 21 hairpins. It’s not about lactate-resistant calf muscles or high altitude lung capacities – it’s about your attitude and your mood in that moment. A brief reminder of why you’re doing something, and an awareness of how you’re doing it can work wonders. Your mood isn’t fixed. If you’d properly listened in yoga, you might have heard something along the lines of: the burden of a task becomes easier by tolerating the suffering, seeing every single ticked-off metre of tarmac and every single, exhausting pedal stroke as a privilege rather than punishment. A privilege to be out on the road, riding that hallowed climb on your carbon beauty and enjoying the imminent arrival at the summit. Not everyone gets to do this – and it just happens to be your hobby. You chose to be here and you’ll be the one bragging about your escapades when you return to the daily grind, so quit whining and look sharp. It’s a privilege. Plus, if it’s any consolation, surely it beats being in an office?

  Time’s mad. If you thought it was one of life’s constants, you’re wrong.

An awareness of your mood is what distinguishes the Welder Moody. A watch that’s best defined as sophisticatedly self-aware, this is exactly why we love it. Its photochromic glass reveals itself differently depending on the angle and the amount of light hitting the screen, seeing the colour and readability vary in a manner that embodies the Moody philosophy from Welder.

  As I change, the world changes, because the way I perceive the world changes.
The core of the change is ME!
One day I wake up and feel like I don’t have the power to survive
but other days I feel like I can conquer the world.
Sometimes waiting for you for 10 minutes is a burden,
sometimes I take it easy.
Yesterday while I was in the traffic for hours, it felt like torture.
Today I’m listening to my favourite song
and could happily stay in the car for 3 more minutes.
When you are with your best friend, a 6-hour drive feels like an hour,
talking & singing together…
But if you are travelling with a crying baby, it is another story.
What time is it? 8 p.m.? Some days it dawns at 8,
some days it is just the end of the day.
The concept of ‘’time‘’ is based on how we perceive it.
It differs from me to you, from now and then and even depends on my mood.

There is only one thing that defines the time: My Mood!  

So what do we take away from this principle? Those aware of their mood can master it, turning a hard time into a good one worth savouring. With the right mind-set everything is possible – even victory against the 21-strong hairpins of Alpe d’Huez. Oh and it just so happens that we weren’t in France for the making of this story; we were in Girona with the steel framed Wilier Superleggera, borrowed from our race bike group test. We treated ourselves to a delectable cappuccino after the ride and philosophised over time and its passing. There’s no rule about suffering every day, right? But if you do, then at least be in the right mood.

For more details on the bike head to the full Review of the Wilier Superleggera SL.

This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #008

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Words: Robin Schmitt Photos: Noah Haxel