Do you want to know what intensity sounds like? Just join a 100-strong peloton. “Fuck” this, “Shit” that, “Watch out!”, “Twat!”… You wouldn’t believe the profanities. But join a 100-strong peloton and become addicted in a matter of seconds. It’s adrenaline on tap.
And adrenaline for cyclists is like octane for race car drivers. Kilometres per hour that are fed by a constant pumping of watts, sweat and blood. Like racehorses gasping for air, trying to reach a finish line that we decided to put on top of a goddamned mountain for some reason. Alone at the summit, there’s only one leader that crosses the line here. And the rest will regret it for the rest of their lives. Winner is singular; losers, plural.
Courage that feeds intensity, intensity that gives us speed, and speed that give us victory. Converting the pleasure of pedalling into pleasure for winning.
We play a game that can only be won by the first to cross the line. This is a story about the sport in which no one will settle for the title of vice president. We all want to be the fucking president, even if it’s of the smallest peloton in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re out on your own, with friends, or with your most respectable enemies. At some point in the ride, in training, or in competition, you’ll hear audible gasps from behind, and your legs will start to burn as they itch to embark on the winning presidential campaign. You’ll want to lift your arms high above your head, and wait for the confetti to fall whilst everyone behind you is soaked by imaginary champagne…
To be fast, winning races and presidential seats, you need your steed to be the fastest, the most efficient. A lightweight machine, that’s stiff, powerful and, if possible, with a colourway that matches your helmet. Although it sounds like all of this is about speed, it’s also a lot about bravery. It’s not about competing to see who’s the fastest, it’s about who’s got the most balls. And that’s a question of the amount of intensity we give in our rides.
This isn’t an intensity that can only be measured with a power meter but it’s more visible in the interaction of everything that surrounds us when pedalling. Can I beat that taxi? Can I get there before that railway crossing closes? How long can I put up with this rain? Can I reach the peak in big ring? Simple but powerful parameters that we can use to measure the amount of gutsiness we put into each pedal stroke. Courage that feeds intensity, intensity that gives us speed, and speed that give us victory. Converting the pleasure of pedalling into pleasure for winning.
In Cycling, we will only achieve our ‘personal best’ when we stop counting seconds, and start counting experiences
We are eternal fighters brought up by default with a must-win-mindset embedded in our
DNA. Seekers of time, who think that shaving off seconds will convert every ride into a
victory. But we might be wrong. In cycling, we will only achieve our ‘personal best’ when we stop counting seconds and start counting experiences, tallying up and savouring moments on your bike, rides, sensations and memories. They are the real parameters that help us achieve some of the ‘best times’ of our pedalling lives. There will always be that one second that will convert your triumph into a failure. Maybe it’s time to reset your DNA settings and forget fearing the when and enjoy the now..
This article is from GRAN FONDO issue #008
Text: Alberto Álvarez Illustration: Julian Lemme
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