‘That which doesn’t kill you …’


150px-Salazar_Eugene_08“An athlete who tells you the training is always easy and always fun simply hasn’t been there. Goals can be elusive which makes the difficult journey all the more rewarding.”
Alberto Salazar, marathon runner

I’m certainly no world-class athlete, but I have an inkling of what Alberto Salazar meant when he suggested that preparing for a “difficult journey” can sometimes be a pain in the ass. Getting in the training miles, day after day, can be a chore and a bore — especially in the blast-furnace heat of a Texas summer.
With that whine out of the way (and today’s ride was pleasant and cool), I can report that I’ve passed the halfway point — 1,500 miles since Jan. 1 — on the way toward a goal of 3,000 training miles before the start of a transcontinental bicycle ride on Sept. 18 in San Diego.
I tell my wife: “It’s no big deal. People do it all the time.” But I guess I have to admit that riding a bicycle 3,160 miles across the United States from California to Florida, hauling on the bike all the requisite gear, is no small undertaking, especially for an old guy like me. I no longer have the young legs, like my friend and neighbor Zack, whose youth and innate fitness allow him to jump onto a track bike, with only one gear, and ride a respectable distance and climb hills with no trouble and no training.
btclogoBut we older gents have to train, even if it hurts sometimes. Lodged in my brain is a vivid memory from a ride in Colorado. Scrawled in chalk on the pavement near the top of a particularly tough mountain pass — and attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche, or perhaps a gulag survivor — was this exhortative saying: “That which doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger!”

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1 Comment

Filed under Cycling across America, Training

One response to “‘That which doesn’t kill you …’

  1. Zack

    Jim, thanks for the kind words, but where is the mention of my boyish good looks, keen sense of humor and otherwise infectious charm? Hmm?

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