The Type of Effort Where:
By Greta Neimanas
Was that number six or seven? What set is this? I could really go or some applesauce right about now*. Uuggh, it’s time to go again. This is what ran through my head during a workout this week. It was a simple but unpleasant sprint workout that seemed to continue on for ages- 30/30s. When broken down, it was only 16 minutes of work. 16 painful, seemingly endless minutes of work, the type of effort where you count the seconds and pedal strokes until the effort is over.
It’s funny how cycling works sometimes. Some days, you ride for hours and miles and climb thousands of feet then crawl home exhausted with salt caked on your face and a jersey that could stand on its own from being so crusty. Other days all it takes is 16 minutes of work to turn your legs to jelly and render you useless for the rest of the afternoon. It’s hardly consistent yet both types of ride can yield the same level of satisfaction.
Both types of ride are good for the body and mind. Well, the health benefits of dry heaving on the side of a county highway in the rain are still up for debate so we’ll skip that for today. They’re both good for the mind. Some days the soul just needs to go out and ride, to go and have a “bike-love” ride as a friend calls it. Those are the rides where you go out on the cool little back roads and go exploring for hours and see things in a different light and you just have fun on your bike. Other days you have to go out and smash. Yeah, it’s a prescribed workout from your coach but maybe you didn’t have a great week of training or had some frustrating mechanical issues that you need to take out on the road. Those are the times when 30/30s or pyramid workouts are perfect. Not one single minute of it is fun and you my even question why you continue to do such awful things to yourself. The efforts start and you grab gear after gear and your legs feel on fire. You exhale snot onto yourself and don’t even notice. It’s like a purging of all the negative energy or nastiness that’s accumulated over the week(s) and it’s all blown out. Afterwards you feel like a pile of crud but in a good way- an accomplished pile of crud. Dragging yourself home, is a task in and of itself but when you get home and are sitting in the shower due to jelly legs, you can rest assured that it was a great day on the bike.
*I almost always get a craving for applesauce after hard workouts like that. Don’t ask why, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because it’s a cold food, or soft, simple, it doesn’t require chewing or much energy at all to eat. Whatever it is, it’s always the food that I want to eat while I’m in la-la land on the bike.