Tuesday, July 28, 2009

There's Pain, and Then There's Pain

Like 96% of the people who don't live in France, I like Lance Armstrong. He seems like a pretty sharp guy -- intelligent, insightful, and strong-willed -- and it is generally fun to watch him in a bike race. We will stay away from the topic of doping, since he's never been caught, but I have never seen him lie, although he is not above a bit of misdirection in the name of racing strategy. I even like him in his movies.

People like to quote Lance's description of "sweet pain" when they describe climbing mountains on a bike, and I agree. Sure, it hurts to be pushing out maximum watts for an hour, grinding your way up that hill, but it's worth it. At the top of the mountain, the view is best, the air is clearer and less muggy, and there are usually fewer mosquitoes. You get to look back down and say, "I did that." You also get to look down the other side and say, "Now, I get to descend that." Yee-haw!

But there are other kinds of sweet pain. I was reminded of one last Monday morning on my ride in to work, when it was 59 degrees -- tying the low temperature for Nashville on July 20 -- and my knees hurt. That's a sweet pain, too: Riding early on a chilly morning, your knees hurting, but knowing that it's going to warm up just enough to be a perfect day to be outside.

And that got me thinking of some other sweet pains:
  • A late fall morning following the first time back in the weight room, where you were trying to build strength for next year, when your biceps hurt every time you straighten your arm, so you keep straightening your arm.
  • Getting up from the table after eating that last bite of cheesecake from Buca de Beppo, picking up your left-over stuffed shells, and waddling for the door.
  • The next morning, looking down at the scale. The pain is how much the number has jumped from the morning before, but the sweetness is your memory of that cheesecake.
  • Knuckle-cracking. People that don't do it, don't get it. Those of us that can crack weird things (I can do my forearm by tightening the muscles on top), love it.
If you have any sweet pains, tell me about them in the Comments below. Keep it clean, though; the RandoDaughter still reads this blog sometime.

Cancer Sucks

If you get a chance this week, channel some good energy toward the Nelson family. If you don't follow the Fat Cyclist's blog, his wife is in her own Stage 20 against Cancer. Cancer climbs like Contador, sprints like Cavendish, and is more obnoxious than LeMonde. Susan has fought a good fight, and Elden and the kids will need a lot of strength to get through the next few months.

Get your own knuckles at the knuckle tattoo gun.

If you have any spare energy left over, channel some of it at Wilson Fly.

Those of us in Middle Tennessee who regularly ride the Natchez Trace know Mr. Fly as the owner of the small store on Highway 7, about one mile off the Trace. This store is literally an oasis for all of us -- a place where we can get water on the hottest days, warm up by the pot-bellied stove on the coldest days, and always enjoy a sandwich for one dollar. For those that live down there, the store is where you go to pick up a loaf of bread and hear about who bagged a 12-point buck, or whose farm is for sale.

Mr. Fly just found out he has stomach cancer. He also doesn't have any insurance, so is in a real bind.

Get your own knuckles at the knuckle tattoo gun.

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