Friday, July 18, 2008

Suffering is fun?

During a conversation the other day about the 40 Something ride I did earlier this year, the guy asked me how I felt during the ride. "It was fun", I said. He just looked at me with the oddest expression and said, "FUN???", "How could that be fun? It was over 100 degrees when you finished a 7 hour ride!"

Huh. It had never occurred to me that it was anything but fun. Well, obviously it was painful and just a bit crazy, almost to the point of 'Danger Will Robinson' heat exhaustion/heat stroke/melting into a pile of goo kind of crazy.

But it was then, and remains now, fun. And that makes me a bit puzzled about me. You know the way your dog cocks his head to one side, lifts his ears a bit, and just goes, "say what?". That look applies here as well.

When I was fighting cramps for the last 2 hours of an endurance race, knowing full well that I had more to go, pushing uphill into 40 mph headwinds cuz I had long run out of gears on my 1x9, I was suffering pretty nicely, thank you. Still, I had a good time.

Weird, huh. No one outside of my cycling friends get it, and even some of them are not so sure. I have to admit it puzzles me as well, I mean why does one willingly place themselves in that kind of situation, suffer, and then sign up to do it again?

Not sure I understand it all myself. I know I get a great deal of satisfaction from it. Some of it is foolish pride in being able to do what others cannot or will not do. But that cannot be all of it. It does not explain what is going on inside when I am all alone out there suffering and digging deep, no one to notice how brave I am, no one to impress but lizards and such.

Weird, but great all the same, great not just because it makes my like richer, but also because that God given trait of mankind that makes us strive, suffer, and push ourselves has made for a richer human experience that we all are a part of, even the ones that will never do more than shake their head and wonder about the crazy folks who do hard things.

I like hard things. And, I like that about me.


Jim said...

Ran across your blog from MTBR and your last post really struck a chord.

I'd have to say I sometimes think the same way. No one in my family can comprehend how suffering can be fun but it's been a trait that I've carried since I was a kid. I don't consider myself a masochist, but maybe others think of me that way. There's a euphoria that accompanies arduous journeys on the bike (or other outdoor pursuits) and I think that is what I crave.

I guess the next time someone asks why I put myself through suffering for fun, maybe I'll simply answer, "The best things in life don't come easy."

Take care,


grannygear said...

Jim: I checked YOUR blog and dude, you put the shame on me and my piddly little rides.