Climbing. Rolling hills. Rise from the saddle and hammer your pedals as hard as you can. Higher, always higher. These words make some people sick and some shiver with excitement.
It is something every cyclist at some point have to deal with; whether to be a cyclist or give in to the pain and crawl back to the place we came from. Sounds like I'm the hardest of nails but in fact I'm not. As a matter of fact, I'm not especially good at climbing. However, I like what they do with me as a cyclist and as a man. What I do know is that ups and downs are what we all deal with in our daily lives, and since cycling to me is almost a metaphor for how you face your life, that's how it is. You can not control what lies ahead of you, but you can decide how you will encounter what you meet.
We all know it is impossible to win any of the Grand Tours without possessing the ability to climb well. The capricious mountains tower above you and present you with a choice. You can effectively endure the effort and cope with the pain or you can roll over and walk away while trying to tell yourself you'll be back another day.
The ability to get over a hill is not reserved the Grand Tours. How many times have Ronde van Vlaanderen been settled up the Muur? It's not like the Muur is somewhat similar to the famous mountains in the Tour or Giro with is length of only 475 meters but if you are present at Vlaanderens mooiste, the look on the riders' faces says it all. Like mentioned above, pain is invertible. It is not necessarily bad for you, and there is a huge difference in being in pain and being injured.
2011 has presented us with a clean set of drawing sheets. Whether your choice is based upon principles or on joy, you have a possibility to do exactly what you expect of others. To be a part of an extraordinary league of people - a complete rider. I know I will.
It is your journey. Grab it. With both your hands.