Bring the Pain

No, I’m not talking about French bread, although that wouldn’t be bad either.

I just read this sentence 3 minutes ago in an email from a loyal client who has paid to come and ride probably the biggest bike tour we’ll have ever run (Italian-French Alps). I know him and he likes the pain, so he’s not joking.

This ‘suffering’ thing has been beat to death and I’ve written about it more than a few times, I know, but since we still go out and seek it, there must be some value in talking about it….or not. Either way, I’m going to.

Our tours, in general, are pretty tough. Some, like the Cevennes, are manageable and enjoyable for a wide range of riders, but even there we have 10+ km climbs. It’s not a stroll in the park. The custom tour above will most likely involve 15,000 meters of climbing in a week, with 7 or 8 cols well over 2000 meters. You either relish the hurt or you just know that’s what it takes to get the view from the top.

You see all types of attitudes toward suffering when you watch people, day in and day out, doing it. There are those who obviously love it, and maybe even need it. Then there are those who reach their limit somewhere up the 2nd col of the day and don’t mind letting you know it. Everyone without exception, however, forgets all about whatever personal hell they were enduring by the time dinner rolls around. It’s sort of incredible when you know how much effort people put out to get up a 1500 meter climb. Some look forward to the pain, while others probably lose sleep over it. The funny thing is, even the ones with sleep deprivation keep coming back!

On a related note, I just got back from Canada, where I was yet once again hit by the sense of entitlement (no, it’s not just for Millennials) people seem to have back home (we have it here, too, it’s just not as evident, at least to me). Drive-thru coffee shops and ATMs, bigger and bigger houses with bigger and bigger TVs, and all sorts of meaningless gadgets fill at least some of the lives I glanced while I was there. But out of this culture that desires comfort and avoids undue effort comes basically all of our clients. Is it the greatest of ironies or does it completely make sense? Stay tuned to the next episode…or tell me. I have no idea, really.