It’s been awhile since I ventured up above 6,000+ feet on two wheels. On Saturday, I go where the air is thinner. Onyx Summit is a bit over 8,000 feet in Southern California, and part of a century ride called Breathless Agony.
Climbing is as pure as it gets.
You, your bike, and the mountains.
It’s where you go deep inside yourself and learn about commitment. It’s where you see if your training measures up. Drafting is pointless. Explosive attacks are only for the 10% who can pull them off. “Dancing on the pedals”? Sure, if you weigh 140 pounds or less and race professionally.
Real mountains and elevation help you make real friends. Suffering equalizes everything from socio-economics to education. No one cares if you have a custom-built bike when they can barely remember their own beneath them as they trundle upward. Lack of oxygen and 190 beats per minute forces all but the fundamental instincts out of the brain.
Cadence, power, and measured effort. We try to get comfortable. We we try to dose the wattage. We try not to bonk.
When we are digging deep, dangling off the back, and secretly begging for help, we are humbled.
No words need to be said. The sounds alone of breathing tell us everything: We are alive, we are outside and we are among friends.