Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Genes and Quotes

Qualia getting in the zone at Tyson's (photo by Erika V.)

Calvini and I did some intervals at Hains Point, then hills at Rock Creek Park. I was near my limit just hanging onto his wheel during our two‐lap surges, and when things got steep over at RCP, I blew up trying to keep pace. I haven't trained much this season, but a lot more than my brother, proving amateur mountain biker Darren Franklin's quip:

All men are created equal. Some are just faster than others.

The realization that I am created slower than others‐‐even others with the same parents!‐‐came early for me. Both of my brothers are more gifted athletes. But it does not dampen my enthusiasm.

To the contrary. I know I have to flog myself that much harder. My training and nutrition have to be improved. My pedal stroke must become smoother, my equipment better‐adjusted, my race efforts perfectly‐timed. I have to work on the intangibles. My mental game. Because it is possible, even common, in cycling, to get far, far better (or worse) results than one's fitness predicts. And who knows how much fitter I can become? I have yet to optimize my conditioning. I haven't done it regularly over time.

We're all in this position of genetic disadvantage relative to some other riders. So here's some motivation:

From Emil Zatopek:

When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem.

A neurologically accurate Chinese Proverb:
Habits are cobwebs at first; cables at last.

And, from Longfellow's "The Light of Stars":

O fear not in a world like this,
And thou shalt know erelong,
Know how sublime a thing it is
To suffer and be strong.

1 comment:

Tony A. said...

I'm committing that last stanza of Longfellow's to memory. Plain perfect, much like the post that quotes it.