Tales of a cyclist - Part 9: Man vs. Machine
The sweat beaded up on my forehead, it flowed down my cheek like condensation on a window pane, before running past my lips and finally falling to the floor. It was salty to the taste, my mouth quenched any form of moisture it was drier than the Mojave. The sun was at my back, baking my neck and arms, adding to my already ridiculous t-shirt tan.
Just this last climb to go I thought, as I reached the base of the hill. Five hundred metres with a 10% incline, the hardest part of my route home, but one that culminated with a fantastic descent. I gritted my teeth and quoted the Deadpool mantra, "MAXIMUM EFFORT!"
Steeming (see what I did there) up the hill as fast my legs could take me, I knew that the quicker I went the quicker this pain would be over. I pushed harder and harder, my speed no longer proportional to the amount of energy I was expending. It felt as if I were cycling through sludge, this climb was a bitch.
Halfway up I began to struggle, my legs were faltering, the pain from the lactic acid in my thighs was becoming unbearable. My tolerance had reduced significantly after my holiday, where the most exercise I had done was jumping on the trampoline with my kids.
I struggled on, forcing the discomfort from my mind. Tucking my body into a more aerodynamic position helped for a moment. However it was not long before I finally succumbed to the burning sensation. I must stand up on my pedals, using my body weight as an aid to propel me forward. As I pushed down on my lead leg the extra force snapped the chain.
Now people say that "pain is weakness leaving the body", I am afraid that I have to call bullshit on that quote because what happened next would have left any man in tears.
My body position was such that my testicles were directly in line with the bicycle's stem. Coupled with the unexpected nature of the event meant that they didn't stand a chance and they took the biggest hit they have ever experienced.
Immediately jumping off the bike, I curled myself up into the fetal position and rocked backwards and forwards trying to make sense of the pain. I have never felt anything like it, it was breathtaking, it was indescribable, it was so bad it felt that I was now in a different plane of existence. Almost like an out of body experience and my astral projection was now looking down at my hapless self. I'm just glad that we don't want anymore kids, because after a hit like that I'm not sure it would be possible.
An indefinite period of time past until I was able to muster the courage to move and just so you know my giblets were tender for weeks to come.
Now the point of this post was not the anecdote, it is to discuss how headstrong I am and if any of you are the same.
After the event I purchased a new chain and fitted it. Now if you don't know, chains and cassettes wear together, so if you put a brand new chain on a slightly worn cassette you will get a horrendous amount of chain slip.
It seems that I only use around a third of my gears, so the other two thirds were completely fine. Would you replace the cassette or would you endure it until the new chain finally meshed with the old cassette?
500 miles later and I can only now use all my gears again. I am a truly stubborn son of a bitch, who else is?