Zoomer Boomer: No whining: Avoid the festival of self-pity
Our soon-to-arrive fall with mountain vistas of Aspens and golden willows combine to provide that uniqueness that is Colorado, that is Colorado mountain biking. Take our local hills and combine them with older muscles, cooler temperatures, a few extra pounds, with perhaps not enough time in the saddle and you have all the ingredients for a Zoomer Boomer “whine fest.”
This is not to be confused with zinfandel or a pinot noir, but may be perhaps caused by too much of both in the off-season. No, this festival is centered on self-pity driven by the lactic acid buildup and accompanying discomfort encountered when dealing poorly with elevation changes.
Assuming for a moment that you are not a world class cyclist, the simple fact is that climbing is uncomfortable for everyone, but not everyone whines about it. Some take very proactive equipment steps. For example, current chainrings and cassette combinations allow a degree of customization (read “ease”) that was unavailable just a few short years ago. This allows many of us to immediately climb with less discomfort. Some have even been known to buy an entire new bicycle with improved geometry, a better drive train, and advanced shock absorption, all wrapped around a marginally lighter frame–all in pursuit of climbing prowess. And then there are those who just accept that riding up hills sometimes turns into riding up mountains and they remember that for every uphill, there is an equal downhill. The down hills just seem to go by a lot faster and thank heaven for full suspension.
Without a doubt, hills are a mental and physical challenge for every cyclist, especially those new to the sport. But as with most things at this stage of our lives, Zoomers understand the critical part that attitude plays in all of our endeavors. Consider for a moment that feeling of grinding slowly up a climb. Unlike an unrelenting wind in your face, just reminding yourself that sooner or later you will reach the top allows for the optimistic continuation of “light at the end of the tunnel” pedaling. For a life founded on achievement and accomplishments, one more hill is just one more expected success.
Having someone else to ride with and being able to talk with that person seems also to have tremendous effects on the perception of duration and recollection of discomfort. I once rode with a fellow who chose to whistle while we were on climbs. Between gasps, I remarked to him that I was very confident that if my mind suddenly snapped and I was to beat him senseless with my pump, that no jury of my cycling peers would convict me. He did not disagree, but he also did not stop whistling, and the conversation definitely seemed to make the hill a bit easier and shorter. Just thinking about my hypothetical defense attorney’s closing remarks also took my mind off my personal battle with oxygen deprivation.
Finally, at our age we can ill afford to ignore the benefits of chemistry and the wonders of modern science. There is certainly no shortage of over the counter pain relievers and topical ointments. But the best pain relievers cannot overcome natural stupidity. This apparent age related deficiency is personified by Zoomers climbing hills in cool weather with no protection for their knees. Modern day fabrics are light and do a very good job in protecting the creaking knee from being exposed to a cause of more creakiness. My observation and personal experience is that more creakiness invariably leads to more crankiness. And, as potential major contributors, we should all do our part to combat the rise in global crankiness.
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