My first time on the open ocean with my new brothers at OAR Northwest was horrible and wonderful at the same time. There was a lot more suffering than I had anticipated, and a very different type of suffering than what I experienced while training for the Olympics. The physical pain was less acute. The experience felt more like a drawn out misery. But suffering on the Ocean, like life, always gets better.
This was a gem of advice I received from a seasoned cyclist named Lister. “It always gets better.”
A year after the Olympics ended, I began to bike regularly with a fantastic, local cycling group called triple shot. This group of cyclists ride well together, and act as a team. Top riders are pushed and slower riders are lifted up. The most important part of the triple shot ride is the coffee afterwards. Sipping in triple shot americanos, the gems of knowledge from experienced riders come out.
One morning at coffee, after being dropped from the front peloton just before the final sprint, a wise, old rider named Lister took me aside. “When I was younger I used to have a sign taped to my bike – It always gets better.
Sometimes when the group pushes ahead you have to really burn your reserves to keep up. If you embrace the suffering and keep up, you will have a wheel to draft behind when the flat stretch appears. Then you can recover while you keep up with the group. Its amazing how you can recover while moving at a faster pace.”
In my opinion the fact that it always gets better is the power of sacrificing and suffering to stay with a top team. A top team will lift you up if you do the work to keep up during the tough parts.
I am having a baby in a week or so… another cyclist joked with me this morning; “You should put that sign on your baby stroller – It does get better. I promise.”