Tuesday, December 21, 2010

contre la montre

I read the other day that an acronym may only truly be called an acronym if the letters used in the acronym form a "word."
when I tried to research this, I found differing opinions on the subject.
and although I like to be correct, there are times when "correct" depends upon the judge. so in the case of those I will write about today, I am choosing not to call these abbreviations acronyms, though some would say they've earned that label.
today's subject is bicycling concepts referred to by abbreviations, letters representing each of their words. and I chose this subject because in class this morning we had a TT.
which stands for time trial.
a time trial is, to borrow someone else's (published by wikipedia) words, a road bicycle race in which cyclists race alone against the clock.
we weren't on bicycles, nor were we on the road, nor were we alone. we were twenty-five sweaty people on spin bikes in an air-conditioned room, each near the top of their heart-rate zones, each trying to produce an effort we might have had we been in a genuine time trial.

having this experience reaffirms my decision not to participate in genuine time trials.

other well-used non-acronyms in the cycling-training world are these:

VT: ventricular threshold. where your heart sits during a TT. not a place for the weak willed.
CP: creatine phosphate. when we do sprint work, we supposedly use this for energy. it's a chemistry thing.
LT: lactate threshold. a heartrate significantly lower than VT, where you leave aerobic land and transition to anaerobic land. a happy place to spend time, especially as compared to VT.

today we hung out at VT for twenty minutes, about fifteen minutes longer than I wanted to. okay, maybe twenty minutes longer than I wanted to. sometimes it's tolerable, sometimes it's not too bad, and sometimes it's just plain old difficult. today fell in the latter category for me.

the french call a time trial contre la montre, which translates as "against the watch." apropos, as I definitely felt that I was working against the watch this morning: it was not my friend. it was moving much more slowly than I was, and that hardly seemed fair.
however, there is one positive about these time trial experiences for me: after a TT, I feel on top of the world. I can do anything.
I have overcome any resistance, any doubt within. I have suffered, endured, conquered. I have pushed to my limit, and survived. I float for hours after, just me and my amazing self.
I pat myself on the back, I smile, and then eventually remember to humble myself, for just around the corner is the next contre la montre, the 25 minute version. which is followed by the 30 minute version. then the 35.

ah, c'est la vie.

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