Friday, October 21, 2011


inexorable divine retribution is a key theme in greek mythology, and nemesis is the goddess of such divine retribution, especially against those who succumb to hubris or arrogance before the gods.* we commonly use the word nemesis to describe a source of harm or ruin, or an opponent that cannot be beaten or overcome.

the first time I rode up (and I mean up) the back side of big mountain from east canyon resort, I had to stop 3 times to catch my breath and recommit myself to the climb.
the next time, I only had to stop twice.
and then I stopped once.
this climb was my nemesis, the one stretch of road out of all my usual rides that struck fear in my heart and exhaustion in my legs. as noted, it became more possible each time, but it remained my nemesis for years. it's only been in this last season that the climb up the back side of big mountain has slipped into the "challenging but not awful" category, and has faded into something less than it once was.
it is an opponent that, while not beaten, can at times be overcome.
it is no longer my nemesis.

I realized today that I've chosen a new nemesis.
or perhaps it's chosen me.

it's name is mariah, more commonly known as the wind. (and if you didn't get that, you are entirely too young.)
yep, the wind.
I don't stop when confronted with it, but I am easily disheartened and exhausted by it, and it has become the one thing I need to find a way to work through/combat/conquer/something.
I try not to hate things, I work hard on accepting what is, but I often come close to hating the wind.
I've conquered climbing hills: though it's challenging and outright hard, I know I can climb just about anything. I can handle the flats: I know my limits, I know that I'll always have to work harder than the guys, and I expect, at times, to fall off the back of a paceline. I can handle high heart rate stuff: I know I can recover, I know I won't die, I know it's all okay.
but the wind.
it beats me every time.
it is my new nemesis.

so my goal this coming year is to change this. to learn how to tweak my mental processes so that I'm not frustrated or overwhelmed. to learn how to pedal more strongly into a headwind. to learn how to tune out the sound, the pain, the reduction in speed. to become more confident and competent when confronted with wind in my face.

the greek gods believed in divine retribution for those who succumb to arrogance, and nemesis was the goddess of this act. the wind, mariah, is perhaps a manifestation of nemesis' caution thrown my way: just because you can climb a hill, manage your heartrate, recover easily, hold your own . . . doesn't mean you are a cycling goddess. not until you conquer the wind will you be allowed that title.

the wind.
my nemesis.
for now.

* good old wikipedia

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