they say that nothing good comes easily.
and that we appreciate it more when we've earned it.
and then there's greg lemond's comment that it never gets easier, you just go faster.
these things boil down--for me--to the realization that effort eventually pays off, though it might not always result in what you think might happen.
for the longest time I thought I could keep riding/training/working and eventually find it to be easier. but greg's right: it never gets easier because of that constant inner drive to improve. yes I'm stronger, yes I'm faster, yes I have increased endurance: but I still work as hard. it's only easier when I slow down . . . which I don't do very often, because . . . of that constant inner drive to improve.
which is the same thing that entices me to try new things.
I've been "working" for a couple years on my balancing skill.
I want to ride my bike--like the flobots sing--with no handlebars.
and I am now calling this an emerging skill.
I am getting better.
the trick someone taught me was to sit on the rear part of my saddle--scooting back a bit--and sit tall: this helps. it's core strength, but it's also the position. and now, I'm better than I used to be. I can do it for blocks at a time (if it isn't too gusty windy) and can even curve (gently) with a bending road.
I'm thinking this skill may have taken time to learn, and will still take time to perfect, but it is getting easier.
as is eating while riding, and drinking. (although I am experimenting with a GU "flask" instead of those pesky little foil packets that leave me with tiny strips I have to shove deeply into a pocket and terribly sticky fingers---and I dropped a water bottle during last saturday's race, yikes.)
and cleaning my chain.
some things do get easier.
and some things never do.
and sometimes the results of all our work, all our actions, all our planning and scheming and efforts, take us some place we never thought we'd be.
sometimes you just can't know, so my advice is this:
follow your heart, never give up, and just do it, anyway.