Tuesday, 18 September 2012

No Sex in this Grind

“Did you go up that ugly little hill?” he asks.
“Yes I did,” I replied.
Then silence.
Some pondering.
Both of us tuned into the time. Waiting for a bus.
“One will come eventually,” he claims as my fingers scroll over the schedule wrapping the metal post.
When I think of grinding, Kick Ass comes to mind. 
Coffee that is.
Since it was a day off from the office, I put myself up for the challenge.
The stopwatch was reset. Once past the gates I was off.
Within minutes my heart rate was elevated. My mind said steady.
Everything worked.
I plunged onwards and upwards.
Happy when I caught someone I could pass.
Disappointed when I heard someone behind me.
Soon enough I’d hesitate so he or she could go beyond.
When I saw the half way mark I glanced to my watch. Twenty something minutes.
Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever scrolled through the eyelids in the back of my head. My mind was already made up.
No stopping till the top.
The Grouse Grind record time for the men is 25:01, while for the women it's 31:04. 
Yes minutes.
According to the guide I met waiting for the bus afterwards, if you’re in shape it should take you 45.
I got in under an hour. But not in the 40’s.
Still, I figured I was doing good. Until “Joey” and his tag along came yapping up behind me.
It was steep. Their conversation didn’t stop. 
How is it this guy can keep yapping while climbing?
My lungs were gutted. I was heave hoe and all I could do to go.
Grunting came near the top.
I was so pissed when a woman older then me sped by.
Four letter words uttered in my quiet voice.
By this time my arms were pushing off of my thighs. Then rower woman came up beside me. Tuned into whatever she was listening to and hunched over like the oars were in the water ready for the catch.
I tried her technique for a while but preferred to huff and puff while occasionally resting my hands on my waist.
Rather the muffin tops. Twenty pounds less and I’d bet I could chop off ten more minutes.
Ironically I’d chosen this as another gateway to cycling cross-training.
During the RBC GranFondo Whistler a fellow sure to be in his 70’s came to the Official Merchandise Store where I was working and claimed that three or more Grouse Grinds a week were all you needed to be in shape for the ride from Vancouver to Whistler.
I was getting nearer the top. My lungs were bust. My heart was sore. I refused to let myself stop.
Over and over again.
If they can do it so can I.
Then when my bonking started I saw someone else’s puke.
There was no more hesitation now.
I am not weak. I am strong!
Very soon after I was up.
And so done.
I moaned. I grunted. I huffed and I puffed.
It wasn’t sex.
It was the Grouse Grind.

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