My mom loves to tell the story about picking me up from kindergarden. Its house and entrance were connected by a small stretch of pavement, and me walking it was an experience — an endless loop of a child running, falling, and standing back up. It seemed like I didn't know how to move slowly. I lost this magical urge to move over time, and when I graduated from university, I was an unfit chubby mess of a human being 1.
When I bought my first road bike for commuting, I didn't expect it to turn into the obsession it is today. Beginner gains kept me motivated to ride further and to ride faster. I quickly learned that muscle soreness isn't the thing to be afraid of in an endurance sport. It rarely happened to begin with, and today it isn't even a factor anymore. No, the thing that grinds you down is the systemic fatigue that comes from long consecutive days in the saddle.
Improving your body's ability to handle high stress levels is a skill that develops gradually over time. I increased my average mileage throughout the years and decided to put my body to the test. I had a week of residual leave and kept delaying it, hoping for better weather, but the forecast was mixed at best. It turned out to be a cloudy and windy week with scattered showers, in which I rode 1094 km in 34:40, a milestone in my cycling career.
A benefit of being almost two meters is that people don't realize that. ↩︎