At a race in Austria last year, I met a Russian lady who described cycling as a 'beautiful art sport'. I thought it was a fantastic way to describe the sport and characterised what cycling was to people in Europe. We catch glimpses of this 'beautiful art sport' through the TV as the Tour de France and other races are beamed to us in the middle of the night.
Today, after an uphill time trial, I have decided that cycling is ugly.
Round 2 of the QLD teams series included a 10km uphill time trial just outside of Boonah an Mt French. Before the race, having never seen the road before, I decided to ride up and check it out. For the first few km's, it wasn't so bad. Rolling hills with steep ascents but also steep descents that you can take a break on.
Then at the 6km mark, it turns towards the sky and heads up at gradients of around 25%. I decided to turn around at this point because it couldn't possibly be any worse and I'd rather not know what was ahead. It was a poor decision.
Ten minutes before the time trial began, it started raining. The roads were nice and wet and slippery for the race, just enough so that when you stood up, your rear wheel couldn't get traction. I hit the steep part of the course and struggled my way over the top to discover... IT KEPT GOING.
The final 3km was brutally steep. Some riders zig-zagged across the road as their heart rate went through the roof and their breathing was more akin to an asthma attack. Everyone was tired, wet and in a world of pain. Some people screamed, some people groaned and some looked like they were giving birth. Hence the reason why cycling is an ugly sport.
Here are some of the best hurt faces from the day...