So one of my daily rituals is this (and it's a weird one)...
I go to the Toronto Star website and read the Ellie Tesher advice column before anything else that's actually headlining. Because I need to know that people are suffering. It sounds sadistic as shit, but it comforts me learning that certain people who write in to Ellie with their problems are actually in really unfortunate positions in life. It's a weird way to gain perspective, but in the end, I've gained perspective! And then I feel better about my own spilled milk.
I apply this in cycling. Anyone who I've ever looked up to who can spin like a motherfucker and seemingly draws energy from an alien power source in outer space that prevents them from EVER getting tired Russell Slater have admitted that they get tired and achy and I feel so comforted by this.
And anyone who's ever said to me, "You don't seem to get tired..." --oh, fuck that noise! I SO DO GET TIRED. AND EMOTIONAL. AND FRUSTRATED. AND ACHY. AND I'VE CRASHED OUT. AND I'VE BONKED. AND I'VE BEEN DROPPED HARD ON COUNTLESS RIDES. If I have fooled anyone, I want to make it so clear that I am suffering 90% of the time I am riding. The only time I'm not is if I'm at a stop light. My boyfriend accuses me of sandbagging all the time, but I can assure you that-- I don't even know how to sandbag. Sandbagging would require me to be completely relaxed and aloof, which I hardly ever am on a bike. I probably had a good poker face on that day or something.
So this should be known about me: I am suffering and tired all the time. I just work really, really, REALLY fucking hard and have a shitload of determination to get to the end.
Sharing experiences of suffering and opening people up to our vulnerabilities, I think, is necessary. No one's infallible, no one's invincible, and we should continually remind each other of this because we only empower each other and imbue each other with more confidence if we show we're only human after all. I would WANT those who are timid to tune into my suffering and know that they can surpass me. I would want them to know that they can do it. I would want them to carry that confidence with them on the road. It ONLY leads to them becoming a better rider.
Seriously. Showing a chink in your cycling kit is actually a good thing, for you and for every one of us.