One of the most overused epithets of recent times, in relation to cycling, has been the term ‘paincave’. As in:
‘oh yeah i went to the vets session at the ‘drome, it was total paincave’
‘omfg that sportive, i was like, deep in the paincave’
‘holy shit man SQT was a one way ticket straight to the paincave’
‘during that mendip ride i was practically spelunking i was so deep in the cave of pain’
it’s a hyperbolic way of saying that things hurt a bit. often, it’s utterly baseless, but does go to show that suffering is always relative.
Yesterday the Vuelta visited the climb of Cuitu Negru. at the end it’s fair to say i think i could have walked more quickly over the line than some of the leading cyclists. it was described beforehand as ‘leg snappingly’ steep and ‘the climb to end all climbs’. their experience was amplified by the fact that the usual mountain mentalists, waving big flags and shouting in their faces, could keep pace for quite some time. Here are some of the rider reactions from the race:
“This last climb is hell, for a fact. The last three kilometres were horrible. It was steeper than the Angliru. I almost fell off the back of my bike.” Robert Gesink
“I think he has never known anything that hard,” Orica Greenedge DS refering to Daniel Teklehaymanot (Orica-GreenEdge) who was seen vomiting as he crossed the finish line, some 35 minutes behind stage winner Dario Cataldo.
“I rode with a compact cassette for the very first time in my life. And in the end, I needed it! It was no fun, I was in a cave of pain. Horrible.” Laurens Ten Dam.