Fits and Tantrums...

Think of a two year old, or worse yet perhaps, a three year old. Life is one series of fits and starts, ups and downs, of shifting moods. One minute all is well, calm and peaceful, then boom, and all hell breaks loose. Periods of relative calm leapfrog with others of outright bloody warfare. Roads can be like that.

I realized today that this is an apt description for a portion of one of my local loops. As I ride this loop I eventually reach a point when I want to turn off the low road along which I have been riding and ascend to a parallel road higher up. To do so I have the option to take one of three streets with no more than a half mile between them, but each characteristically distinct. The first street involves a climb which is pretty brutal by anyones book, not overly long, but gaspingly steep; the kind of hill that has your heart pounding in your chest in an effort to bust through the rib cage confining it. The third option offers a longer, more gradual rise, the kind you can settle into. Sandwiched between those two options is the street I take more often than not, one which rises in a series of steps - short, out-of-the-saddle, attack-style steps. Punch and cruise, punch and cruise. Just enough variation that you can't settle into a comfortable rhythm. You might spin along easy enough for a bit, but sooner rather than later, the rise of the road will compel you to rise from the saddle with a burst of increased effort. It is a good work out that way, like intervals, but less regular, more varied. Fit and tantrum. Not everyone lives where the road rises in a long gradual climb, not everyone lives within range of an especially brutal climb, but I suspect anyone can identify their own nearby fit and tantrum-style road.