Before a recent telecommunications group meeting we were discussing sports and which is the hardest. Most of the attending folk played sports like football, baseball, soccer and some ran. One guy said that he just completed a 10K run and it was the hardest thing he had ever done. Of course he had just given up smoking and was trying to get himself in shape.
I chimed in and said that I honestly thought motorcycle racing was one of the hardest sports. They all laughed and said "it doesn't take much to twist a throttle Chris". I laughed also and we started the meeting. After the meeting and while eating lunch the subject was brought back up. One of the members had played some college football. He talked about some of this training, injuries and some games. I did play some football and enjoyed the time I participated. While I related to him and the effort it takes to be good at a sport, I did not appreciate getting hit by 250 lb linebackers. Especially when at the time I was hardly 150 lbs when wet. So we continued on with this discussion. Everyone talked of their sporting experience and why they thought their sport was the hardest.
What is the toughest sport? This weekend I got a chance to compare two of my favorite sports.
Saturday we headed to Knobby Hill MX Park. On tap was a day of riding and especially working with Christopher. At the end of the day I had logged 40 laps. That works out to be 44 miles on a motocross track.
Sunday was 40 miles of gravel down in Pleasant Hill, MO. Christopher was supposed to come with me, but he was so sore from riding at Knobby Hill that he opted to stay home and go for an easy ride with his mom.
I have competed in a number of sports including Motocross, baseball, football, tennis, triathlons (Ironman distance to sprints to Xterra) running (50 mile Ultra trail runs to 5k and everything between), adventure racing, hare scrambles and of course all forms of cycling. So what sport is the hardest? For me it would depend what effort you put forth.
I can remember finishing my first hare scrambles race in Florida. I was a MX guy back then and used to 20 to 30 minute events. I was not used to 2 to 3 hours of racing in a whooped out sandy course with part of the course traversing into flooded river bottom with roots, mud and what seemed like bottomless quicksand that would suck your bike in. You would then spend 10 minutes trying to pull your 215 lb (which now weighed nearly 250 lbs due to the mud) motorcycle out and get going again. It was one of the hardest events I have ever completed. Not because I was just "twisting the throttle" but because I put everything my body had into that event. I finished that race and could not even get off my bike. I fell to the ground totally exhausted and made a promise to myself never race a hare scrambles again. That was nearly 25 years ago. I have since broken that promise. I guess with time you do forget the pain :-)
What was the hardest this weekend? 40 laps on the MX track for sure. I am feeling it now. Just as I know I will be feeling some serious pain come next Sunday at the Missouri State Cyclocross Championships and this next Spring at the Cohutta 100. One lasts less than an hour and the other 10+ hours. Both different but each can be just as tough as the other if you put out that extraordinary effort.