Why do this? Why tackle physically demanding sections? Why do a seven hour ride? Why do a 60 mile fixed gear race in a hail storm and laugh through most of it? Why switch to riding a single speed mountain bike, and spend 90% of your rides so far beyond your anaerobic threshold that you end every ride so weak you nearly pass out? Why put yourself through physically torturing situations on a daily or weekly business?
It's not just that it feels good to be done with a long ride, it's more than that. We actually enjoy suffering in the moment we're pushing ourselves at the limits of our endurance. We like that feeling that we're about to explode and then reaching down to push a little harder. Not all addicts are cyclists, but clearly all cyclists are addicts of one sort or another. What the hell is wrong with us?
I'm not saying I like it when I'm hurting, but I seem to continue to throw myself into situations that I know are going to be physically and emotionally demanding and midway through I'm gonna wonder why I did it in the first place...but I keep riding, and when I'm the most exhausted is when I feel the need to push myself the hardest, and then it's over, and I can't wait to do it again. Do we REALLY like something about pain? Does that make any sense?
I know there are a lot of other things to a ride than pain and suffering, but that's a big part, and I kind of doubt we'd like it so much were it not for that fact.
I wouldn't call myself a masochist, but I seem to seek out things I know are going to hurt.