Putting It All In Perspective

Guest poster Don Blount looks at different kinds of pain.

Suffering sometimes is all about perspective.

I recently had two old dental fillings replaced without use of anesthesia. More than a few people cringe when I tell them that story.

I did not ask for this experience. Before the dentist started the work, he tested the area with a blast of cold air and then of cold water. “You didn’t flinch,” he said. “So I’m going to try this without giving you anything. Why numb you up and have you put up with needles if you don’t have to, right?”

WHHHHAAAT????? I thought.

Maybe I didn’t flinch because I have a high pain tolerance. Maybe I didn’t flinch because I was too tense to move.

However, he assured me that he would give me anesthetic if I was in pain.

As my dentist poked, prodded, drilled, polished and went about his work, my mind drifted to cycling. Specifically it drifted to suffering on the bike.

Middle Bar.

I remembered some of the climbs I did in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains last year. I was taken on a club ride up road called Stoney Creek. I don’t remember seeing any stones or a creek, I remember a never-ending climb, pedaling squares and gasping for air.

There was another ride on Paloma Road that I I kept telling myself to just keep turning the pedals, keep turning the pedals, k-e-e-p t-u-r-n-i-n-g….. You get the idea.

And there was Middle Bar. I remembered riding (and walking) alone up a bumpy sorry-@#*! road. I never told anyone this but at one point I was going so slowly that I just toppled over and fell like a top that had lost its spin.

I was unhurt, my bike was fine but I managed to damage the new Deda handlebar tape I had put on just a few days earlier.

But all in all, this riding, this suffering, somehow made me a stronger, better rider.

And as I sat there in the dentist’s chair mouth agape, drill whining, I did not think of the fun, easy or enjoyable rides but those difficult rides. And I knew that if I could survive those bike rides then I could survive the dental work because I suffered more on those rides.


  1. Rich says

    The Middle Bar climb is 2.05 miles and climbs 760 feet (7.0%). It is very narrow and the surface is bumpy with potholes and loose gravel to contend with. The descent from Hwy 49 to reach the river and the start of the climb is pretty exciting. Carbon wheels not advised! Some people love this road, others do it once and decide not to come back. I’m one of the people who likes it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *