Embrace the heat, embrace the pain - learn to love the hated season…

Matthias Scherer riding in the Urtier Valley, Italy - picture Tanja Schmitt

Matthias Scherer riding in the Urtier Valley, Italy - picture Tanja Schmitt

Summer, no secret, was for me over years not a season that I enjoyed. Seeing the ice and snow melt in spring felt like literally, my existence would get washed away. But every change is hard and teaches you something and over the years I learned that Antagonisms are a central part of human life.  

Over the last years I used the summer for intense training on the bike, both race and mountain bike. I passed hours in the saddle to mentally process the experiences of the winter, climbing countless meters on the wheels. Cycling in summer became to me an indispensable antagonism. From 2015-2017 I rode every year the Tour Mont Blanc with 330k and 8000m positive ascent resulting in my PB of 15h09min in 2017. But with every year desire was growing in me to improve. Improvement on the bike means that you can push more Watts while keeping the Focus clear, a simple and brutal truth, compared to the complex and crushing truth of extreme ice climbing. 

Last year I realized, that in order to get faster, I had to get stronger and change my training. So my focus this summer was on quality training. I equipped my race bike with a power meter and realized how hard training becomes when you focus not only on the rough pavement and your subjective feelings but also on this little number on your computer that tells you how much you are committing yourself. Short segments with the Mountain bike, interval sessions and steady speed work on the indoor power trainer mixed with strength training and sport climbing were my reality for the past five months. I made shameless use of STRAVA to motivate myself, to push harder while chasing KOM’s on the bike -and yes, it felt good!

Thanks to my bike partner Radon I had the chance to ride this season a very light carbon fiber mountain bike, the Jealous 8.0. At 9.5 kg the weight of the bike equals more or less the weight of my ice climbing kit for a standard ascent. Riding since 30 years mountain bikes I have to say that the evolution of the bikes over the past years is incredible: Like the new ice tools that allow to push harder, climb faster, these new carbon fiber frames from Radon launch cc mountain biking in another speed level.    

So at the end of the summer I realize that I found my way to have a deal with this season. I go out of it with great memories of good rides and hard training sessions that involved a lot of curative, good pain: Pain in hot dust. Pain, that was necessary in order to get stronger, both mentally and physically for the coming ice climbing season and of course the next summer when I will ride the Tour Mont Blanc again, with the objective to beat my PB…. #eternalquest 

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“Every move takes place in time and has a goal.”Aristotle

picture by Tanja Schmitt

Matthias Scherer