Taking the pain: What does it mean to suffer?

If you want to win races, you have to be able to tolerate pain. But what does suffering on a bike really mean? Can it be measured, tested and trained? Tom Daly investigates

(Image credit: Daniel Gould)

Some years ago, while browsing cycling articles online, I began saving images of Sean Kelly with pain etched all over his face. These photos were, it struck me, archetypal portraits of suffering.

They intrigued me because, like great works of art, they seemed to offer a tantalising glimpse into the human condition pushed to an extreme, challenging my imagination.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).