Blog Archive – HTFU

 Week 4 - Really cold downhill

This blog was originally published in December 2008


We´ve adopted a new motto this week, its been kindly loaned to us by the lads at SOUTH HQ who’ll no doubt be needing it back when they attempt their historic expedition in Antartica next November.

The four simple letters HTFU stand for; Harden The F@€k UP.  The idea is everytime you find yourself cringing, smarting or moaning about something beyond your control you counteract the negative thought with a quick HTFU (ideally with an aussie accent) .

Its snowing outside and you´re finding it hard to get out of your sleeping bag for a day in the cold and wet?


The prospect of putting on the same damp clothes that you´ve been wearing for the last three weeks makes you cringe?


You can´t feel your fingers as its theres a bitter wind and your gloves are soaked?


You miss your girlfriend and wonder why the hell you are on a bike in the Pyrenees in the winter and not sitting on the couch with a take-away a bottle of wine and a DVD?

Yep, you guessed it; HTFU

Ultimately, HTFU is a strategy for dealing with discomfort and pain, for turning a negative thought back in on itself and diffusing the disruptive and destructive feelings before they colour the world in the wrong shade. Simon has been using it as a mantra to get past the burn on particualrly grueling climbs. Personally, I prefer “come on te f@”k” (preferably with a deep dub accent). Really, the words don´t matter, its the sentiment behind tham thats important, and by adopting HTFU we are trying to get into the right mindset to grin and bear whatever comes our way.

That senitment has lead us to forgo wearing our gloves when our fingers are numb, and not wearing our heaviest fleece when we were cold- because if we need them in comfortable Europe, if we breakout our Trumps now, then we´ve nothing left for down the road when it will be even colder/wetter/harder.  At least there’s comfort in knowing that we have gloves and more clothes to fall back on, even if there is present discomfort without them. 

So, why HTFU, why bother Hardening The F@#k Up in the first place? Because every now and then, when you are grinding your articulated 50kg bicycle up a 3km climb, you’re wet and your ears are stinging from the cold air and rain, the ipod shuffle throws out the right song, and for 3minutes and 53 seconds you understand what its about in a way that you never would otherwise. You realise that “Times Like These” is actually a time like this and if you never HTFU’d you wouldn’t be here- you might be at home watching TV or sitting at desk somewhere dreaming of being there. And Times Like These would just be be Times Like Those, and you’d never know the bitter sweetness of trully living of trully being in the world – not dreaming of it at a desk, not watching it on telly, and not trying to ignore it with detached ignorance or drowning it in a pickled stupor. 

Thats why we’ll be HTFUing with gusto. 


9 thoughts on “Blog Archive – HTFU

  1. “sitting at desk somewhere dreaming of being there”

    Best post so far. HTFU. Fair play.

    I know that feeling well. Not well enough, malheureusement: for me (and lots of your readers, I suspect) it’s wine and DVDs for the foreseeable future. But HTFU is a feeling I’ve had many a time in some far-flung and not so far-flung places, and one I aspire to feel every day at least once: run that red light on the way to work; make that extra 2 laps even if your muscles are aching…

    You don’t need to be in the Pyrenees to HTFU

  2. great sentiment.
    probably beating my faves; ‘man up’ and ‘grow a pair’, both of which are best said in a helium pinched voice with your pinkie finger extended outward and some kind of derogatory grimace strewn across the face. Well for full effect.

    i’ll think twice about complaining about my tootsies getting cold under the desk today.

  3. sitting exams at the moment and functioning on 4-5 hrs sleep, almost makes me miss cycling in subzero temperatures!
    great to read these posts and put the small bit of hardship in your cushy life into perspective.
    our mantra was ‘keep her lit’, preferably in a thick belfast accent! usually used in the context of
    ‘its getting dark/cold/dangerous/barren/really steep lads should we keep going? ah sure fuck it, keep her lit.’

  4. “Man Up”, “Grow a Pair”, “Keep her lit”, theres three new phrases for “The stop whinging and get on with it, you’ll be glad when its over, book of useful phrases” from all good book shops ; )

    Without sour, sweet doesn’t taste sweet.

    Glad to know that we’re not alone on this one guys : )

    @Conor did you keep a blog? Would love to read about it.
    @Con missed the churros, lots of bocadillos though. Wrapping up the bikes took longer than expected so we had to forgo the churros. Making up for it now with emapandas.
    @Derry you’re right, you don’t have to be far from home to feel it, theres nothing like pushing that extra little bit harder in training, or going for a long ride in the wind and rain to really appreciate the warm shower and pasta afterwards; simple pleasures : )

  5. You hit the nail on the head with the ‘ its better to be truly living the rather than just dreaming about it’. I hope to get to Machu Pichu (right spelling?)for my fortieth in five years time. Set that target about five years ago. Sometimes nowadays I find myself questioning the wisdom of it but your attitude inspires an individual to keep going. Maith sibh agus slán go fóill.

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