25 March, 2014

No Excuses.

But I got a puncture.
But the weather changed and I had to go back to the team car and give them my knee warmers, caskette and gabba jersey.
But I had backache.
But my landlady had friends round last night and they were drinking and talking until 1:30am.

Big deal! I could have used all of these excuses on Sunday, but I didn’t, because I’m so tired of hearing excuses. Phew, got that off my chest, now...

Oh here I am, just climbin' and stuff.

I’m not sure exactly why but I don’t have many memories of the race, Fleche de Locmine, but I have snippets that come back to me when I close my eyes. I’ll try and write them down for you here.

After going back to the team car to drop off some excess kit I remember seeing a corner coming up, and a potential crosswind section emerging rapidly, as I struggled to move up the bunch. ‘Uh oh!’ is the edited version of the words I said to myself.

With one hand on the drops I’m fishing around in my jersey for some sustenance, whilst the line of riders in front slinkies along the road. I catch my hand on something and the pin gauges a neat slice through my palm. I’m so focussed on the wheels ahead I barely notice and after the race it will take me hours to work out how it happened.

A sudden hail storm descends on us with 20k to go and I feel the rider’s expressions turning sallow, morale deserts them and their shoulders slump. I smile, knowing that the painful impacts of the icy marbles are hurting them but they’re not hurting me. They’re not even touching me.

Okay maybe they were touching me here...

I take a deep sigh and change into the correct gear for the finishing straight before the final corner. I don’t have to take any risks now, I have thirty seconds, maybe more. I’m dancing on the pedals out of the saddle to get up to speed and then I’m in the noise and in the reflection of every person’s eyes. I close mine and breathe in the scent of anticipation, tension, stress, suffering. And I breathe out. I own this moment.

This feels awfully self indulgent! 


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