Its 6:30 in the morning. 55 degrees. Raining. Your race starts in 90 minutes.
You eat a bagel, banana, and sip some juice. What you wouldn’t give to have some hot coffee right now.
60 minutes to go. Make sure the bike is set. Lube the chain. You briefly debate tire pressure with yourself. You go 5 psi lower than normal, you know, just in case.
30 minutes to go. Time to start kitting up. Bibs, jersey, thin base layer, fingerless gloves. The guy across from you is putting on warmers and a jacket. Mentally he has already lost. Grab the cap and clear glasses, throw on the helmet. Take a deep breath.
5 minutes to go. Shivering on the start line. Tense. Cold. Raining harder now. 53 miles today.
60 seconds to go. You are lined up front row. Your leg is trembling but you don’t know if its cold or nerves. Maybe a little of both?
The whistle. Get clipped in, get clipped in, get clipped in. Good, grab a wheel. Instantly road spray is in your face. Glad you grabbed the cap, keep water out from behind your glasses.
2 miles in. Pace starts to pick up. You are already soaked through. Your clothes feel like they weigh 30 pounds. Fingers cold. Legs numb.
4 miles in. Pace starts ramping up more. Stay near the front. Don’t let this guy push you around. Blood flowing, legs starting to warm up.
7 miles in. Downhill. Pouring rain. 40 miles per hour, inches from the guy in front of you. You can barely see through the rain and fog. Don’t flinch.
9 miles in. The first climb of the day. You vowed to be aggressive here is your chance. This baby takes 90 seconds. But you are so cold. Shut up. Everyone else is cold too.
Deep breath. The climb starts. The effort picks up. You see a whole. You jump. You give it everything you have. Lungs are searing. Heart pounding. But you feel strong.
The cold hits you. Your legs freeze. They scream “STOP! STOP! STOP!” you want to give up, let them catch you, but you know you can’t. Your legs scream “QUIT!” your mind screams “ATTACK!” What you do next defines you as a racer.
Retul Certified Bike Fitter
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