I’m lying in bed, in the pitch black of my apartment. I can’t see what time it is, as none of the scattered LEDs that interrupt the darkness display the time. What I do know is that I have to be up at 4:30am to be picked up at 5am, to drive 4 hours to race.
Last year, I raced maybe a half dozen times, all local events. It was the first year since ’95 that I wasn’t racing almost every weekend, usually both days, from March till I burnt out in late August. Last year, I worked Monday thru Friday, eight to five (though I never really left at five) like most people – a regular day job. I met some one in March, about the time of year when my friend Neil would jettison his annual off-season girlfriend. I had the idea that I’d like to try mountain bike racing.
The dilemma I’m in…or potentially in…is that I have no idea what time it actually is. If it is 4:26 am, everything is fine, I can just lay here and get up to shut off the alarm in the next few minutes. However, if it is 1:30am…well that‘s not so good. I’m awake now…falling asleep again will be difficult…something that isn’t going to just happen. Now here is the rub. If I get up to see what time it is, that’ll make going back to sleep again even more of a bitch.
I’m back to working evenings again.
I’ve found that while I really enjoy mountain bike riding, mountain bike racing is another story.
Nicole and I are still together.
Finally, the alarm goes off and I pop out of bed, relieved.
Now, four hours in the car with no radio. I really can’t critique the shortcomings of Joe’s car because it runs. I used to tell Matt that he couldn’t make any comments about my civic because he didn’t have a car. Now that very same civic lies in a coma behind my apartment.
The four hours go by surprisingly fast, much like Joe’s driving.
The race starts late, of course. While it’s nice not to have to rush, I wish they’d just get on with it. I have an unfamiliar nervous feeling. I used to NEVER get nervous or have butterflies before races. I guess it was the time off, the untested legs, the impressive field. I knew this wouldn’t be an easy race, that wasn’t the question. The question was would I survive?
While Joe hung out with our Kiwi teammates Mark and Roz, I made absolutely sure that my bladder was empty. While staging, I stood along side Roz, “chatting it up” as she’d say. She asked me “Well, what are you good at?”
to be continued…