Pondering. Racing.

Cycling often lends time for some thoughtful pondering.  That’s what I love about the sport.  I like to look at the scenery, and think.  I think a lot.  Probably too much.  No one really should know the inner dialogue that goes on inside my head.  Recently, I have missed those peaceful moments on my bike.  I am racing in Holland.  There is no time for pondering.  There is no time for reflection.  There is only time to suffer.

We finished Stage 4 of the tour today.  4 races down.  5 to go, but who’s counting.  The Energiewacht Tour is completed.  4 really hard days of racing.  Motorpacing if you will.  We covered 130k yesterday in just over 3 hours.  That is fast.  I climbed 55ft in that 130k, but don’t think that was an easy race.  The road twisted around a canal, and was not wide enough for cars.  I have seen nicer bike paths than that road.  Actually, the bike paths in Holland are wider than that road.  However, I learned that no matter how narrow the road, you throw in a wicked cross wind, and the peloton shreds into guttered individuals, one by one.  Nothing feels narrow when you are single file.  When the 140 girls are lined out along the flat terrain as they blow, and the group shatters to smithereens. Suddenly as the wind gusts, you can do nothing but gutter others, or be guttered.  There is no mercy.  There is no relief.  There is no choice.  Take no prisoners.  Fight.  Fight for survival.  Fight for a wheel.  Fight for position.

And what goes through my head?  I search for a song.  Something with a beat.  Something with an obnoxious repetition.  Nothing comes to me.  I try to think of happy thoughts.  I try to think of beaches, cabanas, and a BBQ.  Nope.  I try to think of what I am going to eat post race.  Nope, I start tasting my breakfast return to me.  I try to think of my goals.  I think of why I am here.  I question myself.  Then it hits me.  They took 170 women in the fertile farmlands of northwest Netherlands, and we chased each other around the fields.  Full gas.  For 4 days.  4 days, we pummeled each other into the wind.  Into the rain.  Into the think manure scent.  Brutal.  Only 80 survived.  If you want to learn to race your bike, you don’t need mountains, you don’t need hard terrain.  The wind is selective enough.  The position is a fight.  The racing is hard.

I have 3 days now before our next race.  3 days to rest, recover, and ponder.  I welcome it.

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