Wow. Inspired by my cuz’ recent post (all-pro, HOF 2009), I set out to find my own doubt. Instead, I fell into two twins – misery and despair. First, there was misery. Awful bike fit, new shoes, think I’m late for a ride. Not a real warm up, just head backwards to the the ride. See cuz WAAAAY out in front – says he’ll be back. Get to the tittie hill before the church and see the group. I hang a U and let the pack consume me. Smile at Berg, pick at Tim and congratulate Gillis on his win in Rome. Berg dials it up on his cross bike and I follow. Nobody chases. The quick effort makes me feel good. The pack reassembles. We chill down both hills but just before the last hump. I am out of position – I’m near the front. I’m fat, slow and haven’t been on a road bike all year – I’m miserable.
Unfortunately it would get worse, way worse. Lil Ball pulls through, Berg latches on and I easily fix myself into third. Ball jumps on it enough that I start to hurt. At the top of the last hump, I sneak a look back under my arm and see that we’ve got a small gap except for Rita who’s dogging my back wheel. Ball pulls over slightly left and Berg pins it down the start of the false flat, I follow. He looks back a few times and clearly does not recognize misery on my face because he pegs it again. I have to dig deep, twice. I can handle it – no I can’t. I pull over to the right defeated as Rita rockets forward. Then the pack blasts around. I pick out people I know as I struggle to try and make it to the bricks. I’m last. I have to work way to hard to catch the group after the sprint. I don’t even know who won. OK, get back on, recover and play it smarter for the second lap. I work my way back to the front for the big hill after the lake. Plan on starting out up front and fade to the back as we climb. This is not working. I work way to hard to maintain position. I am breathing hard, sweating and starting to really hurt. A few turns, a flat and then Lt. Dan’s climb. I am last and hurting. Misery but no despair – yet.
Back on, Arbor hills, AJ Henry, Gardenview climb – more misery. Somewhere in there get the best of wrecking ball running smack – which rarely happens. Beat him with his own game, the rapid fire cuts. Easy Shamrock. Easy Church. The screws turn back up. Still on at the humps and positioned well in mid pack. False flat now and headed toward the bricks. Pace ratchets up another notch and I twist the throttle. The engine bogs. I whip the horse again, and again. Nothing works. Come on. hammer, hammer. I push it again. I’m last. I’m dropped. I’m miserable. I throw up in my mouth – literally. Spit out some sort of bile and fully embrace that I’m miserable. That’s when I learn misery loves company. It’s a twin called despair. Despair will mock you. Despair will make you beg nobody turns around to come get you. Despair is the devil. Despair is like doubt but with a dash of panic added. Am I going to black out? Can I make it home? Why aren’t the pedals moving? Why am I so slow? Should I walk it? Did I really just throw up? Holy shit, am I really going to race this weekend? Confidence shaken, I am totally blasted. Not bonked at any particular point. Just a series of hard efforts with little or no recovery. I am miserable. I loved every minute of it.