Over dinner yesterday, the conversation was pretty glum. We'd all just had a very hard day, so there was a lot of complaining going on. In an attempt to change the mood, one of the Manual for Speed guys said "hey guys, let's do highs and lows." At first I was resistant to this idea. "Hell no I'm not doing that," I snarled. But I've performed this exercise in the past, and know how helpful it can -- especially when I'm feeling negative. So, after further consideration, I changed my mind, and offered the following:
"My high was the time after the gun went off, but before we were released from neutral. We did a parade lap through downtown. All my stress and anxiety melted away, and I got to savor the delightful Durango crowd. The rest of my day was pretty much a flatline low."
Today was different. Today my low was definitely the second KOM. I fell off the pace of the group when we weren't even going that hard. I was the first, and pretty much the only guy to get dropped. I slid backwards through (almost) the entire caravan, suffering my way past dozens of team directors and mechanics, past officials and police and race doctors -- a very visible kind of suffering. Once again, I had to contemplate the fact that this could be it -- my race could be over. I had to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask myself: how bad do I want to finish this race? I think I surprised more than a few of those directors and mechanics -- they all thought I was a gonner (and with good reason).
My high was finishing in Crested Butte. Holy crap -- what an atmosphere! Thousands of people, costumes galore, painted roads, helicopters whirring overhead, the works. I wish I could share what it feels like to ride a bike through a crazy crowd in at this race. It's unique, and energizing, and nearly overwhelming. To the people on the side of the road today, a very heartfelt thanks, especially the ones who said my name!
Tomorrow should be very very hard.