Friday, February 16, 2007

Let's get it started

If you're checking in after 9 a.m. AST Saturday morning, check on my progress here.

About 12 more hours to wait. I feel a little nauseated with anxiety. I wouldn't want it any other way.

However, I can't really pinpoint why I feel this way. It's not that I have performance anxiety because I'm trying to win this thing. This is a popular race, packed with some extremely skilled and strong winter endurance cyclists, and I'm one of those weekend warriors who will be thrilled to simply finish ... even if it takes me 48 hours because I spent the last 25 miles trudging through eight inches of snow with my bike on my back (actually, it would be really cool if I still finished after all that.) And it's not that I'm convinced that I'm riding into my death ... I did believe that last year, and this feeling is different. It doesn't have the same immediacy. It doesn't have the same bite. It's a dull kind of stress, worn smooth by time and contemplation. It's the kind of stress I imagine a person would feel if they had spent hours frantically fighting off some kind of danger, like a pursuing black bear, only to end up at the top of a tree with the bear closing in. They know at that point that they've done all they can do. What's going to happen is going to happen. It's acceptance. The calm before the storm.

It's been a gloomy sort of day. Overcast and foggy in these wide open spaces that I'm not used to. I spent the day in Palmer putting my bike together, packing my stuff, drinking water, trying to eat. It's hard to eat. I have to pop Tums after every little snack ... and little snacks are all I've been able to get down in one sitting. Now I have to take a shower and get some sleep, and that's going to be difficult, too. But I know this waiting is physically challenging because this event is important to me. I like to have goals in my life that I care deeply about. I do feel sick now, but, like I said ... I wouldn't have it any other way.

The race starts at 9 a.m. The weather forecast looks good. Trail reports are promising. What's going to happen is going to happen. I'm already past acceptance. Bring on the attack.