Sunday, February 19, 2006
Hanging on by a very Thin Thread
That feeling of fear and laziness, first thing in the morning, is the feeling you need to kill. You wake up, and the world's asleep. Outside the sky is in a bad mood. The roof above you is miserable, and dripping a little. There seems little incentive in leaving the cozy comfort of the mattress? But nothing heroic happens in bed.
You still have mixed feelings, shaking off the webs of sleep, quietly prancing and tiptoeing about the house as you load up the cage with a water bottle, check the number of foil sacks. Inside each are precious resources of fuel, of gel.
The rain drips on you as you make your way, already almost late, and still half asleep, to the race. Each drop is a stinging slap in the face. With minutes to go you find no entry forms are left, and those that are are damp, and transparent on tables left out in the rain. You dab a pen at one, and it pulls the felt of the paper apart.
But finally, you've paid and the number is flapping behind you. The dark skies sit stiffyly above you, waiting to break.
And then, the riders unzip over the roads, like a grey suit opening to reveal the superman streak below.
Distance: 96km (Anton, who finished seconds ahead of me, his reading was 98km)
Average speed: 37km/h (Anton's average was over 38km/h)
Average time per km: 1:38 (best this year)
Energy Expenditure: 1653 kcal
Heart Rate: 156 average/176 max
You cover 100km in under 3 hours, a little more than twice the time it would have taken to drive.
You dash the last 200m after pushing your heart into the high heights.
You just beat out a rider in green for third in your group. You're elated, and then reflect that last year you were just beaten out into second. Already, you're thinking about next year, and when to break out of the slip way to lead the pack until the end.
You arrive home to find the same darkness and depression, weighing like a blanket, over everything. But the power and the fire within break the spell of this like a sharp red brick on a pane of glass.