The training has been trained the power has been gained.

The race awaits, the clock starts ticking.

Into the taper, the traumas prevail.

48 hours

 ‘Just a little spin, to keep the legs moving’. NO! To rest and spare every ounce.

A furtive poke at Strava, a spying on the opposition. ‘Are they training? Should I train? Just a little spin. NO! REST MAN!’

A slightly tight knee, an onslaught of fear. A stretching session, a sit on the roller, the agony of the lacrosse ball.

A solitary sneeze, a tickle of the nose. The plink, plink. fizz of a berocca, the purchase of paracetamol.

The body is confused. The legs twitch, wanting to move. The metabolism growls, seeking out the carby comfort of the training day.

In the absence of the bike, you think of food, the second love of your life. It will pass the time, it will fuel the muscles for the onslaught to come.

I’ll be full of glycogen, ready to roll’.

‘But will I turn up to the race fat and heavy?! Let’s keep it light. Salad will suffice.

What are you doing!? Watercress doesn’t equal watts?!’

You stay as you are. No food is prepared. You return to your ever-present thoughts. Thoughts of everything and nothing. So much to think about, so little to be done.




24 Hours

The solitary comfort of the hotel room. The solitary confinement of your mind.

‘Just a little spin, keep the legs moving. NO! we’ve discussed this before.’

A check of the weather, a consideration of kit.

A check of the parcours, a consideration of nutrition.

The stomach plays games, once again calling for stodge.

‘To salad or not to salad that is the question?’

‘It’s now or never Jimbo, carbs are KING!...

But I don’t want to go in feeling heavy and grim.’

Strava is loaded, an opponent has been riding. An ‘easy leg stretcher’ he calls it. You analyse his heart rate, his power, his cadence. How will he feel tomorrow?

‘I should ride too! NO. NO. NO! SIT STILL!’

Laying on the bed, eyes shut. ‘Bank the sleep now, you need it.’

5 minutes later, back on the phone. Thoughts of sleep gone, your mind buzzing with considerations of the smallest and finest of details.

You abuse the dodgy hotel wifi connection to the utmost again.

Another forecast to that used prior… a different outcome.

Two degrees cooler than that stated elsehwere, the cartoon threats of grey clouds, the ominous portents of baby blue rain drops.

The previously and preciously laid out kit pile, deconstructed and defamed.

Heavier layers to protect you from a different prediction.

The bib numbers are carefully un-pinned from the now redundant jersey and meticulously re-pinned to a new choce.

At right angles and creaseless, the numbers sit square, proud and defiant on your pockets.

You lay down again.


Up again, contemplating energy bars, considering gels.

Another look at the parcours, a consideration of race time, a calculation of carb requirements.

A look back at the loving constructed pile of sugar you plan to pile into your sleek aero jersey, to weigh you down, a cart attached to the race horse.

The knee twinges… back on the roller, onto the lacrosse ball, another 30 minutes of trauma.

Another look at the route, a contemplation of strategy. A look over strava segments, a consideration of wattage. The moment to attack.

‘Attack here? No, here? Let’s go for it here. NO. Let’s wait and see. You never know how the race will unfold. I am Vicenzo, racing on instinct.’

It goes on, ad finitum




2 hours

The morning has come.

The weather has changed.

The clothing pile is aborted, the numbers messily re-pinned to new kit in careless panic.

The tactics are reconsidered.

The best laid plans, laid to waste.

It’s just a bike race, after all.

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