Saturday, May 5, 2012

Speedweek: Part 1

Its easy for the high points of an experience to be overshadowed by the negatives. I'm writing this to recount the progress that was made throughout the racing at Speedweek and not just the final downfall of the trip.

I went into Speedweek not entirely sure what to expect. In the few months prior to the trip, I heard countless rumors of the week's ferocity and difficulty, "not like anything you've ever experienced" they said. "Intimidating" is the word that comes to mind. In reality, the mental battle that is Speedweek started long before the races had even begun.

Upon arrival, rumors, some of which I marked as myth or exaggeration, were soon molded into truth. The guy standing next to me at the start line, I've read articles in CyclingNews about him, I thought. That guy over there with the #1 on his jersey, he rode the Giro d'Italia two years ago...I had to continuously tell myself that I belonged there, in order to maintain some kind of false sense of confidence.

Never have I gone into a race with the goal just to finish the thing, its a bit absurd when you think about it. I spend hours and hours on the bike and in the gym, training and tuning my body to go into a race hoping to finish? What kind of exchange rate is that?

I'm not saying that the reasoning behind this isn't justified, its just a bit much to wrap your head around in one go. You've got Bobby Lea, who's headed to London this year for his second Olympics. John Murphy, who rode with BMC in the 2010 Giro. Dave Wenger, the 2011 US National Criterium Champion. Then there's like, 20 more of the top sprinters in the country and you're on the away team on their playing field. Its a little daunting.

It must be said though, once you suck it up and accept the fact that you're there simply to try and survive, it is a lot of fun.