Are you afraid? I am. Every race is terrifying. Every corner, every obstacle, every descent, every bit of gravel or dirt. The sound of brakes squealing and the screams. The sirens and horns honking. The feeling of bumping bars and hips. The sight of bloodied bodies and broken bikes. The sickening sensation of your wheels sliding out from under you. The searing pain that shoots through you when you take a hit. The fear starts to creep up days before and reaches a crippling level by the start of the race. Sometimes it’s so bad it makes me physically sick and I don’t think I will even manage to get on my bike, let alone race 140km.
But what exactly is so scary? I had never really thought about it beyond the fact that racing a bike in a bunch was categorized under “terrifying things” in my mind. Leading up to the Ronde van Drenthe weekend, I was talking with my sports psychologist and she asked me exactly that: what are you afraid of? It got me thinking about it and I realized that I wasn’t really afraid of anything except for the fear itself. It was an irrational, fight or flight, survival instinct type of fear.
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