The generic alarm tone that you promise yourself you’ll change, rattles from your mobile phone before you reach over and press any button but ‘snooze’
Fast-forward 6 months. A similar noise, but one awash with adrenaline, as the bell resonates for the last lap of the race.
Two significant moments of misery. Or elation. I guess it depends on where you are in the race.
Rolling back the months, you’re internally debating what best to eat to lose the off-season ‘podge’ before reading at least 6 weather forecast apps to find an excuse to not go out. To me, the bite of winter makes the summer even sweeter but sometimes the soul dies when I pull on the thick overshoes.
Soon enough, you’re out of the door post porridge and espresso and into the morning season. You take in the club run’s own annual calendar or if like me, you meet with a smaller group of fellow fools that like to turn the screw that little bit tighter.
The winter ice soon thaws into spring and in turn you start to think about the race season ‘proper’.
You’ll have penciled in your short to long-term goals before weaving your plan throughout like a mad scientist. Albeit a scientist with shaved legs.
The classics season is a seminal moment of the season as even though you won’t be contesting the win in Roubaix, you will definitely know if you’ve put in the miles over winter as you are either left with broken legs or breaking legs.
Leaping forward once more to that final lap as you jostle for position to arrive on the last corner in fourth wheel with fresh legs. You hear nothing but screaming from the straining sinews of muscle that increase with every pedal stroke.
The hours spent in the gym, the endless pursuit of perfect nutrition, the mornings you’d return home without the feeling in your hands and a misjudged lack of leg warmers, the day the hunger knock turned you into a quivering mess and the days you felt like you owned the roads.
They all come down to that one moment.
The sprint finish sees you take half a bike length on the second place rider. The race wasn’t won today, it was won months ago.
The difference between winning and losing lays within the hard work and commitment you are willing to put in beforehand.
Are you committed enough to make that difference?
By guest blogger: Ryan Mallinson