I steal into the wind still, pre dawn, night. Cold creeps into my wrists and up my arms, fingers already too cold to notice. Pedal hard. By now I know the right pace.
Serviced bike runs smoothly, perfect. At every lamp post my shadow overtakes me. My only rhythmic, silent companion. My body, mind and bike bear the scars of the last few weeks of hard training. But I feel suddenly fragile like nothing must go wrong now. No time left to make little adjustments. This is getting real.
I remind myself that less is more now as that exhausted sleep from constant exertion is replaced by fitful rest. And we wait.