"This is too hard, you can't do this"
Negative chatter was off chops early in stage 2. Every pinch in the road, each stretch out of every corner and riding through the convoy after a puncture. These all had me on the edge. Wishing I could fade into the earth. Feeling sick of living with this restriction. Of it's haunting. It's the worst I've had since being in Europe this year. And dealing with it sucks.
However - over the previous 7 years, I've faced this consuming fear in club races, in National level races, in UCI .2 races, in UCI .1 races and in UCI .HC races in Asia. So, I guess It's only right that I had a crack at facing it in a .HC tour in Europe.
In some ways, it's a strange kind of privilege. To be at a point where despite a mental illness that has impeded my life to the point I would qualify to live on a disability pension - I've earned the chance to panic whilst surrounded by some of the best cyclists in the world! Shit - I'm almost impressed with myself!
I unfortunately had a crash with 30km to go and 5km before the start of a 5km climb. Apparently the footage of me getting my chain back on got EuroSport airtime. So, shout out to my days building bikes at D G Cycles for the Christmas rush!
Once I got back going, I realised my front wheel was well buckled - "no way this would be allowed anywhere near the floor at D G's!" This is good test of if something needs changing. A quick change from super mechanic Bostjan and I was riding again, but minutes off the back. I got a pace by one of the World Tour team cars but did not make it back to the bunch before the base of the climb.
I rode my way onto the back of a small group of stragglers. However when they started discussing flicking the race as they had also been involved in the crash. I rode on, making the crest some 40 sec off the back of groupeto. I hit the descent much harder than I would usually like but was able to catch onto them right at the base and finish the race safely in the group.
Let's see if I can get through another stage tomorrow and that nothing is too sore after greeting the pavement.