I CAN'T HELP IT.  I pull up to another cyclist and I start assessing.  It's a left over from the early days when 80-100 riders would line up in my race.  Me, against them.  

I can count the times I've had a teammate on 1 hand.  I'm not against it, it's just the way things have worked out.  The result is a deep need to figure out who the players are and forget the rest.

There are the basics:
Legs shaved.
New, clean bike.
Proper amount of nutrition on board.
Helmet on correctly.
Gut vs. no gut.
Tan vs. no tan.

But, these are things you can assess standing around and lining up.  Once things are underway the sleuth work gets easier, but must be quicker.

Smooth pedal stroke.
Off the brakes.
At ease.

Here are giveaways of someone who is confident.  Confident riders are able to size up the other riders and feel the thunder in the herd.  They waste no energy, they just calculate, relaxed in the knowledge that sooner or later someone will make a mistake.

And then it's over.

More than anything confidence comes from experience.  Experience, actual bike riding, builds up a huge catalog of what ifs and what to dos.  No amount of riding solo, or worse riding a trainer, can compensate getting out in groups and rides and races.

What if...
its hot?
it rains?
the roads are bad?
I miss a feed?
a rider is unsafe?
there's an attack?
it's hillier?
it's flatter?
it's windier?
I feel bad?
I feel amazing?
I feel nothing?
I get dropped?
I attack?
I fall?
I lose?
I win?
My friends win?
They fail?
I flat?
My glasses fog over?
I forget my gloves?

there's no substitute.

Is your FUNKR team ready?
Save the dates:  HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10


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