Tuesday, April 19, 2011

requisite pre-transiowa mental collapse

fuck. how much longer do i think i can do this? i've questioned transiowa more this year than i ever have in years past. i don't even know where to start. it makes me feel like a mental fucking midget. all the questions that only have answers buried somewhere in the middle of nowhere on a gravel road in central iowa. how will the weather affect it? am i strong enough? did i train right? what about my nutrition before? during? who will i ride with? can i do it alone if necessary? will my knee hold up? will my mind hold up? will my bike hold up? how much pain am i willing to put myself through before pulling the plug this year? how long will my stubborness overpower my desire for physical comfort?

its really hard to explain this race to people that haven't done it or anything like it before. and that's not meant to sound arrogant about myself and those that choose to do it. it is what it is, and its brutal. the wilderness trail 101 out in pennsylvania was physically the hardest race i've ever done. this is just different. the combined mental and physical suffering, the sleep deprivation, the rollercoaster affect of poor nutrition maintenance, the fear of letting myself down, the fear of making all of the sacrifices made over the last 6 months of training seem wasted...i dunno. i feel like i go through this every year but this year it seems worse. maybe time just makes it harder to remember how bad it was the other years. maybe this year i'm just more willing to be honest about it.

i've got a few days. and chances are i'll be fine. i don't really have a choice. i know i'm stubborn and i know i'm competitive and i know that if its within my abilities to finish this year that i will. i just could have done without some of the mental body blows that i've gotten recently. the poison ivy i picked up at sylvan island isn't healing as quickly as id like. the weather is absolute shit. the forecast looks like it might be a coming around a bit but this snow is fucking ridiculous. and then there's the scotty issue. i can't say enough about scott and his impact on my transiowa training from day one back in the fall of 2007. he's the one guy that's always been there when i needed someone willing to train/ride/race even when no one else was stupid enough to do it, let alone enjoy it. then he jumped into transiowa last year and i was ecstatic about riding with him. then the rain dumped on us and the race became something else entirely and we pulled off and grabbed some beers. this year felt like the year. he's way stronger than he's ever been and after riding the spring training with him i knew he was strong enough to finish. this was going to be the year we crossed the finish line together. sunday, 6 days before the start this saturday, he fucked up his knee playing soccer. ugh. it took a bit for me to realize what i was feeling was obvious sadness for him and his lost opportunity especially with all the time he's put into getting fit for this year's attempt, but that what i was also feeling was a personal loss. i had allowed myself to become mentally dependent on the idea of having him to ride the entire 320 miles with and now i'm having to wrap my head around not having him there. yeah, i'm selfish. you don't train for or ride a 320 mile race for anything other than selfish reasons.

then there's the bike issues. all my plans of spending this week fine tuning the bike and making sure everything was dialed in is getting snowed over by this ridiculous weather. so instead i'm stuck inside overthinking and second-guessing everything. i know that ultimately this is simply "pre-race jitters" magnified proportionately to the size of the race. the fact is the race is going to happen. and i'll be there. and i'm not very good at doing anything half-assed. i know i'm strong enough to finish as long as the bike, body and weather hold up just enough to allow for the possibility of finishing. maybe i just wanted to offer a glimpse into the toll something like this takes on my mental state. maybe i'm just being a baby. maybe i'm just taking it too serious. choosing to suffer like this just begins to seem absurd on some level, but ultimately i wouldn't do it if i didn't enjoy it. but holy god this whole process is mentally exhausting before it even begins.

8 comments:

Captain Bob said...

Oh Ben.... You, like me, think way too much. Hang in there dude! It'll be over soon.

Charlie Farrow said...

WOW....You hit it out of the park with that muse...WE are ALL thinking the same way...WTF!!! What are we doing this for...Itz insane... :)
Looking forward to see ya...
Charlie

Emily said...

everyone writes post-race reports but it is rare to see someone give such an honest report of the pre-race freak out sessions. nice writeup, and good to see I am not the only one. See you friday.

MrDaveyGie said...

WoW, is right, that was some soul searching, gut wrenching read.
Raw. Ben your tough, I've seen it. Good luck.

Ari said...

Your Buddy Ari will be there. I am going to finish this year. And then we will meet in Decorah and hang out and drink Templeton.
best of luck to you.
Ari

Jeremy Kershaw said...

I was going to write a pre TI report...but I think I will just link yours. Farrow won't stop talking about what a good guy you are. Look forward to suffering together.

Ari said...

The weather is going to improve and that will settle a lot of jitters.
ari

jb* said...

You got this, no problem. See you Friday!