My nerves have yet to settle since this morning. I know they won't until the announcer reaches the countdown and "go!" slips past his lips. I stand with each leg over the frame waiting for my number to be called, like a cow going into slaughter. Each leg shaking from nerves or from the cold, I can't differentiate the two.
After what seemed like years, only to have centuries added on by my nerves, I'm finally brought up and directed to my place. My eyes scan over the girls around me, each just as nervous as I. The wind howls before us, taunting us with it's control over the situation. It's ability to slow us down or take out one of our most important assets, our sight, with just one small blow and some dirt. Each breeze as threatening as the next. One causing a loss of energy, the next a loss position.
My thoughts run wild as I make small talk with the girl beside me, trying my best to trick my nerves away. Unfortunately, they don't fall for it and continue to attack, like soldiers in tanks and fighter jets. A war is happening in me and I have no control or way of calming it. It fights over how every minute, second, turn, pass, draft, and position counts.
We move up and the soldiers turn to distorted creatures, clawing away at my nerves. Their claws grow to sharp sleek daggers when the announcer says, "one minute to start". Everyone knows though that this one minute will feel like an eternity and one second at the same time.
Yet, to my joy and despair, it's gone just as fast as it came and the countdown starts along with my nerves pleading me to, "turn back before it's too late". A shaken Soda can has less pressure then I have on myself in this. It doesn't help that because of my number plate I'm in the dead back of the pack, hopeless.
The jingle of cow bells invade my ears and snap me out of my trance. Not your typical racing sound, but this isn't your typical race. We're off and the race has begun, no turning back now. No time for thoughts and worries. No time for my nerves, it's just me, my bike, and the mountain I shall conquer.