Friday, June 09, 2006

Weather or Not

So the weather for raceday tomorrow appears to be interesting: Much cooler than it's been, with a chance of rain all morning. I'll be getting in the water at 50 degree temps. It should stay cloudy pretty much all day - the sun might crack through after noon sometime. It probably won't hit 60 degrees the entire time I'm out there. The wind will be very similar to the last time I was out there, for my Century ride - topping out at 12-13 mph, from the East. The mixed bag with that is, the course is so multi-directional for much of the time that a direct headwind won't be an issue until the long out and back (this assumes what I rode 3 weeks ago is, in fact, the course...which is what I've been told, but who knows)...and then it's a direct tailwind all the way back. Nothing insurmountable. It means long sleeves and full fingered gloves are the required dress code.

I was thinking about what my initial gut reaction was to the weather. First thing I thought was - the damn water will be warmer than the air, and I Heart My Wetsuit. And then I was thinking how, last year, I seriously got intimidated with any weather report that didn't read overcast, high 60's, no wind. Of which there was one race, thanks very much. Any time the weather called for rain, or wind, or colder than normal or hotter than normal, I got nervous. Not even for any practical reason. Looking back, I think I just lacked confidence to do well in anything but ideal conditions. And show me a race with "ideal conditions" and I'll show you my Tour de France trophy: nonexistent. This year? Hell. Bring it on. Seriously. I'm not being cocky or falsely confident. Nor am I being unrealistic about the unique challenges and hardships cold (and anything under 60 degrees on the bike is cold - that windchill is a mutha) and rain (or wind, for that matter) might bring - they can totally, totally suck. And I'm not just talking smack to try and convince myself of something. Rather, this is an element of The Becoming. If we were to envision the Becoming of Ironman as, say, the in-progress building of a statue, or a monument, this part has shape and form in the midst of the continuing construction. What have I not faced in training this winter that I could possibly be afraid of this race season? Have I not come home shaking and feverish with a core temp so low my lips were blue? Have I not literally crawled up the stairs, shaking and simply unable to walk? Have I not ridden wild into the wind? Have I not been soaked to the bone? Have I not been chased by thunder? I'm not saying it'll be easy. I'm not saying I might not get my ass kicked. I'm not saying I may not again find myself in full fledged battle with the Elements, or that if I do, that I'll be victorious. But I am saying I go unafraid.

I am Becoming Ironman. Do your worst. I'll be ready.

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