There's nothing left to do, riding has been shoe-horned in wherever it can, 2-for-1 deals on pasta have been made significant use of, the bakers knows me quite well and doesn't flinch any more when I teeter in, rides planned to finish about 3.30pm when they start to put the bread and cakes out at half price, I'm in the best shape I've been for a while, but still the crow of self-doubt sits on my shoulder, pecking away.
This is going to hurt.
I am clinging very tightly to my chest like a threadbare teddy-bear that I love being in the mountains and I enjoy the perverseness of the pain of climbing hills, maybe even relish it, the best shield is to accept the pain, then what can really destroy me? But I know I can crack, quickly and completely, I've seen it plenty but I have enough "It's been worse than this and I've got through" moments to look back on to stall that and just keep going.
I've changed my cycle computer to kilometres so I don't have to do complicated calculations to see how far I have to go, even if trying to multiply numbers by 1.6 when the brain is hollow of oxygen does help pass the time when crawling up a col, I've had a racing haircut, piles of kit are mushrooming around the house waiting to be packed, there's a fresh pot of Minty Arse Lard, I need more gloves. And socks, I don't have enough socks.
A pick'n'mix of emotions, skipping lumpenly between excitement and fear. And anxiety about the lack of socks.
I can't wait to remember this.
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.