cheri-rifkin-iron-horseWith less than one week until race day, my mind often drifts to all the things that need to be done.  In order to be able to stop ruminating and sleep soundly, I make a detailed checklist for everything I will need. I plan ahead for my healthy food for the week and fuel for use during the race. Breakfast is ready to go the night before, as are post-race clothes and flip flops in a bag. Bike maintenance is done and the race number is on the bike and pinned on my jersey. Water bottles are ready to be filled with water and electrolyte mix and sunscreen is out by my gear. Fuel, such as a gel and bar, is opened ahead of time and in an easy to reach baggie. I keep all my gear together; bike, Garmin, heart rate monitor, bike shoes, gloves, and sunglasses and make a list to remember my phone and Advil for emergencies. I know in my heart that all the hard training and work is now done and this week is the time to keep the legs fresh with shorter, easier rides with short interval bursts to be ready for the race. So many things will determine how the ride goes on Saturday. The weather looks good but we live in the Rocky Mountains and weather.com is often wrong. Today the forecast for race day shows a high of 62 in Silverton and winds from the SSW at 13 mph. Winds from the south would be beneficial as we are heading due north.  Winds on the passes can be tricky with canyons, switchbacks and hairpin turns. All these variations go into the excitement of racing! My 14 year-old son is riding in the “Quarter Horse”, a 25 mile ride from Durango to Durango Mountain Resort this weekend. He finally asked me to ride with him to prepare (better late than never). What a blast riding with him! It’s so different than training a group or riding with friends. He does seem to value my opinion about riding, which doesn’t always seem to happen these days. He also told me I had a “death wish” when we reached 40 mph on a rain soaked stretch of old steep highway. I didn’t tell him that I try to exceed 47 mph on a dry day! Hopefully, he will recognize the long term benefits of cycling and gain a love for it as I have. If he knew how much it would benefit his freestyle skiing next season, he would definitely keep riding. I look forward to sharing our race day experiences with you next week!

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