Somehow it took all day. After all, we came here to South Africa to race. So, a day spent scouting the course in preparation for the time trial tomorrow was reasonable. And, the truth is, we love this stuff. I put together my time trial bike; we ate breakfast at the hotel and set out for Wartburg. As we got there, they were just beginning to set up for tomorrow. I saw the ramp we are going to shoot down at the start and was immediately struck with apprehension. What am I doing here? I am not an athlete. I am a pretender, a poser, and a fraud.
The feeling stayed with me as we set out. The goal was to ride easy and just see what the hills, turns and roadway looked like. But, riding easy for Meg and Ann Marie is something different than riding easy for Jodee and me. They were very soon ahead on the hills. It is a hilly time trial course- nothing very steep, but lots of ups and downs and not very much flat. We were surprised to find sugar cane stalks all over the road. We hoped they would be swept by morning. We were horrified to find not just speed bumps, but rumble strips in several places. By the time we were 10 miles into the 15-mile TT course, I was fighting back tears. What am I doing here?
I confided to Ed and Jodee, and they were supportive andreassuring. Then, as we crested a hill,I looked out to the most incredible horizon. I took a deep breath, and a picture, and realized that it’s reallyOK. I will go out there tomorrow and dowhat I always do: have fun. I will useevery once of strength and skill to post the best time that I possiblycan. And that will be good enough. Afterward, I will feel tired and happy andtake a swim in the pool with my friends. We will start the stories that will be told again and again for years to come. I have done the hard work and preparation that's a part of all this. We came here to race, and that's what I'm going to do. I do hope I don't fall off that ramp.