From the beginning, I've told people that we will need to come to Paris with every possible advantage, every possible bit of preparation covered off, the best possible training. And a lot of luck.
We can control so much – training, food, logistics, support, gear, and life balance – but at the end of the day, there are things that are out of our hands. I guess that's what makes it interesting. Just like the teams in the actual Tour de France race, we show up in the best possible form and then? We fucking pray.
I've been doing that a lot lately, which is curious because I don't actually believe in god. There are no atheists in foxholes.
Here's what is going to stop me from finishing this ride: my health. My immune system is notoriously mediocre. I was sick in January, sick for a week after returning from work in Belgium and I'm sick again now. Three times in five months: that's not the most convincing record. If I were a betting woman, not only would I not put money down on me, I'd probably shoot me and put me out of my misery.
Writing about my health tends to drive an onslaught of advice from all corners of the internet universe. Trust that I am in the good care of health providers and that it's nothing serious: I just get sick a lot. It's always been this way. I remember running the district cross-country championships with Fisherman's Friends lozenges tucked into my racing singlet.
I'm constantly disgusted in this inherent weakness in myself. In my inability to will myself into perfect health. People tell me that I'm overextended, that I try to do too much. Maybe they're right, but my (stubborn, irrational) position remains the same: I expect my body to keep up with my spirit and I'm disappointed when it doesn't.
We've all got demons and this is mine. I've been studying up on exorcism.
By this time next week, I'll be in Santa Rosa for our second and final training camp. We'll build up and receive our final bikes, we'll ride through the hills together, we'll take some photos, and we’ll hang out with sponsors and do interviews.
I need this camp.
I need to see everyone together and have everyone tell me that it's going to be ok: that we can do this, that I'll be well, that miracles can happen, that we're about to make six of them. I need a little sun and a lot of camaraderie.
I train like a soldier: ticking off workouts and hours with a sense of duty that I actually enjoy. But single soldiers don't win battles. I need an army and a battle cry.