Wish I Was There.

Tonight the Tour of Anchorage starts without me.
 
I haven't missed an edition in quite a while. It kinda sucks. No, it really sucks.
 
Tonight is the prologue, a short individual time trial out by the airport. I usually do fairly well in these. Unlike a longer time trial where I generally can't find a rhythm and fade steadily, these allow me to target power towards certain sections to hide my complete lack of a diesel. I rarely win, but they usually place me high enough up in the GC standings that I almost fool myself into believing that this is my year for a decent result. It never is. At least, it hasn't been for the last few years.
 
To be 100% honest, I haven't been targeting the Tour of Anchorage for many years. The competition is just too variable and often too strong for me to base the success of an entire season on one race that falls at the end.
 
Most of my success usually falls in the first half of the season, when the hardcore competition is usually at its weakest. I'm usually rolling out of a winter of focused workouts on the trainer while they're just getting started. At least, that was the routine until everyone started riding fatbikes. My edge has been nullified.
 
Still, I shoot for PRs or target a couple early-season races. Maybe the Tour of Fairbanks if I'm feeling skinny. Beyond that, I usually lose focus. The drive to do intervals when the weather is perfect for long, cruising rides fades a bit by late July. Pushing it just doesn't have the same allure. Fitness suffers, and I rarely know where I stand as the Tour of Anchorage starts.
 
That said, getting crushed in the Tour of Anchorage is just part of the natural ebb and flow of the season. It doesn't seem right to not pin on a number and toe the line- not that I've ever been accused of seeming right.
 
Every night I'll check the results and see how my road racing frenemies fared that day. I've considered going out and watching or flagging, but unfortunately most of the race windows coincide with the times that I'm usually under the influence of opioids. Probably not the best state to be in when you're controlling traffic for the safety of the riders. Still, it would thin the herd for next year, increasing my chances for a good result. Hmmmm...
 
Chances are, I'll sneak out anyway to watch a stage or two. I'll watch how the race unfolds, how the tactics intentionally or unintentionally play out. I'll see who is dying a thousand deaths, who is performing as expected, who is performing above expectations, and "where the fuck did that guy come from?" It's part of the ritual of the Tour of Anchorage and just about every stage race in the world.
 
Wish I was there.

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