After two disappointing weeks in a row due to knee soreness and bad weekend weather, I'm now fully facing the intersection of "need to taper" and "not losing fitness". After spending over 5 months preparing for the Assault, I know that I'm as ready as I'm going to be for the event. I believe that I can manage my efforts and be ready for almost 4 hours of climbing when I get to Marion. I brought the bike in last week for a check up, although there is still a ticking noise I'd like to clear up before Thursday if I can figure out what it is. The last time I had this symptom it was as simple as my bottom bracket getting a little loose, so hopefully it's another simple fix.
Due to timing, Mitchell is going to end up being my very first Century. I've done 80mi rides already, and I've done an insane amount of climbing. Still nothing is really going to prepare me for exactly what Mitchell is going to be. The current long range forecast shows a high in the low 80's for next Monday, without a significant chance of rain at least for the ride to Marion. It is comforting to know that the weather conditions shouldn't be too extreme.
This is the first time since I got on the bike in September 2011 that I've had to seriously plan "tapering" prior to an event as well. Up until now I've been focusing on "push harder", "ride more" and "get stronger". The events that I've done haven't been to the level of endurance training that I couldn't just dig deep down and get through it. The events haven't been about time for me, they were about completing the course. I'm not focused on time for Mitchell, but I know that there is a timer going from 6:30am that I have to be done before a certain time or risk not completing the course.
The biggest thing that I have to work through is the big event jitters. Right now I'm dealing with waves of absolute dread at the scope of the challenge I have in front of me. The fact that I'm taking on this challenge seems daunting. Various folks have asked me "am I ready" for the event. I haven't found the best way to say that I don't ever feel like I'm truly going to be "ready". To me, being ready places an amount of confidence in myself and my ability to master the situation. I've prepared myself for the challenge. I've gotten myself as ready as I'm going to be. I stared down the Hincapie Gran Fondo last year and blinked. I believe I could have finished the course, but I was worried about how long it could take me to get back and missing out on the festivities.
There is no blinking on Mitchell, and I have no doubts that I can finish the course. But there will always be that lingering doubt about taking on challenges like this. The difference is listening to the doubt, or continuing to the mountain.
Bring on the Mountain.