Race sensations, Pt. 1: Anticipation

It weighs on me like a lead vest, lying pronate in a doctor’s office waiting for the click-whir of an X-ray machine. What are we looking at? Anticipation is the run-up to a distinctive moment, a grand reveal that holds thousands of potentialities but a singular result.

Anticipation is excitement and doubt. It’s anxiety. It’s a stirring in the stomach and an elevated heartbeat. Anticipation is a cacophony of thoughts, like a brass band in which each instrument is being played in a different key. Anticipation is a refusal of the present.

Anticipation can make me throw up. It can make me need to take a piss. It stands my bowels on end. It’s messy and loud and full of expectation with only the confusing kind of answer. It makes me want to scream in short loud bursts or grab something and throw it. Anticipation is the kindling of a forest fire of action.

It’s Schrodinger’s cat. It’s knowing what is and is not at the same time. I can’t say I enjoy the feeling of anticipation, nor can I say I don’t. It’s like riding out a hurricane with a guaranteed glimpse of the still beauty in the eye of the storm.

Racing is anticipation conditioning. I’m not much of a racer but I enjoy the meditative practice of going through the rollercoaster of anticipation, frustration, failure and achievement. For each part it is a breath inward paired with a breath out. Racing is about walking the tight rope of your ability to control inputs, but your ultimate inability to have control over outputs. You condition yourself to face the unexpected, embrace it and all the while ride your bike as hard as you can.

You breakfast with anticipation. She holds your hand while you ride to the start. She dances in step with you as you, standing over your bike, shift your weight from toe to toe. She whispers in your ear, sharing nervous jokes. She stares at you with hard grey eyes and smiles and gives you a push off with the the start horn. And without the slightest goodbye she melts away.

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