When the sh*t goes down and the screws are turned, we all wage the war against the ingress of doubt. Like cold, salty ocean water, doubt will find its way inside a breach and then... it's only a matter of time before the ship goes down.
Following an effort so hard that it leaves the eyes bloodshot and your feet fried, a rider tries to sort out the race's details. How can one's fitness vary so greatly on back-to-back days? All things being equal, one can point to doubt.
At times, denying doubt is harder than any of the physical efforts doled out. When the group is strung out into a razor sharp point and riders begin popping, doubt becomes tough to ignore. At that moment, the difference between a good day and a bad day is determined by the mind's willingness to ignore the persistant whisper of that f*#ker doubt.
I've been meaning to blog tha above (Doubt, by BKW) since reading it yesterday. It fits in really well with a BBC interview with Chris Hoy, which I read today:
In the velodrome, we battered the other teams into submission. You could see their morale was completely dented by the first few days.
I was almost surprised at how badly some of them performed. Some of them didn't even reach the levels they had at the World Championships in March.
That couldn't be a physical thing, because you'd aim to peak for the Olympics. I think it was mental.
The lower your morale, the more you feel the pain. And when they saw how our team was riding, everyone else just started to crack.
The emotional side of it is almost tougher than the physical part.