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“The first stop after lunch, right before the ride gets nice though even more demanding, it dawns on me that I’m fading, maybe for like the rest of the day. I’m cramping everywhere and it’s almost all I have to simply sit in. I’m not sprinting or pulling and the only work I can do is make the odd bridge when the splits get bad. I’m just head down with as still a body as possible to prevent cramps, I can’t stop pedaling because I know any change and my body will erupt in hundreds of spasms. I feel like I’ve been commercially dehydrated. My jersey is so stiff with salt and snot it looks and feels like a pornographic sandwich board. I’m actually having a conversation with myself about whether or not it would be okay to throw up a hand, dodge out of the pace line and stop on the shoulder of the road. I could lean my bike against a tree before walking into the weeds to lie down for a nap. I’m yawing and the muscles under my jaw cramp. My eyes are so tired I think something’s wrong. Why do I feel this way, how can I feel this way, everyone else looks fine. Am I on drugs? Will I pass out? Is this heat stroke? I come to the edge of a panic attack and almost get sucked into some real bad head-fuckery. I make a deal to buy one minute after the other, one at a time, convincing myself to just see what happens with that plan. Just make it sixty seconds down the road. Again. Again. A void forms and I don’t have a single thought or memory or sensation for who the hell knows how long. One minute I was talking to myself, aware of every nerve ending in my body and then as if from a hangover I wake to find myself riding my bike. And I’m shelling the group up a steep, long roller. I’m still dense and tight with cramps and lactic acid but something supremely optimistic has occurred. And in that moment I know I’m going to pull this off.“
– Daniel Pasley