Chad Haga Blog: Cycling’s sinister game

What if…?

It’s a sinister game that athletes play with themselves any time a victory was within reach but ultimately slipped away, and it’s a game that I’ve found myself playing a couple of times this year.

As a domestique, the opportunities for personal success are few and far between. Instead, my focus is on the success of my teammates, which is itself very satisfying, but it’s important to – at least occasionally – go all-in in pursuit of throwing your hands in the air. These days, those opportunities usually come in the form of time trials.

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While my spring was aimed at peak form during the Giro d’Italia to help Tom Dumoulin as he attempted to defend his title, I was also making weekly visits to my time trial training grounds, a flattish road with minimal traffic and a water fountain at the end. I would finish each ride with knotted shoulders, aching from hours of cheating the wind. My bike was streaked with horizontal lines of salt-and-sunscreen sweat, the evidence of commitment to the process at 50kph.

The Giro went very well for Tom, and my performance in the time trial pegged me as a favorite for the national championships in the next month, the only date on my calendar circled as the one I wanted to win.

When that day drew to an end, I found myself looking at the silver medal in my lap and asking myself, “What if?”

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com


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