In the shaft of light, I envision the roads I will ride, the winding course, the corners, the roundabouts and the descent - the smooth tarmac will be slick. I see a crash; I see myself crashing. I suppress the thought. Gliding through the corner, I accelerate as I travel out of it, attacking my pursuers Behind, the peloton crumbles into ones and twos as riders fight to hold the wheel in front of them under the plumes of water, which spray from the wheels. Their legs are giving out beneath each push of the pedals. Five kilometers to go. Thee more corners, a small climb and a straightaway are all that separates me from victory. I have spent 11 months training and preparing for the moment. And a lifetime. La Flamme Rouge is in sight. The red triangle, which hangs above the road to signal the last kilometer, blows at an angle. I am alone pedaling. Emotion overwhelms pain.
I close my eyes to fall asleep. I am ready to race.