I think last year I was looking for a lot more out of myself heading into Columbia, and as such I made it a bigger deal in my head. The first year I did Columbia, in 2001, it was so new to me I don't think I knew what was going on. It was a serious race, but wasn't big time, at least not yet. Each year I was looking for more and more, and the pressure seemed to get bigger and bigger.
I then had my two year hiatus from the race, and when I came back in 2006, it was like nothing had changed. I head down to packet pickup, get psyched just looking around at all the bikes, posers and clowns. Then I head to the park, more of the same. There's a feeling you get when you're at Centennial Park the day before. It's almost always nice the day before, but on race day it's usually pretty shitty.
Back to last year. I was hoping to finally have a race that I could be proud of, and I did. Everything clicked. I said then that I could leave the race alone, but of course felt like I still had some time I could take out of it.
This year has been different, and I'm interested to see how it turns out. I haven't been putting in the same training as previous years, and don't feel as good as I did last year. Going to the packet pickup today was weird because for the first time since I've done it, it wasn't where it normally is. I headed over to the park, and my rack was in a completely different spot than it normally is. Everything just seemed weird. There was no bike check, no helmet check. Weird.
I feel pretty relaxed, and just want to go have a good race. The weather might not be ideal, but that's what makes it Columbia.
And as it turned out, my Uncle Frank and cousin Connor were in town today, so I caught up with them for dinner at Ruth's Chris. My first time there, and it was pretty good. Our waitress looked like Lady Gaga aka she was kind of dope. I also have to not forget to post about some of the funnier conversations I've had over the past few days with some of the crew.