Doubt. It speaks in whispered tones but echoes in our actions and lingers heavy on the mind. It is a thing that weaves itself into the seeds of our dreams and erodes vision into whim. Doubt leads to uncertainty; uncertainty to fear; fear prevents us from reaching as high as we might.
Doubt is a clingy thing. Like a snowball dropped down a mountainside in a cartoon, it starts small but grows upon its own weight. It continues to collect more doubt until finally it crushes any positive thought. Doubt is the fundamental element of the Anti-V.
As Cyclists, our morale rests on a knife’s edge where the slightest drop of grace can send us into the waiting arms of La Volupté while even the smallest grain of doubt can draw us to the cold anvil of her husband, the Man with the Hammer. Little things such as a freshly wrapped set of bars or a recently cleaned and silenced drivetrain can send morale skyrocketing, even in otherwise atrocious conditions. An elusive click or creak, on the other hand, can coax squares from even the most magnificent of strokes.
Clicks, creaks, or a misfiring drivetrain are guaranteed to send me into a tailspin of frustration and doubt; if my machine disobeys the Principle of Silence or malfunctions, I am sure to face a dismal day on the bike. Clean kit and freshly shaven guns, particularly when the guns are glistening with sweat or rain, is for me one of the greatest sources of form and good morale. To see the muscles moving under the smooth, tanned skin as they strain with effort instantly sends away any lingering doubt and leaves only optimism and drive, my conditioning and training cease to hold sway over my desire and willingness to suffer. And when we are willing to suffer, we can do anything.