Giro d'Italia: The Time is Now
"The challenge is in the moment, the time is always now." (James Baldwin)
The moment is here and the challenge is about to begin. Five months of total dedication and focus has lead to this moment in time, and all that's left to do now is start pedalling. In fact that's all there is to do for the foreseeable future, pedal, pedal and pedal some more.
The next three and a half weeks will be the biggest physical and mental test of my life, there will be highs and lows, laughter and tears, and memories and experiences that will live with me forever.
Riding a grand tour is a challenge at the best of times, but to ride the centenary edition of the Giro d'Italia will be a unique experience and already the hype around the race here in Alghero (the official start town) is reaching fever pitch.
We arrived to a town decked out in pink (for those who don't know the leaders jersey, maliga rosa, in the Giro is bright pink) and everything is geared towards the start of their national race. Today there has been a buzz around town as the professional teams and riders arrive to register and do their various press duties before they get going a day behind us. It's brilliant to be able to mingle and be aprt of the build up.
It actually seems surreal in many ways to be here, every morning that my alarm has gone at 5am to signal time to train I have focused solely on the session at hand, never looking too far ahead, but all the while aware of why I've made so many sacrifices. And now there are no more training sessions, it's the real deal. Knowing why I am doing this has been the only thing that's kept me going at times, it's that connection to the goal that reminds you that the sacrifices will all be worth it when you finally achieve that which you are striving for.
The anticipation, emotion, nerves, fear, excitement and worry of the last week have been draining to say the least, and now I'm just ready to get on the bike and ride. It's the same with all of my challenges, but once I get moving those feelings seem to fade away to be replaced with focus and determination.
There has been a relaxed feeling, on the whole, between the team since we all met at Gatwick airport on Tuesday morning. There is something quite reassuring knowing that we are in this together, we will all have to step up and help each other get through the good and the bad.
As always we are doing this for a reason far bigger than ourselves, to raise money for the amazing work that Cure Leukaemia are doing in finding a cure for this horrible disease and blood cancer in general. I've already raised over £10k and need to hit £20k by the end of May, so if you haven't already supported the cause I ask you to please spare a few minutes of your time to do so now. Together we can achieve so much more. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MarcusLeach3GrandTours