Ben says he’s never really thought about it, the difficulties of performing despite the travel and stress and travel stress. He knew he could deal with it if he kept doing what he always did, if he took care of the things in front of his face, the things he could see. If he paid extra attention to the small details like wearing compression tights, taking precaution against car-seat-saddle-sores, proper hydration, eating in the middle of the day (to avoid putting on unnecessary fat), and turning off all electronic and visual stimuli before 8:00pm so his eyes could rest and he could actually fall asleep. He says he tried and tries to enjoy the small victories, day by day.
¿Como se dice ‘tornado’ en Español? Ben is still jumpy and lightly evasive regarding the tornado thing. That night, he wrote everything down by candlelight, the whole experience, the whole day, in a notebook he found in the house where they stayed. Jacked, he couldn’t sleep. He wrote about waking up to lightning and panic, that indescribable and horrific Emergency Warning System announcement noise, power outages and subsequent darkness, fallen trees, flooding, evacuating a house for another residence and then again for an even safer office building, driving on a lawless freeway, tornadic cells, watching red and green weather masses on a meteorological map form and pass and reform and move through and swing wide and directly hit one community after another, reporters on location reporting on location, the destruction, increased wind and rain, watching funnel clouds drop from the sky less than a mile away, people hiding under their porches, sobbing mothers, downed phone lines and dead cell phone batteries, wall clouds, etc.
On the way to Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Old Country Store we talk about the game, keeping your head in the game, about how do you keep your head in the game when your legs are stiff and tight and unresponsive from driving for six hours at a time in a row? And when violent weather literally throws heavy physical, mental and spiritual shit in your way? He says you just do, you stay on target. You make it to the race on time and in the best possible shape. We talk about professionalism. About how the team car needed to be at the team race and how he and Carlos are part of the team and so they drove it there, to the race. Because they are professional cyclists and this is what professional cyclists do.
“‘Uno’, ‘dos’, and ‘tres’. And ‘cuatro’ for ride times. ‘Tranquilo’ for taking it easy. Revving the engine motorcycle-style hand gesture for speeding up.”