Lots of questions, unfortunately, I will have to wait for most of these answers.
Believe it or not, I am a big believer in fate. I really do think things happen for a reason, whether good or bad. My most recent reinforcement of this philosophy came about when I was in the airport coming back to New York. I figured I would pick up some reading material for the plane ride. As I was buying the New York Times and the book Fast Food Nation, a green glow caught the corner of my eye. It was a book, Bounce, by Matthew Syed. The concept of the book is about debunking the notion that elite athletes are born, not created. Furthermore, it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice to become an elite at something(a la Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers). But he goes on to talk about the purposeful practice that elites do. They don't continue the same routine to get better. They are constantly pushing the limits and falling short. As an example, an Olympic Gold Medal Figure Skater is said to fall on the ice over 30,000 times while practicing on their way to gold. So it is natural to fail. It is what you do afterward that defines whether you ultimately succeed or fail. Also, an article in the Times highlighted Jens Voigt, a professional cyclist on Saxo Bank that suffered a horrific crash last year during a mountain stage of the Tour de France. Fate works in funny ways. Keep your eyes open for signs and go with the flow.
Just food for thought.
Anyway, throughout the weekend (before and after the race), I did little video entries so you could get a sense of the thought process I was going through, and my race planning. Enjoy!
PS....I put a bonus video at the bottom for your enjoyment.