Stage 1. Anticipation
Man, I am so excited to get to test again! I haven't done this since March. It's been such a good season, I bet I can get at least 5%. Maybe even 10%. I mean, its only 20 minutes, it won't be that bad. It's going to be over before I know it! I'm so excited to get to put a number on all the improvements I've made this year.
Stage 2. Dread (usually occurs during warmup)
Do you think other sports have such awful ideas like this? This is going to be terrible. How on earth am I going to get 10%? What was I thinking? My form is terrible, I'll be lucky to eek out 5%. I shouldn't have had beef stew for lunch, that is going to be bad. Why did I have another cup of coffee? I never drink this much coffee. I'd better just eat 12 more gels just in case.
Stage 3. Comfort (first 5 minutes)
Ok, now we are off. Only 20 minutes? That's one episode of the Office. Just settle into this. Man, it's already been 2 minutes? That's like 10% done right? I'm not sure, since minutes are 60 seconds. Better do some math. Yeah, that checks out. Boom, now it's been 4 minutes! This is a good pace. Life is good. Wow, the weather outside looks nice. I can't believe how awesome life is. Everything is awesome!
Stage 4. Bargaining (next 10 minutes)
Wow, how on earth did I ever think I could sustain this power for 20 whole minutes? If I don't look at the power for a whole minute, I'll bump it down 10 watts for 30 seconds. That should bring my HR down enough. Awesome, I made it 20 seconds. I'll just focus on taking deep breaths for the next minute. Can I actually do anything for a minute? What can I do to treat myself when this is over? There isn't really any food that sounds good. Will I ever be hungry again? If I can make it 5 minutes, I'll eat whatever I want forever. I'll buy a cat. If I make it 7 whole minutes, I'll refuel this ride in snickers. Screw it, I should've taken up competitive knitting instead of this crap.
Stage 5. Acceptance (last 5 minutes)
Better holler at my wife to grab a trash can. I don't think, "I was riding my bike really hard" constitutes a good reason to hurl on the carpet. At least this is almost over. I'll finish this, and probably just fall over. I mean, it is only 4 minutes left. At this point, my average is almost set. Maybe I can eke out a few more watts onto the average, but I just need to hang in there. It's only 3 minutes left! That's like, what, one normal song? Man, when this is over, life is going to be awesome. I'll have some numbers, and that will be it. I've now done all I can, and only have a minute left. ONE MEASLY MINUTE. 5% left. Easy!
Stage 6. (optional) nap
Man, am I glad that is done. I don't know if I need a bathroom break, but I might by the time I get off the bike. Better cool down and head over there. Since I'm off the bike and all, I'll just lay down on the carpet for a second. I still have a bit more riding to do, but damnit, I earned this break. Wow, I had no idea laying on the carpet could be so euphoric. Yep, this was totally worth it.