The Spoke April 9, 2012

RIDE24 2012 - Prelude

Some weeks ago, I was invited to join ‘Team bikebritain’ for RIDE24 at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in June. I’d like to tell you I was delighted to accept but, in fact, I was struck by fear and panic.... so began the first of my RIDE24 diary articles for this fine website just over a year ago.

Twelve months down the line, and very little has changed. Of course, I have grown as a cyclist over the past twelve months, but that has been mainly around my waist. Joking aside (this isn’t actually a joke, I have got fatter), the fear does remain. Because, readers, I’m actually a bit proud of what we did last year. We finished, for starters, which at least 25% of the team thought was completely out of the question for 25% of the team until about 95% of the way through, and we did it in relative style for first-timers, finishing in the middle of the field and competing hard with a smile or grimace or look of agonised sleep-deprived desperation on our faces. But with such pride comes panic, when faced with the prospect of doing it all over again. People expect you to do better. And when I say “people”, I really mean Mr. bikebritain himself, and he is going to be quite difficult to avoid during this whole shindig.

But, of course, we should do better. The composition of the bikebritain teams is yet to be fully decided at the time of writing, but three of the four of last year’s noble warriors will be back (I hadn’t realised pulling out was a genuine option until it was much, much too late) and we know the drill, the track, the pit-stops, and that we definitely need to bring about fifteen tonnes of garden furniture to dominate the pit garage. We will probably also devise a race strategy that won’t be abandoned within the first 45 minutes.

It is probably a good job, as far as this diary is concerned, that an improvement is our aim this year. This time last year, I owned a commuter hybrid bicycle and stuttered approximately 5 miles across London and back a couple of times a week. My journey from frightened novice to, well, frightened novice was at least a metaphorical journey. Strip that out, and you’re left with my irrational thoughts and binge drinking which nobody has wanted to publish up to this point, and I suspect this is not about to change.

We have a shade less than three months to go until the big day. I may have the bicycle, I may be a veteran of RIDE24, but there is much work to do in the meantime if I am not to scupper the ‘Team bikbritain’ goal of finishing higher than 28th out of 50. I haven’t asked, but I’m assuming 27th won’t do.

I’ll be in touch.

Words - Lukey

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