The Ministry of Fear

I’m entered for a 24hr Time Trial at the weekend. It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this and, if I’m honest, I’m a bit scared.

The idea is to cycle as far as possible in the time, round and round some huge circuits which seem to mostly consist of busy main roads. I’m thinking that 300miles would seem a pretty reasonable target for me in my current state of fitness. The winner will probably ride something in the region of 500miles.

So I have no ambitions to win, anything I can manage is a bonus, I should just be able to enjoy it. What’s so scary about that?

I’m not really bothered about the traffic. I know I can ride for 24hrs – I’ve done it before. But all my other long rides have been Audaxes, not races. I’ve had a cut off time to beat, but it made no difference if I beat it by ten minutes or ten hours. This will be different. This is me putting myself to the test and trying to see if I can put up a respectable effort in competition with other people. I think I might just be scared of comparing my ability with other riders and being found wanting.

I think it’s not unlike the fear of finally letting someone read that story you’ve been working on. You’ve given it your best. Sweated over it even. Then there’s the fear: What if it isn’t any good after all? In the end that always seems to turn out okay. Either the writing wasn’t all that bad, or everyone was very polite. So I’m hoping, when I pull up at the final timekeeper on Sunday, that either I will have managed a respectable distance after all, or everyone will be very polite!


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