I haven’t fully worked out what it is, but there is something quite thrilling about arriving at a motor racing circuit. It’s probably a throwback to my childhood and the anticipation of experiencing something that until then was only ever seen on TV. Whatever it is I don’t mind because at the age of 47, although being to a much lesser extent, I like that feeling still to this day.
I think Charlie does too. Which is why when he was asked if he wanted to join me for some laps of the local circuit on our road bikes, he jumped at the chance.
And here’s the confession. Every single time I visit the circuit, there is a big part of me that doesn’t enjoy it. Not in a moan and groan kind of way, but in a sense of disappointment way. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when with the sun over my shoulder lighting the track and yellow and brown grass around it that I feel unstoppable. As I lean into the chicane at high speed before kicking in the pedals again as I exit into the straight I literally grin as I ride. There’s nothing better in fact.
So with that said, I’ll admit that the opposite is true when I’m flying up the back straight with a massive head wind making no progress. It’s like a turbo session, except that as a reminder of how slow and crap you are there are faster and much stronger cyclists flying past you on your left. That doesn’t happen in my garage. My only consolation is I get to pass a few children, their parents that have slowed down for them and the odd fat bloke on a mountain bike. By the time I get to the finish line I’m cursing and wanting to go home with the only thing that stops me being the need to spin my legs to warm down with another much slower lap.
It’s on this slow lap that I then see the sun ahead of me, feel the wind behind me, and the red and white kerbs that invite me once again to get onto the drops, spin up to speed, and try one more time at maximum effort.
As a bike ride it has everything I want with everything I don’t want in a single two mile circuit. Both in equal measure as a lesson of what life can be like. As a training session there is nothing better and for that reason, and that reason only, I’ll be back there again next week. Just don’t expect me to say I enjoyed it.