Hitting forty has made me think about my bucket list. Only in a very vague way, I have yet to actually write anything down, that would obviously be committing to the plan, but it is fermenting away in the back of my mind. There are some obvious ‘Big Ticket’ items that would require planning and money. (And sadly altitude training as I wheeze like our ancient server at work, that I am convinced has emphysema, if I go anywhere near a height above a small hillock or the Sussex Downs). These include climbing to Machu Picchu, a trip on a Keralean houseboat and seeing the Polar Bears on the Canadian tundra among others. So I thought I need to add in some more achievable goals and as my first reaction on seeing the London Velodrome during the 2012 Olympics was ‘I want to have a go at that!’ it was on the list. So when the opportunity to visit with LLR came up I put my name in the hat.
To ride on the fastest track in the world in the wheels of the greats was fantastic. There is no other way to describe it. I was clearly the least competent rider there and after my initial apprehension, which turned into genuine terror and a very real appreciation of wall of death riders and how hamsters feel in their balls, slowly faded it was extraordinary and exhilarating. I can honestly say that I did not walk away with the desire to take up a new hobby and immediately purchase a track bike but I loved it. It hurt, I wheezed like an emphysemic computer, my legs screamed very loudly at me to stop being so stupid, but what a rush.
I also have a bit of unsavoury confession. I have a massive Chris Hoy crush. Not in a I want to stalk you and boil a rabbit in your kitchen way but in a huge respect way. In a world of distasteful sporting excess and bad role models with the likes of drunken, barely literate footballers he achieved something amazing with grace, good manners, humility and sheer hard work. I find that genuinely inspiring. So when I visited the unisex trackside amenities (you know what I mean) it occurred to me that the possibility I literally was sitting where he had was statistically quite high. I had to smile; it really is the little things in life that make you happy.