As I sit here killing time before the biggest race of my life tomorrow I think about all the people who have helped me along the way. Not just the team mates, coaches and support staff in British Cycling who no doubt have changed my life in many ways, but there are people when I look back that have played a big part in making me the person I am today. That little bit of advice or guidance, being tucked under and an old hands wing, or that nugget of information that made a job you struggled with easy. Randomly this thought process was triggered by something that happened a couple of weeks ago when I was searching for a joint bank card that I’d never used, a find and destroy mission as we had been issued with new ones. I came across a business card from an old boss, a character who I served a 5 year carpentry apprenticeship with. It had an email address on it so I sent him one not knowing if it was even the right address. I forgot all about it to be honest but today Speedy my old boss replied. As I read through his words of praise and abuse it was just like being 16 again, but I also couldn’t help but think of the skills that I learnt from this man.
I’d like to think I’m lucky with some of the people that I’ve meet who have guided me along the way, but then I hope all of you think the same thing about certain people that stood out in your lives that made you think twice about the way you did something, or question why you did it that way and the reasons behind it. Sometimes I think how on earth have a reached 37 years old, when did that happen? But looking back there are a few people that have steered me into certain things that have really changed my life and the way I live it. I’m not going to name them all, well because that would be a bit strange and probably really dull reading!. I think that most of them are generally known as friends. Mates who come and go, even people I’ve spent as little as a couple of weeks with have had a big impact. The great thing about meeting new people is you always have the opportunity to be inspired by someone new, someone who see’s a shade of blue when you see a shade of green. That person who will teach or say something you will never forget which came from an angle you had never thought possible like a snooker player getting out from behind a snookered ball.
This is always the worse part of racing for me, the time between the slow seconds that tick by during the final days before you roll down the ramp or come out of the start gate. During these times I fight the demon negatives thoughts that creep up in your mind like they do in a child’s nightmares. It’s a funny game your mind can play with you, one minute you’re in the best shape of your life and you’re buzzing and in the space of seconds you can be thinking the worse and why you are even here in the first place. It’s at these times I tend to look back over training logs and all the things I’ve done to reassure myself that I’ve done all I can. I think about the process of what I need to do during the race to get the best out of myself, let the results be what they will be, I can’t control them. I always think it’s a good thing to get worked up about races as for me it means it’s important and it means something to me. But sitting here now I smile thinking about some of the characters that I have been lucky enough to meet in the past, those that have played a roll in getting me to this point. I know there are a few people who would love to be here cheering me on but don’t worry, you’ll be riding with me, just lucky enough not to feel the pain! All I really have to offer at this point is a thank you and I can only hope I have had the same positive impact on you.