“British Cycling Announces World Class Field For National Championships”

In a little over two weeks time the National Road Championships are taking place at Abergavenny. There are various events, including the road race, featuring a stellar line-up. It’s worth heading over to see the circuit; it takes a route through Celtic Manor near Newport and is a tough course. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see the top domestic and continental professionals going head to head for the red, white and blue jersey. On the Thursday evening the time trial championships kick things off. Some of the heroes of modern British cycling are riding; people who have shaped the narrative of the sport, like David Millar: his personal arc of triumph, then earth-shattering fall and eventual redemption contains all the elements of optimism that most cycling fans have clung to over the darker years.  Sir Bradley Wiggins is also down to start. I can’t begin to mention how important a figure he is without lurching into hyperbole. He is the reigning Olympic time trial champion.

David Millar is the commonwealth games champion. Both have won grand tour TT stages. They are the zenith of the sport. Also riding for Sky are Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe. Alongside is Alex Dowsett of Movistar, who recently sliced 25 seconds from the National “10” record, pulling out all the stops to record a 35mph ride.

The startsheet is available here. Some time ago i put an entry in. It was fairly speculative and I didn’t anticipate getting a ride. As it happens, I’ve managed to get in. I’d like to reiterate that last statement, it seems a bit Karl Power-esque. Somehow, i’m riding in the same race as the above people and a whole gang full of inconceivably fast people. Since i saw the startsheet this morning I’ve been a state of excitement, anxiety and fear. I hoped the professionals would turn out, but now the concrete, real reality of the race line up has created different emotions; I’m fearful and I am going to be on the receiving end of some fairly hefty time gaps. But it is what it is, and if you’d told me 5 years ago that i’d be on the startsheet for this kind of race I’d have looked askance and questioned your sanity. As it stands; i’ve entered, I was given a start based on the organiser’s belief that i wouldn’t be out of place in the elite race and was deserving of the chance. I want to race. I want to not come last. And i want to throw out the rock horns on the start ramp. (Oh no, please, no, i didn’t even think about the start ramp, if there is one, christ, please god don’t let me fall off).

And i want to savour the moment and look back on it as one of those things that i did within a life where opportunities were taken. Because time trialling, the race against the clock, the race of truth, is a thinly concealed metaphor for the battle against the capricious nature of time itself.

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

But at the same time i’m shitting myself in living terror at being caught for 25 minutes by Sir Bradley of Wiggins.

 

9 thoughts on ““British Cycling Announces World Class Field For National Championships”

  1. Elliot June 9, 2014 / 7:12 pm

    Brilliant news Paul, aside from a mechanical I would put money on you not being last, all the best

  2. Russell Peace June 9, 2014 / 7:44 pm

    Well done Paul! Well deserved! Best of luck… Hope you get the performance your after, don’t fall of the ramp and most importantly… Enjoy it🙂

    Peace!

  3. bikevcar June 9, 2014 / 9:18 pm

    Good luck. What an experience that’ll be.

  4. Chris June 10, 2014 / 7:51 am

    Well done Paul, we and the organisers have confidence in you and you will not be last.

    But as you have pointed out, these guys are the very best in the world, they live and breathe cycling, families come second, they have the very best that money can buy, equipment, training, nutrition etc. You are one of the very best elite club riders but your family and job come first, so there has to be a time gap between you and them, but by how much doesn’t matter. Go and do your own thing and most of all enjoy it.

  5. graham June 11, 2014 / 3:31 am

    Good luck from Australia

  6. Matt June 12, 2014 / 4:53 am

    Congratulations, is this an excuse for a new bike?

  7. Simon E June 13, 2014 / 9:10 am

    “What an experience” – absolutely!

    How many of us would love to be able to tell our children and grandchildren that not only were we present but that we raced alongside those icons. I am deeply envious, I would gladly finish dead last just to say I did it.

    Chapeau, and I hope you have a truly great day.

  8. Chris June 27, 2014 / 4:40 pm

    Great result Paul. Well done, less than 10 mins behind the best in the world.

    Awesome.

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